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Lake Forest Park, WA  98055

 

History records that old growth logging took place in the Lake Forest Park area from the 1860’s to beyond 1900.  However, unlike almost every other named community of the time, acknowledgment of pioneering settlers seems to be absent from records.  Due to that anomaly, history grants full credit for Lake Forest Park development in 1909 to Ole Hanson and A. H. Reid, who purchased the land as an investment and planned the community.

Hanson’s marketing vision was to offer a setting unlike that of heavily settled Seattle, and perhaps a step back in time.  Returning to nature was in vogue and the unique niche of Lake Forest Park was to be its broad affordability.  The Highlands, established in 1907 north of Seattle on Puget Sound, catered to the very wealthy.  East of Lake Washington and south of Bellevue, an artists’ colony called Beaux Arts Village, was opened in 1909 based on a living with nature theme.

The highly embellished sales pitch described a Thoreau-like existence immersed in the very essence of nature---with wild birds chirping in a rare fauna Camelot.  It was to be an idyllic setting, with nature preserved at all costs, roads following natural courses much like water finding its way to the lake below, and with homes nestled in Mother Nature’s bosom appearing as if by seed.

Ole Hanson’s 1912 promotional brochure extols, “No little city lot, just large enough to be born on, hardly large enough to die on, and not one-tenth of the size fit to live on, is offered for sale.”  “Men desire to live where the surroundings are beautiful and cannot be marred by disagreeable things.”  Financing?  No problem---a down payment and four years on the balance.  All this came with the assurance that there would be no “shacks, stores, saloons, flats, apartments, roadhouses, or anything distasteful to residents.”

Model homes were constructed by 1914, and more than 100 homes were built in the 1920’s.  The original Red Brick Road, now Bothell Way, was paved in 1912, and further encouraged Seattle residents to move out to Lake Forest Park.  When the opening of the Ballard Locks lowered Lake Washington in 1916-17, the additional shore property added to the Lake Forest Park allure.

Early homes used the highest quality materials and historic architecture to establish their significance.  Thankfully, some remain to be appreciated today, and live on by their original family names:  Alexander, Benson, Corlett, Reid, Rion, Ruser, Tryon, and Wurdemann.  I have provided professional services at the Wurdemann estate and can attest to the magnificent, peaceful grandeur of the home and grounds.

Seattle was the area’s anchor community.  They had to house people in the most efficient manner, streets had to be disciplined and industry was welcomed.  It was only by grit and determination that Seattle not only was established, but also prospered over the volatile decades.  Its citizens were more concerned about surviving and becoming stable than indulging ethereal feelings.  It was, in fact, the people of Seattle that made the vision of Lake Forest Park possible and attractive.  With the basics of life satisfied, this new community had the luxury of simply focusing on the quality of life, not the necessities of life.

The promotion of the Lake Forest Park concept was a success and the community continued its measured growth.  Nearby Sheridan Beach and Sheridan Heights were platted in 1927 and 1930, respectively.  They grew slowly through the 1930’s, too, but more rapidly after WWII, and were annexed to Lake Forest Park in 1994.  The Masonic Lodge Acacia Cemetery to the south, became part of the City in 1997.

The original vision of an arboreal living space was carried on over the decades, but as Seattle grew and folks moved nearer and nearer to Lake Forest Park, local residents were justifiably concerned about the future of their enclave and decided to incorporate in 1961 to protect the gift of their legacy.  Population in 1970 was 2,530 and only 3,372 in 1990, but annexations multiplied head count to 12,598 by 2010.

Dr. Cecil Feasel was a founding city councilman in 1961, and a seasoned instructor at the UW School of Dentistry.  When I was an undergraduate at the University of Washington in the 1960’s, I had the very good fortune to have him do some intricate craftsmanship on my teeth in several all day Saturday dental student teaching sessions.  He was the best of the best.

The first shopping area opened in 1964 as Forest Park Center, and today’s Lake Forest Park Town Center occupies the same general site.  It houses the Community Center called Third Place Commons, and hosts about a thousand varied public events each year.

The City is safeguarding an ongoing commitment to preserve the natural beauty here, and has been recognized eight times by the Arbor Day Foundation and awarded the coveted ‘Tree City USA Community’ designation.  There are no industrial areas, and the City is in the process of redesigning commercial areas along southern Bothell Way.

The community boasts a well-educated population with higher salaries, home values, and a somewhat older and more deeply rooted character.  Where other communities are racing to remake their image or reconnect with their past, Lake Forest Park is still living their past.

Today’s Lake Forest Park is quietly maintaining its legacy of living with and respecting nature in everyday activities.  Ole Hanson would be pleased to see the current caretaking of his earliest intentions as this unique lifestyle continues to attract ardent devotees.  So if the idea of living in a quiet sylvan glen environment appeals to your inner sensibilities, Lake Forest Park could well be your very own ‘aaaaahhhhhh’ moment.

 

Useful Links and Local Features

City of Lake Forest Park

Shoreline School District

Thinking of Moving Here?

Lake Forest Park, WA - Neighborhood Scout

Lake Forest Park Neighborhood Guide - FindWell

Lake Forest Park Farmers Market

Shoreline | Lake Forest Park Senior Center

Lake Forest Park Chicken Ordinance

Town Center at Lake Forest Park

Town Center - Facebook

Third Place Books in Town Center at Lake Forest Park

Ian Woofenden Singing “Old Fashioned” at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park - IanWoof

Rani Weatherby Singing with Boeing Employee Stage Band at Third Place Books - Champagne Honeybee

A Day in the Commons - Time Lapse - Third Place Commons

Lake Forest Park Photo Montage - Zachary McCann

A Beautiful Sunset in Lake Forest Park - Phil Seagran

Super Cub RC Plane Flight from Horizon View Park - Josh Gibbs

Independence Day at Log Boom Park 2011 - Brian Boston

12 Days of Christmas - Flash Mob at Third Place Commons

Happy Halloween 2014 from Lake Forest Park - Terry Morgan

Gene Tagaban, Native Story Teller - At Third Place Commons - Aaron Stadler

Blue Jay Sky at Brookside Elementary School - Daniel Dancer

Blue Heron in Lake Forest Park, Washington - NAIcoba

Goats Eating Blackberry Vines - Julie Smith

Goat Days 2001 at Horizon View Park - 22KJ22

Lyon Creek Park - VideosInfinity

Kiteboarding Lake Washington - GoKiting

Eagle Fetches Ball from Lake Washington - RichBerg50

The Avid Angler – Fly Fishing Shop in Lake Forest Park

Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop

Rainin’ Ribs BBQ & Smokehouse

Lake Forest Bar & Grill

Great Harvest Bread Co.

Lake Forest Park Real Estate – Zillow

Know What’s Below, Call Before You Dig

Pest Control and Extermination Services for Lake Forest Park - Trey Shelton

Bee, Wasp, Hornet and Yellow Jacket Nest Removal for Lake Forest Park - Trey Shelton

Beaver, Otter, Mt. Beaver and Raccoon Trapping for Lake Forest Park - Trey Shelton

Shockwave™ Mole Control, Removal and Extermination for Lake Forest Park – Trey Shelton

Tree Removal, Topping and Thinning - Mike Green

Real Estate Services – John L. Scott

Real Estate Services – Leo Van Hollebeke

Real Estate Services – Gary Showalter

Real Estate Services – Julie Hutton

Real Estate Services – Debbie Walter

Real Estate Services – John Fiala

Real Estate Services – Ricklie Stone and Ron Waxman

Strategies for Negotiating Inspections – Mike Winkler & E J Bowlds (As a General Contractor, Trey Performs Specific Issue and Pest Control Related Work to Seller|Buyer Complete Satisfaction)

Air Duct Cleaning

Roofing Services

Precision Turf Equipment – Dan Robinson

Drainage and Structural Services

Home Inspections – Mark Daughtry

Professional Painting Services - Matt Elam and PJ Clarke

Handicraftsman Services – Roger McColley

Irrigation, Lighting, Backflow Device Testing, Service & Repair - Dave Sheldon

Ballard Ornamental Ironworks, Inc. – Douglas and David Farage

Tom McIntosh Glass and Glazing - Tom McIntosh

Fasteners, Tools, Maintenance & Shop Supplies

Fireplace Heating Products

Woodworking Power Tools, Bits & Hand Tools

Premium Cedar, Exotic Hardwoods, Custom Milling

Home Improvement & Outdoor Equipment – Monroe

Home Improvement & Outdoor Equipment – Snohomish

Household Maintenance Products & Materials, Hardware & Supplies

Paint & Decorating | Wood Finishes | Expert Tint Matching

Premium Quality Paints – The Professional Painters Paint Store

Earl’s Lakeview Barber Shop – Traditional Old School Shop with Mounts on the Wall, Sports Memorabilia & Outdoors Conversation in Kirkland – Five Stars

Kirkland Transmission – Transmissions, Fuel Injectors, & Trustworthy Service (Tony Helps Keep My Trucks On the Road ~ Trey)

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