Denny Park

Seattle's oldest park.

Seattle’s oldest park, Denny Park features broad pathways leading to a central circle, a small playground and an off-leash dog park. Parks Department offices are at the west end of the park.

Denny Park lies on pioneer David Denny’s land claim, and was first donated to the City by Denny and his wife in 1864 as a cemetery. In 1883 the Dennys drew up a new deed rededicating most of the cemetery property to become a public park with the gravesites to be removed at the City’s expense. Ordinance 571, approved by the Common Council of the City and Mayor H.G. Struve on July 10 1883, converted, dedicated, and set apart the land donated by Denny as a public park.

In 1894, due to the surrounding increase in urbanization, plans were prepared for improvement of the park. Included in the plans were walks, lawn and planting areas, tool sheds along the north side, a fountain and pavilions with restrooms. By 1903 the park was in the midst of a residential area so it was replanted in formal design, a shelter and tool house were added, swings, teeter-totters, and a sand court and playfield were installed.

In 1910 a regrading of the downtown area was threatening Denny Park. Despite pioneers’ demands that the park remain as an early day landmark, by 1930 Denny Park was flat. A cupola from the recent Denny School was placed in the park as a historical relic. A new formal plan was prepared by the Parks and Recreation Department, and new planting was placed and new restrooms were built.

In 1948, because of the Parks and Recreation Department’s growth in staff (including the new position of Park Superintendent) and stature, a permanent Administration Building (before the department had moved around in rented offices) was built, despite the objections of the Denny family, on Denny Park. The building was designed by Young and Richardson, Architects, and won the AIA Grand Honor Award.

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