Place Names

What’s in a name? Here we offer explanations of various formal and informal place names used in Seward Park.

Andrews Bay – the bay was almost certainly named for Lyman Beach Andrews, who was a chainman on the survey team that conducted the 1861 cadastral survey report that first used the name Andrews Bay. In 1862 Andrews was shown “fire rock” deposits at Squak Mountain by local Native Americans and filed a claim on 400 acres that became the foundation of Issaquah and of Andrews’ attempted coal mine. Though the coal mine was not very successful, he also had a firearms shop in Seattle, worked as a repairman, invested in real estate and developed a political career.

Bailey Peninsula – The Duwamish referred to the peninsula as sqebeqsed (also spelled skEba’kst), and the peninsula was called Andrews Peninsula in the 1861 cadastral survey. It was later known as Graham Peninsula when Walter Graham owned a farm adjacent to the peninsula in the 1860s- 1880s. Most of the peninsula was bought in 1889 by William Bailey, a real estate investor and newspaper owner from a wealthy family in the steel industry in Pennsylvania. The peninsula was known as Bailey Peninsula at the time the peninsula was acquired for a park, though by that time the ownership had passed from William to his brother Edward Bailey and Edward’s wife Elizabeth. After the city acquired the peninsula, the name Scenic Peninsula was tried, but it failed to take over from Bailey Peninsula.

Bald Eagle Trail – the trail ends at a viewing location for the large bald eagle nest near the amphitheater. The nest has since been abandoned in favor of a new nest near the upper playground.

Broken Tree Trail – the trail is named for the prominent fallen tree at the north end of the trail just before the stairs down to Picnic Shelter #3.

The Cathedral – this tree-ringed opening on the Erratic Trail is also referred to as the Bat Cave. It sometimes attracts partying high school students and others.

Clark’s Prairie Trail – historian David Buerge mentions the name Clarks’s Prairie for the area immediately south of the park. Garry oaks are found in both Seward Park and Martha Washington Park to the south, and indicate this area was probably maintained by the Duwamish as a prairie or open woodland through burning. The name refers to Edward A. Clark, who was Seattle’s first photographer. He and Englishman John Harvey lived together near 57th Ave S and Eddy St. starting in 1853. Harvey had a farm, and he and Clark likely selected the area because it was already partially cleared by the Duwamish.

cqalapseb – this is the Lushootseed name for the isthmus, and means “the upper part of the the neck”.

Dorothy Block Campfire Ring – Dorothy Block was a citizen activist and mother of six who was active in the Camp Fire Girls, the League of Women Voters, and other organizations. During the campaign to clean up Lake Washington, an ad featuring her children standing in front of a sign reading “Warning Polluted Water Unsafe for Bathing” helped persuade voters to create METRO. Camp Fire USA built the ring as a tribute after her tragic death from a brain tumor at age 35.

Erratic Trail – a large glacial erratic is found along this trail, which is itself somewhat erratic.

Grebe Cove – this is an informal name for the cove in the southwest corner of Andrews Bay, where pied-billed grebes often make their floating nests.

Hatchery Trail – named for the adjacent fish hatchery built in 1934-1936 to “make Lake Washington a fisherman’s paradise”. The hatchery ceased operations in the 1992 and most of the cement ponds were removed in 2003 with five remaining as an historical artifact.

Huckleberry Trail – this trail rambles through groves with many large evergreen huckleberry bushes that grow very slowly and may be tens or hundreds of years old.

Kingfisher Point – this small promontory by the dock storage area is named for a male kingfisher that has for many years flown back and forth across Turtle Cove between this promontory and the South Andrews Bay Scarp. The promontory is made of conglomerates with dark volcanic inclusions and likely represents a lahar (volcanic mud flow) from the old Cascade volcanoes onto the offshore sand that makes up the Blakely formation, which comprises the nearby Kingfisher Point Scarp and the South Andrews Bay Scarp.

Licorice Fern Trail – the trail was named for the licorice ferns that festoon the big leaf maples at the southern end of this trail.

Lost Lake Trail – The trail was named for the Woodland Pool shown on the 1912 Olmsted Preliminary Plan for Seward Park in this general wet area. The small lake was subsequently shown on other maps into the modern era, and described in a 1915 brochure as if it existed. FoSP searched for evidence of the lake, but later discovered that the Olmsted 1911 drawings show that the lake was only a plan and it was never actually constructed.

Magnificent Forest – This seems to have been named by park historian Don Sherwood, who put the name on his Seward Park map, possibly in reference to the 1911 report of the Park Board, which said “This magnificent park … retains it original growth of virgin timber and vegetation, and can be converted into one of the most unique and beautiful parks in the world.”

Pinoy Hill – Pinoy means Filipino. Community leader and activist Bob Santos claimed in his book Humbows Not Hot Dog that he and other Filipino teens named this hill in the 1950s, presumably because of the annual 4th of July picnics held there by the Filipino community beginning on July 4th, 1946 when the Philippines were granted independence from the United States. Don Sherwood put the name on his map in the area around Picnic Shelter #3 and helped make the name widely recognized. Previously in the late 1930s, after the lower loop road was completed, the north end of the park was informally known as Pinoy Point because Filipino familes picnicked there.

Redwood Road – an informal name for the road that connects the upper and lower loop roads on the east side of the park. It has many Coast Redwood trees along its south side.

Reverend Ulysses Murphy Fishing Pier – Reverend Murphy was the pastor at the local Columbia Congregational Church before he became a missionary in Japan in 1893-1908, where he worked successfully to make the prostitution of a girl because of the debts of her parents illegal. During and after World War II Murphy aided interned Japanese families and Japanese war brides, and advocated for fishing opportunities for the young and the elderly. The Outdoor Sports Council named the first of several fishing piers it placed on Lake Washington after him in 1962.

Seward Park – named by the Park Board in 1911 for William H. Seward, Secretary of State under Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, best known for arranging the purchase of Alaska in 1867. Seattle became wealthy enough to afford a park system by “mining the miners” of the Klondike Gold Rush, and the Park Board evidently were grateful for Seward’s purchase. Seward visited the waterfront in Seattle briefly in 1869, but almost certainly never saw the future Seward Park.

Seward Park Audubon Center – the building on the front entrance circle was originally designated the Seward Park Inn by owner Catherine Redfield, who built the building in 1927 at her own expense and lived upstairs with her family while serving meals and snacks downstairs. It was often known as Ye Seward Park Inn to park visitors. (When printing was invented, the letter Y often substituted for the old Anglo-Saxon letter for the ‘th’ sound, which resembled Y. “Ye” still was pronounced “the” until modern times when people began pronouncing it “yee”.) The challenges of the Great Depression forced Catherine to relinquish her lease in 1943, and the building was used as a residence for park superintendent Paul V. Brown and later for maintenance foreman Fred Haskell in the 1950s-1960s. During the Arts in the Park program of the 1970s, it became known as the Music Annex, and rock concerts in the park and elsewhere including the first Bumbershoot Festival were organized from the building by Parks Department music specialists. Later the name became shortened to the Annex until the building was renovated and occupied by Audubon Washington following the signing of a 20 year lease with the city, now renewed, to create an environmental learning center.

Seward Park Clay Studio – this building was originally two separate men’s and women’s bathhouses that were built in 1927 to replace the 1918 wooden bathhouse. The buildings were joined in 1940. In 1969 the building was converted to the Seward Park Art Studio, which offered a wide variety of art classes during the Arts in the Parks program. In 1986 the clay artists formed a self-supporting non-profit organization and in 2004 the name of the buildiing was changed to the Seward Park Clay Studio.

sqebeqsed Trail – sqebeqsed means nose or noses or “it has a fat nose” and is the Lushootseed name for the peninsula, especially its northern point. FoSP received permission from the Duwamish Tribal Council to apply the name to the trail that runs from the north end to the south end of the peninsula. The trail encompasses not only the old service road or “Spine Trail” through the Magnificent Forest, but also continues south through the amphitheater to Picnic Shelter #2.

Turtle Cove – this is an informal name for the cove by the dock storage area because turtles often sun themselves on logs there. Most of the turtles are red-eared sliders introduced from eastern North America, but you may find native painted turtles occasionally as well.

Windfall Trail – this trail takes its name from the numerous trees that fell in this area during the 2006 Hannukah Eve Windstorm.

Woodpecker Trail – Pileated Woodpeckers, Norther Flickers, and Downy Woodpeckers are often observed on or near this trail.