I was raised in West Seattle and rarely ventured into other parts of the City, save for the occasional trip downtown or jaunt to the Zoo. And so I’d never been to Green Lake until we moved to the north end rather unexpectedly (at least to me) the summer before I started high school. I was immediately smitten and spent much of that first summer at the park, swimming, walking, bicycling and just hanging out at the lake. The neighborhood is more built up now (and too expensive a place for mere mortals to live), yet when I visited over the weekend I found it still friendly and accessible, with parking available at the Community Center.
At 2.75 miles, the paved path around the lake is perfect for people of all ages. Though already December and frosty, it was a beautiful day and many were out enjoying the fresh air and fall color.
When I made it to the Aqua Theatre on the south end of the lake, I knew I was on the home stretch. The Aqua Theatre was built in 1950 for the ‘Aqua Follies,’ and featured such acts as synchronized swimming and diving in its heyday (think Esther Williams) and other musical productions. By the late sixties it even featured Led Zeppelin and the Grateful Dead, before falling into disuse and disrepair.
A shell of its former self, it’s now used by joggers who wish to add to their exercise routines by running up and down the stairs. I tried that once. Once was enough.
I continued on my way and found this tree perfectly reflected in the calm lake.
An hour later I was back to where I started, slower than most perhaps but just as refreshed.
Green Lake Park was included in the comprehensive plan developed by the Olmsted Brothers for the City of Seattle in 1905. By then much of the land around the lake had been homesteaded and so the creative design firm had the lake lowered to create more public shoreline. I’m glad they did. It remains one of the most popular parks in the City.