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A Neighborhood History

Native American History

The Denny Family

Licton Springs Development & Park

Farming and Related Activities

Seattle-Everett Interurban

Aurora Avenue North

About this History


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Licton Springs Development and Park

Following her father's death in 1903, Emily Inez Denny offered the 81-acre Licton Springs property to the city of Seattle for $45,000 for use as a park. The city declined the offer and, in 1907, she sold 57 acres to a group of investors for $75,000, but nothing came of their plan for a park and sanitarium. In 1909, Calhoun, Denny & Ewing platted it as Licton Springs Park and had a plan prepared by the Olmsted Brothers, designers of Seattle's parks system. Although this plan was never developed, the partners did retain the springs as open space. Their 600 home sites included "farmettes" to give residents a chance to "get away from the roar and dust of downtown toil."

It was many years before Licton Springs became a public park. In 1931, Seattle diverted the water from Licton Springs into storm drains because of pollution in the area. In 1935, Edward A. Jensen opened the only spa ever at the site, offering thermal baths and bottled water. In 1951, A.R. Patterson planned a major expansion, including a $500,000 sanitarium. However, the city of Seattle annexed the area and sought acquisition of the property in a 1954 park bond. Voters finally approved the proposal in 1960, enabling the city to purchase 6.3 acres.

Development waited until 1974, when Forward Thrust funds were available and the city hired the landscape architects, Jones & Jones. Their plan preserved the little remaining natural vegetation, excavated the southern spring into a small pond with wetland plants, and added a small shelter house. In 1987, the park and playground were renovated using Seattle 1-2-3 funds, and, more recently, interpretive signs were installed, including a Licton Springs time stream.

Licton MineralSprings Spa
The Licton Mineral Springs Spa, 1945

Spa Sign
Spa Sign, 1935

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