Backstory: Seattle's Tucked Away Waterfall Garden Park Stands out for Its Unlikely Story

This hidden pocket park is an ode to the origins of a parcel delivery service
  • Waterfall Garden Park in Pioneer Square, Seattle, Washington

This article appears in print in the July 2019 issue. Click here to subscribe.

The Landmark: Waterfall Garden Park
The Location: Pioneer Square, 219 Second Ave. S

The Backstory: In a neighborhood full of historic sites, Waterfall Garden Park stands out for its unlikely story. The tiny park—hidden behind very tall fences—features an artificial waterfall, a Japanese garden, and several tables and chairs, offering visitors an escape from the hustle and bustle of the streets for a few minutes of serenity. But before it was a garden, it was the site of a different kind of respite: a saloon. Out of the basement of this bar, a young James Casey began a package delivery service in 1907, first making deliveries on foot and by bicycles and then by a Model T Ford. Today, that business is United Parcel Service. Casey credited much of his success to his mother, and in tribute to her, he started the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which is dedicated to providing care and opportunities to children whose parents aren’t able to do so. It was this foundation that eventually put Waterfall Garden Park on the map in 1978, and the Casey Foundation continues to care for it. More than just a small park, this green space commemorates UPS workers of the past century and the spirit of the man who started it all. 

Related Content

1. Need some new threads or other accessories? Check out the jewelry, clothing and gifts at fashion-forward Show Pony, now in its fourth year near the Fremont Troll. Bonus: Spin a wheel on its website for some serious savings.

Brad Holden’s second book brings to life one of Seattle’s most colorful characters.

Check out a collection of local finds.

Sustainable building and adaptive reuse increasingly dominate Seattle’s building landscape