Gas Works Park Selected for National Register of Historic Places

Gas Works Park gets national recongition for its revolutionary eco-conscious design

By Bond Huberman May 9, 2013


This article originally appeared in the May 2013 issue of Seattle magazine.

Among the nearly 89,000 sites selected for the National Register of Historic Places, fewer than 2,500 are classified as landscape architecture—evidence that America preserves her old buildings much more often than her parks or other built environments. But, this year, to Seattle’s pride, Gas Works Park made the cut for the prestigious list. Designed by renowned local landscape architect Richard Haag (who also worked on Bainbridge Island’s Bloedel Reserve), the park opened to the public in 1975. It was Haag’s idea to preserve the giant relics of the coal and gas plant that operated on the property between 1906 and 1956. It was also Haag’s before-his-time brainstorm to rely on natural reclamation methods (such as microorganisms) to clean up the park’s contaminated soil and water. Instead of erasing a historical moment, he embraced the plant as a beautiful, if quirky, relic of our industrial past. The rusted gas reservoirs stand in dramatic contrast to the park’s bright green hill, from which visitors enjoy views of downtown Seattle, sights of seaplanes landing, kites and kayakers—small but critical amenities for a livable city.


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