David Rodgers Park tennis courts in 2017
The Seattle Park Department utilized funds and labor from the Civil Works Administration and the Works Progress Administration, as well as the state-based Washington Emergency Relief Administration, to complete a series of maintenance and improvement projects at David Rodgers Park. The 8.5-acre park occupies a steep and heavily wooded hillside in Seattle’s North Queen Anne neighborhood. The city was gifted the northern half of the park in 1883 and purchased the southern half of the park in 1909. In 1910, the city constructed a couple of paths through the park, followed by the installation of a small wood-frame comfort station in 1920, but otherwise made few changes to the site between that time and the onset of the Great Depression. This made David Rodgers Park a top choice to be one of the first parks in the city to benefit from the New Deal.
The first improvement project at David Rodgers Park got underway in 1933 with the help of funding provided by the Civil Works Administration. This project involved the construction of three concrete tennis courts in the park’s northeastern corner and significant landscaping work throughout the park. As part of the landscaping work, CWA workers cleared the park grounds of underbrush and constructed several additional paths through the site. They also leveled the hillside along the southern edge of the park to street level. The CWA provided $6,000 to cover the cost of labor for these projects, which continued into the spring of 1934. When the CWA program was discontinued in March of that year, the tennis courts remained unfinished, but were eventually completed in 1935 with the help of the Washington Emergency Relief Administration.
The Seattle Park Department’s plans for landscaping the remainder of David Rodgers Park were put on hold with the demise of the CWA. These plans were revived when additional federal funding was made available through the newly created Works Progress Administration. In 1935, the WPA approved a grant of $12,000 to cover the cost of regrading and landscaping the parts of the park that had not been overhauled by the previous CWA project, about six acres in total. WPA workers cleared the rest of the park of trees and underbrush, removed old tree stumps, smoothed out the steepest parts of the hillside, installed a water and drainage system, and replanted the entire area with new trees and bushes. This project was completed in 1936.
"Rodgers Park." Seattle Parks and Recreation. Accessed May 25, 2021.
Seattle Board of Park Commissioners. Annual Reports. Seattle, WA: Seattle Board of Park Commissioners, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936.
"Summary for 2625 1st AVE / Parcel ID 2425039003 / Inv # DPR078." Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. Accessed May 25, 2021. http://web6.seattle.gov/DPD/HistoricalSite/QueryResult.aspx?ID=-1612737162
Project originally submitted by Scott Newman on May 25, 2021.
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