2101 North Northlake Way Seattle, WA
|Park hours here.|
Gas Works Park
4 a.m.-11:30 p.m. daily
The parking lot is open 6 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.
2101 N Northlake Way, Seattle, WA 98103
There is free parking located on the north side of the park.
Gasworks Park is a family-friendly grassland off the shore of the Puget Sound. The park is 21 acres in total, which includes picnic tables restrooms, grills, and art pieces. The large structure which the park is centered around is the main attraction and is how the park got its name, as the structure used to produce synthetic gas for the city of Seattle. It is usually busy on sunny afternoons with families and friends having lunch on the grass or picnic tables. It is also a common attraction for kite flying on a windy day as there is a hill 45-foot-high ideal for this scenario. The park is adjacent to the Burke Gilman Trail, a popular way for visitors to travel to the park on their bikes or by foot. Gasworks Parks location makes it ideal for visitors of Seattle to see the skyline from a peaceful, green, and unique area. The Fremont area is filled with different restaurants, making it easy to pick up something to munch on as you relax by the water. This spot is perfect for visitors of Seattle and is also a hidden gem where locals love to lounge.
The large, brassy structure found at the center of the park, built in 1907, actually has a large significance. The plant found in Gasworks Park was used to synthetically manufacture gas until 1956. This is done by heating coal or coke in the plant to extremely high temperatures. The heated coal is deprived of oxygen which makes it release multiple gasses including hydrogen, methane, and ethylene. According to the Lake Union Virtual Museum, "these gasses burn cleaner, hotter and brighter than coal itself, so are more efficient as fuel for lighting and heating." The plant created an immense amount of pollution, and with the combination of advancing technology and the dramatic price difference between crude oil and coal, the plant became virtually useless. Washington Natural Gas, who had built the plant on this land, sold it to the City of Seattle in the early 1960's. The area sat untouched for about 20 years until it was transformed into a park in 1974 by Richard Haag, an architecture professor who taught at the University of Washington. The park was opened to the public by 1975. According to the University of Washington Press, Haag, "preserved gasification towers called “cracking” towers, a boiler house converted to a picnic shelter complete with tables and grills, and a former exhauster-compressor building transformed into the open-air Play Barn housing a maze of brightly painted machinery for children." The significance of Gasworks is the unprecedented idea of transforming old buildings and items into artwork. This is now being done around the country.
Referred to as "Kite Hill" or "The Great Mound," the hill that stands near the abandoned plant is actually a pile of rubble covered in topsoil. At the top of the mound is a sundial, made by Chuck Greening and Kim Lazare, two Seattle local artists. The sundial itself is made of concrete and decorated with glass, rocks, and many other objects. It is used by a person standing in a specific spot, decided by the date, which projects a shadow, allowing the user to see the time.
There are a total of six synthetic natural gas generator towers still that were preserved at the park which are still standing today. The two taller towers, which are closer to the Puget Sound water, are Semet-Solvay–type generators. These two were made between 1937-1938. The next four towers, which are significantly smaller, were built in 1947. All six are made with a brick inner wall, with an outer shell made of welded-steel.
The picnic shelter, which was once the boiler house, once had two boilers. One boiler provided steam for the gasification process, while the other powered the Pump House compressors. The tubes from one of the boilers is still inside the picnic shelter for people to see.
The play barn, which was once the pump house, was where the oxygen-extraction process took place. This was done by compressing air, then pumping oxygen to the generators. This began the first stage of gas manufacturing. After the product was finished, it was pumped to customers who needed power, or into the storage tank.
A big night for Gasworks is on the Fourth of July. Every year the City of Seattle puts on a firework display which is easily seen from Gasworks Park. Many people come to this spot in order to see the beautiful view. The park is packed full of people trying to get the best glimps e of the show. There is also a plethora of events held at this location including concerts and community service activities. A "Turkey Trot" is hosted the week before Thanksgiving, and public dance lessons are held quite often. Gasworks is often a meeting spot for people wanting to be toured around the city.
Tuesday, November 13th: Turkey Trot
Monday, November 19th: Kizomba Practice
Tuesday, November 20th: Ecstatic Noise
Thursday, November 22nd: Wattle Waddle
Monday, November 26th: Kizomba Practice
Tuesday, November 27th: Ecstatic Noise
Monday, December 3rd: Kizomba Practice
Saturday, December 8th: Seattle Holiday Urban Trek
Wednesday, December 19th: Package Bulk Food at North Helpline Bitterlake Food Pantry
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