The Olmsted Brothers’ Living Legacy and the Grand Opening of the Arboretum’s Loop Trail

In 1903 the Olmsted Brothers were brought in from Massachusetts by the city of Seattle as nationally renowned urban landscape architects. They were the legacy of their father’s firm who had notably designed New York City’s Central Park. After surveying the city’s bountiful natural advantages to great satisfaction, their top two objectives became to have a city park or playground within 1/2 mile of every home in Seattle, and to create a 20 mile landscaped Boulevard connecting the main parks running north-south through the city like a central green belt.

Living quiet close to Ravenna Boulevard and 17th Avenue not only do we have a park within a half mile in every cardinal direction, but we are well positioned to enjoy the connectivity of Boulevard system as a whole. I was reminded of this luxury today as Lake and I bicycled to the Arboretum of their loop trail opening. The way there consists of two and a half miles of Boulevard route as designed by the Olmsted Brothers plus the relatively newly contiguous way over Mountlake through the University of Washington campus where we caught the end of the cherry blossoms on The Quad.

Such an altogether pleasant ride. And what a destination today! The Arboretum is in-and-of-itself an urban treasure.

Now it has a much anticipated two mile loop trail: a new paved bicycle/walking path. In addition to the many preexisting romantic winding paths, trails, and Azalea Way, the new loop affords another layer of accessibility. For today’s opening occasion, Lake transferred to the backpack for the loop walk. By the end he was walking and exploring on his own two feet. The mature trees, garden plantings and winding routes beckoning.

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