Thanks to its location, there are several different breathtaking views from West Seattle. Looking west you are able to see the Puget Sound waterway as well as the powerful and beautiful Olympic mountain range. Puget Sound is used by our busy shipping industry as a gateway to the Pacific Rim. This creates an ever-changing seascape. If you like to sail, or powerboat, then you will be in heaven. Looking east from West Seattle you can see Elliott Bay and the Cascade Mountain Range. Once again, the water traffic is a wonder as Elliott Bay crawls with ferries, boaters and commercial shipping. However, the highlight of the easterly view is what you see over the waterway. Downtown Seattle and the high-rises of the city create an awesome view, both either during the day and in the evening. As if this was not enough, above the cityscape is the mighty Cascade Mountain range. The sunrise view from West Seattle can start anyone’s day off in the right direction.
West Seattle's most famous landmark is Alki Beach, the humble birthplace of Seattle, where the Denny party rowed ashore in November 1851. The centerpiece of the community is West Seattle Junction, a shopping and commercial center that features hundreds of shops and restaurants. Alki Beach lives up to its local reputation, as the most popular beach in the Seattle area. It’s sandy beach is the spot where the first settlers stumbled ashore nearly 150 years ago. It is a very popular destination for locals and visitors alike. During the summer months, tourists, residents and the youth of Seattle become beach worshipers and flood the neighborhood. Its wonderful ambiance, narrow streets, quaint apartments, homes and restaurants are the perfect spot for those who want to picnic, sightsee, walk the dog, have a GREAT cup of coffee, join a "fun-run" or party.
There are three Junctions in the West Seattle area. The Admiral Junction, Alaska Junction and the Fauntleroy Junction. These are all little area communities. The quaintness of these business districts are all maintained in the historical era they were established. You can eat, shop or once again have a great cup of coffee. The murals of West Seattle were a winner of the national "Neighborhood of the Year" project in 1992. The access to West Seattle from the Seattle area is a bridge that was opened in 1984. This improved access to West Seattle has made the area even more popular, cutting the drive to downtown Seattle down to 10 minutes.
West Seattle is known for its many parks and quiet neighborhoods. Schmitz Park, located between Alki Beach and the Admiral District, was donated to the city in pieces between 1908 and 1912. The most generous chunk came from German immigrant Ferdinand Schmitz, who served on the park commission during those years. It was Schmitz's idea, seeing how rapidly the great forest was disappearing, to preserve part of it in its natural state. Even with Schmitz’s efforts, the land was not completely untouched by the loggers. Some huge stumps in the park are evidence of this failure. After 1908, however, the new park rapidly gained popularity as a quiet complement to the West Seattle park complex. Except for the paved entrance and a parking lot at the northwest corner of the park everything has remained unchanged.
To the south, following along the waters’ edge on Beach Drive SW, you will run into a small waterfront park called Lowman Beach. This is a small family beach with a large lawn for Frisbees and baseballs and a lovely beach for combing. Continuing south, about a quarter mile, you will hit West Seattle's largest park. Lincoln Park has lots of sandy beach, picnic tables, hiking trails, baseball diamonds and everything you have ever needed in a park. One thing making this park unique is the huge saltwater swimming pool called Colman Pool. Colman Pool is a tide-fed swimming hole built in 1929. The cleaning of the pool was handled by the local fire department. They would periodically hose out the pool, ridding it of any accumulation of mud and debris. Colman was so popular that residents began asking the city for a concrete bottom and sides. This was not what the city wanted to spend its money on, but the pool took its final concrete form in 1941 when a local resident Kenneth Colman, donated $150,000 to have it built in honor of his father. It is still enjoyed by many.
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