(Editor’s note: This is a continuation of Pauline Kirkman’s article from the July 2016 newsletter).
Lake Washington has been a vital part of our area. There was a public dock at the west end of N. 33 Street, across from the present beauty salon, continuing to Mt. View Ave. North. There had been boat transport across to Rainier Beach that connected to a streetcar from Renton to downtown Seattle. The Kennydale community beach moved around, depending on private owners who were not using it, until King County purchased the present site. When Kennydale went into the city of Renton, so did the beach.
The lake also played a large role in my life. I could see it from the house where I was raised (it's still there), from where we built our first little house on N. 35th, our second larger home next door, a condo on N. 32nd, and now 2000 Lake Washington Blvd. From here I expect to live at Lakeshore Retirement in Bryn Mawr, still looking at my lake. However, it was not always so beautiful. Coulon Park replaced a lumber mill on the waterfront. It had a burning stack that spewed out smoke and debris--and the south end of the lake was full of logs dropped off by trucks and trains. (The mill's safe is still across the Boulevard near the sign I cannot lift.) That is where we swam almost every summer day. We had a trail from the corner of our pasture, on across the upper railroad right of way, down past the big Samson family house, across the Boulevard, over more tracks, and found a way to the water. There was no beach. The island was there. Boeing was not.
Where the Boeing plant is located, there was a sandy stretch of property owned by Renton's Dr. Dixon and used as if public. We did not walk that far very often. There was a contest about who could go swimming the earliest. My date was in April—once. It's too cold for me in July now. Along the beach north of Coulon Park, there were more mills and businesses, even a hotel at one time. Then there was another mill and the creosote plant which gifted our laundry on the line with black specks before dryers were common. One magnificent piece of history we have lost is the Rogers mansion across from the Park's north end. If we had only known saving it to be possible, it would still be there. It is so beautiful in this area today. There is always hope for improvement of yesterday's disasters.
Youngsters were allowed to roam freely here, even after dark. It may be there was no danger, but if there was, we were not aware of it. Our daughters and friends even slept in our yard all summer. Yes, our oldest and her best pal roamed one night, but were located by the friend's father, who was probably older and wiser than we were.
Yes, Kennydale has been a good place to live, and I hope everyone here is enjoying it too. It has actually been fun writing about it.
KNA is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in Kennydale and fostering community spirit.