Burien Washington - Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services

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Chelsea Park
SW 136th St. and 8th Ave. SW
3 acres


This small, open park, ringed by homes and businesses, lies in a shallow depression one block east of Ambaum Blvd. The park is home to a softball / baseball field, soccer field, and play equipment, and provides a grand view of Mt. Rainier to the southeast.

Early History: The Chelsea Park Improvement Club

The Chelsea Park Improvement Club was very active in the 1940s and 1950s. The Club was started in 1947 by Mrs. Juvia Goodfellow, an early resident of Chelsea Park. Seeing the need for community activity, she called the first meeting in the Chelsea Food Center. The Club raised money for community projects, sponsored dances, and other social events - often in conjunction with other community clubs. Not content to be just another real estate development, Chelsea Park sought its own identity through beautification and improvement programs. In 1947, the Chelsea Park Improvement Club adopted the slogan, "Where The Lilies Grow." It was hoped that planting lily bulbs would make Chelsea Park "a place separate and apart from the rest of the South End."

Many choice variety bulbs, including "exquisite rare lilies," were purchased from Southern Oregon growers and sold in the neighborhood. The money from the bulb sale and other events was earmarked for the development of a building and playfield, "so desperately needed in the community." November was chosen for the fund drive because that was the time of year for bulb planting.

In 1948, the Chelsea Park Community Club raffled off a "beautiful hand-braided woolen rug" as part of their Playground Fund Drive. The rug was displayed at Graves Electric Store at 1st Ave. S and 136th St. Tickets were 25 cents each. The drawing was held at Coy's Hi-Line Theatre, since Chelsea Park had "no facilities for handling a matter of such interest to the general public."

Leaders of South End civic organizations included Hugh Shepard, president of the Chelsea Park Community Club, Joe L. Owens, president of Evansvale Commercial Club, and Jud Colburn, secretary-treasurer of the South End associated clubs. In 1948 they agreed that the "natural and strategic location for a playground" lay at 136th SW and Ambaum Blvd, which had been set aside for the express purpose of playground development by the original owner, and deeded to the County for that reason. This site was centrally located for children from the rapidly filling Lake Burien Heights apartments, Evansvale, and Chelsea Park.

The Club also sponsored bingo parties, organized by Charles Eyers, in the Trowbridge Building between the Chelsea Park Service Station and Food Center. Prizes included cash and "several pieces of lovely silver" donated by the Silversmiths of Seattle. Other prizes were donated by the Evansvale Commercial Club - all part of a years-long, step-by-step effort to build a community playground and clubhouse.

By 1948, the Club had "finally come of age," and was eager to welcome new residents of the Lake Burien Heights apartments into the community's civic and social life. Chelsea Park newcomers were routinely introduced to their neighbors via the Chelsea Park News column in the Highline Times. The column also chronicled the activities - trips, vacations, parties, weddings, births, and so on - of Chelsea Park residents.

Continue on to learn about the later history of Chelsea Park.

14700 6th Avenue SW   /  Burien, WA 98166  /  Ph: (206) 988-3700  /  Fax: (206) 243-2784
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