Vintage Seattle had a cool post today that asked about the location and history of Collins Field House. One of their commenters provided the answer: it was in the CD.
The building and its playfields took up the entire 2 blocks bordered by 14th & 16th and S. Washington St. & S. Main St. The property is now owned by the adjacent Seattle Buddhist Church, and King County’s online records don’t go back far enough to say when it was sold to them. The mind boggles at why the city would ever sell such a huge tract of park land to someone else.
As for the building itself, there’s still a bit of a mystery. A photo below shows it still on the park property in 1965. The Seattle archives has another photo that mentions “Field House Moved to Garfield upon construction of Recreation Center.” (Note: YeslerWay points out below that the photo is of an older & smaller structure that predated the later Collins Field House)Assuming that means the Garfield school campus, does anyone know where it went and what became of it?
This shot from 1917 shows the field house with “Mr. Ben Evans’ first car” parked in front:
This 1949 photo of kids playing shows how diverse the CD has always been:
A commenter at Vintage Seattle also dug up a hand-written map that describes the park, field house, and some local history of its namesake. Here’s a transcript:
Playground named for John Collins, pioneer & mayor, who in 1845 came to Maine from Ireland at age 10, to work in Pope & Talbot mills there. Transferring their operations to Puget Sound, Collins became manager of Port Gamble Mill in 1857. Also became manager of company hotel, the Teekelet.
Bought into the “Seattle (Occidental) Hotel” (adjacent to Pioneer Square) in 1867, became sole owner by 1882, rebuilt it into town’s leading hotel & center of festivities as well as stronghold against Anti-Chinese rioters; rebuilt after 1889 Fire to decline upon shift of city center northward; final razing in 1960 for parking garage.
Collins invested in newspaper, Leary-Collins Land Co. (Duwamish Tidal flats), Peoples’ Savings Bank, Denny-Renton Clay & Coal Co, first Gas plant -1874- (near King St. & 4th Ave S.) to replace kerosene lights & fish oil. Upon organization of City government in 1869 was elected to City Council remaining for 3 terms, then elected Mayor in 1877; created city Water Works; member of Territ. Legisl. 1883-4. Helped fund Territ. Univ.
- L.I.D. 1929: $843.
- Wading pool 1931: gift of Mrs. Collins (Replaced exit. pool.) $1,250
- 1 Belly bar
- 1 Miracle Whirl
- 1 Parallel Bar
- 1 Hoizontal Bar
- 18 Swings
- 2 Tetherball
- 1 Sand Box
Washington St. named by “Doc” Maynard in honor of George Washington.
Main St. named by Maynard because he intended it to be the main street on his plot.
- Purch. in 1905 (G.F. $22,000). 3.1 Acres. 212-16th Ave So.
- Was first supervised playground in city 1907 by J. Howard Stine who became 1st Director of Recreation (No playgrounds prior to 1900).
- Was first Library station in P.G-1909 (Children’s Extension Service)
- Recreation Center constr. 1912 – “A – 3rd in city $27,000 ’10 BF
- Bym (+ stage): 50’x70′ = 500 persons. showers/lockers
- Club Rm. 2@ 14’x22′ 2@22’x27′