Magical Ravenna Park

“My first recollection of Ravenna Park was a moonlight excursion in midsummer, when the moon failed to appear, a cool breeze came up, and a chill was in the air. Even so, the large coal-oil lamps shining through the trees lighting the path that ran through the park, and the bobbing and swaying Chinese lanterns made it seem like a land fit for fairies.” ~Sophie Frye Bass. (The granddaughter of Denny’s brother Arthur).

Original wooden bridge, brochure photo, Ravenna Park, Seattle, ca. 1909
Courtesy Peter Blecha, Last night.

In the 1800’s Ravenna was its own little city with a railway and a ladies college. It was named for the Italian hilltop town with the same name, for its deep wooded ravine. The jewel of the city was it’s beautiful 60 acre forest park, filled with giant ferns and old growth trees that mysteriously began disappearing in the 1920’s. (When our new house was built! Eep!) Before Ravenna Creek (from Greenlake to Union Bay) was depleted the park had many springs and pools full of fish. One spring was called Wood Nymph’s Well! Ravenna was a popular train and boating excursion for picnics and teas, and from the account of Sophie Frye Bass, was filled with lanterns!

Yesterday I decided to see what was just beyond a tiny path shrouded in thicket, just one block from our new house. The path looked like it only went to a tudor house perched on the edge of the forest. There were shamrocks growing in bunches at my feet and the sound of trickling water echoing from far off. I soon came upon an old wooden bridge spanning across a deeply cut ravine.

My heart!

I will live in a house that was built on what used to be part of magical Ravenna Park, and this summer I intend to recreate a lantern lit ambience there. Maybe I’ll even put a little fountain in my courtyard to replicate the Wood Nymph’s Well! (The previous owners had a little wood well in the garden :)

I am so happy!


P.S. Last night the Sclafani’s had us over for dinner. Our kids will go to the same school!! So excited to be neighbors with this fantastic family from the land of round doors!!




2 thoughts on “Magical Ravenna Park

  1. Sounds like a fairy tale wonderland you now live in. Amazing! You are going to have so much fun in your new house. Keep us all posted.

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