Discovery Park Timeline

March 23, 1964 Seattle City Council passed Resolution 19807 declaring the desire of the City of Seattle to acquire Fort Lawton, and officially requesting the support of Washington's congressional delegation to assist in that effort.
April 24, 1964 Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara announced that 85% of Fort Lawton would be declared surplus by 1967.
1964 Mayor Braman formed a Fort Lawton Planning Committee with membership drawn from various interested county, city, and state agencies charged with exploring ways of financing the acquisition of the fort land and planning for various possible uses.
1968 The Parks and Public Grounds Committee issued two resolutions in support of Mayor Braman’s continued efforts to secure the land for park purposes.
1968 Forward Thrust bond issue approved, providing $3 million to purchase Fort Lawton.
1969 Senator Henry Jackson introduced a bill enabling cities to acquire surplus federal lands at no cost for park and recreational purposes; this bill, signed into law in 1970 by President Nixon, enabled Seattle to free up $3 million in Forward Thrust acquisition funds for park development.
1969 Dan Kiley hired to design an initial plan for transformation of the decommissioned property into a regional park. The scope of work for design included elements such as neighborhood and traffic impacts, costs of maintenance and staffing, regional impact, and the long-term best use of the site for park purposes. "The Mayor, the City Council, and the Board of Park Commissioners are determined that the magnificent potential of this site must not be dissipated by fragmented or piecemeal planning and development," the scope reads. "We are willing to settle for nothing less than the finest park attainable."
November 1971 Agreement reached between the city and the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation (UIATF) for Indian Cultural Center site
September 1, 1972 Fort Lawton property acquired from Federal Government (391 acres)
1972 Master Plan created and submitted to the City. From the plan: "The primary role of this park in the life of the city is dictated by its incomparable site. That role should be to provide an open space of quiet and tranquility for the citizens of this city - a sanctuary where they might escape the turmoil of the city and enjoy the rejuvenation which quiet and solitude and an intimate contact with nature can bring."
June 1973 City Council accepted the Park Board's recommended name, Discovery Park, in honor of British sloop HMS Discovery commanded by Captain George Vancouver.
October 28, 1973 Senator Henry Jackson dedicated the park, which was declared open to the public.
1973 Seattle Mounted Police Patrol established stables at Discovery Park.
1973 The Nature Program Committee, led by Clayton Young, was assembled and charged with identifying goals, recommending policy and stakeholders, and working with staff to provide an inventory of sites to be safeguarded.
1974 Revised Master Plan written by Kiley and Partners.
1974 Friends of Discovery Park incorporated to advocate for the preservation for the park.
1974 The University of Washington Institute of Environmental Studies provided a report on how the park could enrich the lives of visitors by increasing their understanding of the natural environment and included an inventory identifying species, habitats, and the topography of the park.
October 1974 A Magnolia resident filed a complaint saying her property "will be adversely affected and diminished in value" as a result of the city adopting the master plan, and that park violated the state Environmental Protection Act because an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was not completed.
1974 Nature Interpretive Program began.
February 1975 Permanent restrooms built.
May 1975 Friends of Discovery Park "dedicated to preserving old Fort Lawton as an urban wilderness area" held their first annual meeting.
June 1975 Experimental summer shuttle service between north parking lots and south beach area began.
July 1975 2.8 mile Loop Trail named a National Recreation Trail by the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, Department of the Interior.
September 27, 1975 Groundbreaking ceremony held for Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center.
November 1975 Voters rejected a plan for an 18-hole golf course. The vote was 53,519 (34.26%) Yes and 102,687 (65.73%) No.
1975 Agreement for Rhododendron Glen signed with the Seattle Rhododendron Society.
1976 The Discovery Park Associated Recreation Council (ARC) entered into an agreement with the City. ARCs support programs and activities in facilities under the jurisdiction of the Department of Parks and Recreation, increasing the educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities available to Seattle residents.
1976 UIATF began planning for construction of People's Lodge.
January 1977 Parks Superintendent David Towne ordered an EIS for the park.
1977 The City bought 1.8 acres, including the former Army chapel, for $67.750.
May 13, 1977 Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center opened.
1977 Nature Day Camps offered in July and August.
1977 Parcours 0.5 mile exercise circuit installed.
August 1977 The federal government offered 130 additional acres, including land on high bluff.
1977 Seattle Community College proposed but then abandoned plans to establish a community education facility at the park.
1978 Allied Arts suggested that Army buildings should be turned into housing for artists.
August 1978 Fort Lawton Historic District (25 acres) designated in the National Register of Historic Places.
1980-1981 Former Metro sludge lagoon removed.
April 1980 "Nature at Night Time" program for 7- 12-year-olds began.
August 7, 1981 Metro dedicated South Beach.
1982 Rhododendron Society withdrew from Discovery Park.
1984 Metro announced it was considering a secondary sewage treatment plant at West Point to comply with state and federal regulations.
August 18, 1984 Henry M. Jackson Viewpoint dedicated.
1985 Resolution 27329 approved a plan for the Fort Lawton Historic District that allowed for preservation of building exteriors but prohibited interior use of city-owned buildings, including the Band Barracks (Building 734). Buildings would not be occupied due to concerns about traffic and maintaining the natural environment.
1986 Discovery Park Development Plan approved by Resolution 27399, incorporating a compromise plan for the Fort Lawton Landmark District.
1987 Washington Trust for Historic Preservation filed a federal lawsuit challenging demolition of historic buildings.
January 23, 1988 Public hearing held regarding the secondary sewage treatment plant planned for West Point.
1988 Fort Lawton Historic District designated as a city landmark.
1988 A federal court ordered delay of demolition of headquarters, Post Exchange, guardhouse, civilian employee quarters, and stables.
1988 Ordinance 114013 amended Resolution 27329 and the Development Plan, authorizing the Parks Superintendent to proceed with implementation of outdoor interpretive exhibits and restoration of the parade ground.
1990 Metro began the permit process for its secondary sewage treatment plant and was required to give the City $25 million to mitigate loss of public use of the shoreline.
November 1990 State Court of Appeals upheld approval of Metro's plan to locate a secondary sewage treatment plant at West Point.
1991 Beach programs and walks closed for summer due to Metro construction.
1991 Underpass built to protect people from trucks coming from the expanded sewage treatment plant.
March 1992 Metro displayed Indian artifacts at visitors center that were found at "waste depository," including mammal and fish bones between 2,500 and 3,000 years old.
1993 Initial proposal for moving the Naval Reserve Center from South Lake Union to Discovery Park ended with approval to move to Sand Point.
1996 Metro Secondary Treatment Plant opened.
1998 New Visitor Center dedicated. Funding (about $3 million) came from Metro mitigation funds as part of the Shoreline Park Improvement Fund (SPIF).
1999 Public hearings on the draft EIS for the UIAT's People's Lodge held on July 22 and August 11.
2003 Seattle Police Department Horse Patrol moved to a new facility near Westcrest Park.
2004 The City announced it would purchase 23 (later 24) acres of U.S. Navy property. The purchase was completed in 2005 for $11 million. Structures were demolished to create open space.
2005 U.S. Army Reserve 70th Regional Support Command headquarters closed.
2007 Purchase (from Army) and demolition of Capehart houses approved by City Council. This was a separate 38-acre site adjacent to the park where 66 Capehart units would be replaced by market-rate and subsidized housing.
December 2009 North Beach closed due to an 8.7 million gallon spill of raw sewage from the West Point Treatment Plant.
September 2010 The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved the 2008 redevelopment and homeless assistance application for the U.S. Army Capehart complex.
2017 A renovation project updated play area equipment and improved ADA compliance.
2019 Updates to South Beach Trail completed, connecting it to the Loop Trail and West Point.
2019 The Office of Housing submitted a Fort Lawton Army Reserve Center Redevelopment Plan to HUD.
2019 Buffalo Soldier museum proposed for Building 734 (Band Barracks).
2022 Environmental Learning and Visitor Center closed for accessibility and ADA improvements until 2023.
October 1, 2022 50th anniversary of Discovery Park celebrated with walks, talks, activities and games.

Bibliography -->

Municipal Archives, City Clerk

Anne Frantilla, City Archivist
Address: 600 Fourth Avenue, Third Floor, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94728, Seattle, WA, 98124-4728
Phone: (206) 684-8353

The Office of the City Clerk maintains the City's official records, provides support for the City Council, and manages the City's historical records through the Seattle Municipal Archives. The Clerk's Office provides information services to the public and to City staff.