9/28/2012. The Water Tower rises 75 feet from the top of a small hillock at the south entrance of Seattle’s Volunteer Park. Even on a day drenched with sunshine, it’s dark and foreboding like the stone keep of a medieval castle. But over the years, the trees and shrubbery planted around its base have grown tall enough to obscure and soften the impact of the massive red brick tower.
A narrow path snakes around the base of the tower to a flight of stone steps that leads to the entrance. Inside, voices echo as you climb the metal staircase that spirals up to an observation platform at the top. 107 steps, by my count, but the climb is worth it. Arched windows, covered only by black metal grates, offer a gorgeous 360 degree view of the Seattle skyline.
The Water Tower was designed by the Olmsted Brothers. (a landscape architectural firm in Brookline, MA) Construction was completed in 1906. The Olmsted Brothers, creators of NYC’s world-renowned Central Park, spent over 30 years in the Emerald City developing private properties in addition to Seattle’s incredible parks system.
While visiting the Water Tower, take some time to explore the other attractions in Volunteer Park: the conservatory, the dahlia garden, the koi ponds, and the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Or stroll along one of the many trails winding through the lush green lawns and towering trees of this 40-acre park.
The Water Tower is located at 1247 15th Avenue East in Seattle’s Capitol Hill District. Open to the public from dawn til dusk. For a map and detailed directions, please check out the Go Northwest website.
Special Note: For interior photos of the Water Tower in Volunteer Park, please check out our Wild About the NW Facebook Page.