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From its 1930s origin in a handful of Works Progress Administration community centers and some seasonal swimming programs, the King County Park System has continually built, rebuilt, redefined and expanded itself, so that it is beginning the new century as a major team player in the county's efforts to preserve and protect open space in an urbanizing regional environment.

The King County Parks System photograph collection (Series 467-160) illustrates this dynamic history. It visually documents park and recreation facilities and programs in King County from 1948 (establishment date of the first parks department) to 1998. (For pre-1948 images of King County park facilities and structures, see Series 400, Public Works Photograph Files.) The photographs, primarily black-and-white prints and color prints and slides, document past and present park sites, swimming facilities, regional trails, park staff and offices, and activity programs.


This exhibit is a modified, online version of Beyond Pool and Playfield: The Evolution of the King County Park System, by Rebecca Pixler of King County Archives. It first appeared in the December 2001 issue of Easy Access: Newsletter of the Northwest Archivists, Inc.

1215 E Fir Street, Seattle, Washington 98122 | Hours: 9am-4pm M-F | Phone: (206) 296-1538 | Email: archives@kingcounty.gov