A Bather’s History of Alki

 
 

Alki Beach and the West Seattle waterfront have a long history as a recreation site.   In 1902, it was such a popular destination that a new electric trolley line was built to bring visitors across the bay from Seattle.


In 1907 an elaborate amusement park called Luna Park was built on the Duwamish tide flats just across Elliott Bay from booming Seattle.  It included heated swimming pools, a huge German carousel, a Ferris wheel, a rollercoaster, a restaurant, and a boat chute. 


In 1913 the amusement park closed but its swimming pools, called the Natatorium, stayed open and continued to draw crowds to Alki until 1931.


The City opened Alki Beach Park in 1911, which included the Alki Bathhouse, a first of its kind.  Originally named The Pavilion, the bathhouse had spacious dressing and locker rooms, a viewing balcony, a gym, clubrooms, and a cafe. 


The Luna Girls On Alki celebrate this history in their period swim attire.  In the spirit of the Luna Park and the Alki Bathhouse, they continue to welcome visitors to Alki Beach Park.


With thanks to these sources, you can discover even more fascinating West Seattle history: Paul Dorpat, Seattle Now & Then:Luna Park and Seattle, Now & Then, Vol. I (Seattle: Tartu Publications, 1984), 99; Walt Crowley, National Trust Guide, Seattle (Washington, D.C.: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1998), 230-231.    And Historylink.org’s Alan J Stein, June 16, 1999