Schmitz Park Bridge in West Seattle is completed in December 1936.

  • By Priscilla Long
  • Posted 12/23/2007
  • Essay 8438

In December 1936, the new Schmitz Park Bridge in West Seattle is completed. It is an innovative concrete-box structure with Art Deco touches designed by Seattle city engineer Clark Eldridge. The 175-foot bridge spans a deep ravine within Schmitz Park and replaces an aging timber-truss bridge.

The new bridge was constructed with concrete-box cells, which reduced the bridge's dead load (the weight of the structure itself) and created a rigid frame that was 60 percent longer than any such bridge previously constructed.

The bridge was built for $134,000, with the funds provided by the federal Public Works Administration and by local gas-tax and highway funds.

Schmitz Park was donated to Seattle between 1908 and 1912. The greatest part, consisting of 30 acres, was donated by Ferdinand (b. 1861) and Emma (Althoff) Schmitz.  The couple wanted to preserve a bit of old-growth forest, and although part of the park was logged, Schmitz Park does preserve some never-logged forest. Ferdinand served on the Park Board from 1908 and 1914.


Sources: Craig Holstein and Richard Hobbs, Spanning Washington: Historic Highway Bridges of the Evergreen State (Pullman: WSU Press, 2005), 158; date of completion estimated from construction photos in Seattle Municipal Archives (; "Schmitz Preserve Park," Seattle Parks and Recreation website accessed December 25, 2007 (; Friends of Schmitz Park website accessed December 25, 2007 (

Related Topics:   Bridges | Environment | Roads & Rails | Seattle Neighborhoods

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