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Seattle Landmarks: Parsons Memorial Gardens (1905)
HistoryLink.org Essay 3207
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Address: Immediately west of 618 W Highland Drive, Seattle. In 1956, the children of Reginald H. Parsons (1873-1955) and Maude (Bemis) Parsons (d. 1955) provided this 16,552 square foot garden to the city of Seattle in memory of their parents. The garden had been the eastern portion of the Parsons estate on W Highland Drive since 1905.
Reginald Parsons came to Seattle in 1903 to represent the Bemis Bag Co. He branched out into mining, and into agricultural and financial businesses. Maude Parsons was a founder of the Seattle Fine Arts Society, precursor of the Seattle Art Museum. They built a home and estate on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill where other prominent Seattle residents were erecting large homes.
In 1956, the Parsons children leased the garden to the city and in 1960, deeded ownership. Their gift provided that "no structure other than ... a chapel" shall be built in the park (Sherwood). Behind the gardens was a carriage house, which was replaced by a town house in 1968.
On September 2, 1980, the garden was designated a Seattle Landmark.
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, Landmarks Preservation Board, 700 Third Avenue, 4th Floor, Seattle, Washington;
Don Sherwood, "Parsons Memorial Garden," Interpretive Essays on the History of Seattle Parks, Handwritten bound manuscript dated 1977, Seattle Room, Seattle Public Library.
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