Gardens of Eden

Japanese Pagoda Lantern in Mt. Baker Park, Seattle, Wash.  Courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives.

Japanese Pagoda Lantern in Mt. Baker Park, Seattle, Wash. Courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives.

When asked to compare the sprawling suburbs of Long Island, New York to the densely packed streets of Seattle, Washington, little might come to mind other than the profusion of water-views both localities offer residents. A lecture being held on March 9th titled “Gardens of Eden”, co-sponsored by the Mount Baker Community Club and Historic Seattle, aims at dispelling this.

Bringing together Dr. Robert B. Mackay, formally the director of the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities and editor and contributor to Gardens of Eden: Long Island’s Early Twentieth-Century Planned Communities, and Lawrence Kreisman, Program Director at Historic Seattle and co-author of many works including The Stimson Legacy: Architecture in the Urban West, this event will discuss the distinctive style of residential development that occurred in Seattle and on Long Island during latter part of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century.

While Seattle’s first streetcar suburbs, which now form the ring of neighborhoods directly surrounding downtown, might lack the grandiosity characterized by the estates lining Long Island’s Gold Coast, both were developed under the auspices of England’s Garden City Movement, which  aimed at moving residential communities out of the pollution and congestion of industrial city centers. Developers adhering to the Garden City Movement’s principles invested heavily in siting new communities in bucolic parkland to provide the touted benefits of country living for the ever-growing urban middle and upper classes. Evidence of this type of development are abundant in Seattle and include the gated residential communities of Broadmoor, and The Highlands, as well as the 1903 Olmsted Park and Boulevard Plan.

The evening will lead to an in-depth analysis regarding urban planning and a discussion of what makes a community desirable and livable.



Date: March 9th, 2016

Time: 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Venue: Mount Baker Community Club, 2811 Mount Rainier Drive South

Tickets: $35 general public / $25 Historic Seattle members