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Gas Works Park celebrates 50 years of industrial outdoors vibes

Who knew a former gassification plant could be so fun?

An aerial view of Gas Works Park showing the famed towers among the green space

Gas Works had originally been planned as a public park before it became a plant.

Photo via @pnw.mei

Those who’ve visited Gas Works Park know the steampunky hype is real. Located at the north end of Lake Union, the space has a unique blend of greenery, killer city views, and re-purposed industrial structures right out of a post-apocalyptic novel (but, like, a playful one).

Fifty years ago, the first parts of the park opened to the public and our mouths have been agape ever since. Let’s go for a stroll.

Kicking some gas

Gas Works’s rusty ruins were once part of a working energy plant. The Seattle Gas Light Company owned the 19-acre site from 1906 to 1956, burning coal and oil to generate gas for the growing region.

After the plant closed, landscape architect Richard Haag thought the space might make a nifty park because of its scenic location. But the grounds were pretty gross after decades of manufacturing, so a lot of detox was required to make it nice again through a process called bioremediation (basically letting microorganisms do the dirty work).

Fab features

Even after getting rid of all that gas trash, not everyone was convinced it was a good idea to retain the plant structures. But Haag had a vision to create a park with character, making it the local landmark we know and love today. The site has:

Status updates

Over a half a century after its debut, Gas Works Park is still making improvements. New grass was planted near the trestles this summer, but the bigger lift will be a $74 million cleanup project that just got rolling. The full plan will be released this fall, with construction planned for 2027.

Hey, maintaining a status as one of the most popular parks in the country takes a lot of Works.