Part of Walker Rock Garden site to be redeveloped

Thanks to the neighbors who’ve sent photos, including the one above. Redevelopment has begun on the site that holds part of the Walker Rock Garden, a backyard work of art created more than a half-century ago as a true labor of love (here’s the backstory), east of Fairmount Park.

The original owners are long gone. A decade ago, relatives put the site up for sale, hoping to find a buyer interested in maintaining the rock garden. That time, it didn’t sell. Two years later, they listed it again. No sale that time either. Finally, last fall, the south part of the site was sold to a developer, and a permit was sought for redevelopment with two houses.

When we inquired about the sale and the garden’s status, the family told us, “The Garden, due to time and time’s natural impact on things, has experienced significant deterioration on the rock and structures. Unfortunately, no one was identified who could make the hefty financial and time investments needed to restore and maintain the Garden.” It used to be made available for public visits on Mother’s Day; last one we have record of was in 2014.

The north part of the site still holds the original house, now a rental, and at least some of the rock art. But the Walker Rock Garden’s most-famous feature, the gazebo – seen in the photo above – is on the parcel where the new houses are to be built.

22 Replies to "Part of Walker Rock Garden site to be redeveloped"

  • Alki resident June 1, 2021 (2:13 pm)

    What a shame. I can’t believe this. 

  • Also John June 1, 2021 (2:13 pm)

    It’s inevitable!   Nothing last forever.

  • anonyme June 1, 2021 (3:05 pm)

    So, it sounds like the rock garden will be lost forever.  How convenient. So sad that beauty and hard work have so little value.

  • Bradley June 1, 2021 (3:37 pm)

    Are they planning to demote rental house too?thanks to Sandy for years of care and attention to her father’s work. 

    • WSB June 1, 2021 (4:16 pm)

      It does not have a proposal. When I spoke to the family, they hadn’t decided its longterm fate of that parcel (they still own it and the house and are renting it out).

  • HS June 1, 2021 (3:44 pm)

    I haven’t been. But from the photograph, I wonder if the gazebo could be placed on the site where the stone cottage is being moved. It looks like a stand alone art piece. Again, I have not seen it in person.

    • RayWest June 2, 2021 (7:40 am)

      HS – I think that’s an excellent idea. The gazebo would be an excellent addition to the Alki stone cottage, wherever it is eventually located. Maybe this could be looked into by the group who saved the cottage and some funding could be diverted to move the gazebo.

  • RayWest June 1, 2021 (6:07 pm)

    A shame to see it go but inevitable as “progress” continues to transform West Seattle. There was once a similar, but smaller rock garden called Storybook Pond near my house with a pond and carved fairytale figures, that was close to Fauntleroy and Findley. It was always open and I used to visit it all the time as a kid, filled out the guest book, and would always get a “tour” by the kindly owner. It also fell to development to a “McMansion.”  Not sure anyone remembers it. Sad that these neighborhood “gems” have disappeared.

  • Fairmont June 1, 2021 (6:07 pm)

    Sorry but its pretty ugly in person now, kind of an eyesore. I feel bad for the neighbors. The landowner should be able to build on it.

    • RJ June 1, 2021 (9:03 pm)

      No need to feel bad. It was not an eyesore and most restoration would have been cosmetic. The article is being quite nice to the current relatives, minimal effort was put forth recently to give the property the necessary TLC or to find someone that would put in the necessary TLC. 

    • R0b0 June 2, 2021 (12:37 am)

      If a backyard art garden only visible to nextdoor neighbors maybe? bothers you then sorry for you. Many others have serious neighbor problems and if this quirky garden bothers you I suggest you move to an HOA or retire to Florida. I got to visit once and was left marveling at the artistry and effort. 

      Also who are you? I’ve never seen a post without a name. I question your motives.

  • wseaturtle June 1, 2021 (10:01 pm)

    What?  the city council’s not gonna step in and tell them what to with their own property ? I can’t believe it!  I can’t even cut down my own tree without 2 years of red tape. …sheesh!  But Seriously, we’ve enjoyed visiting the garden thru the years and have many nice pictures and remembrances of it. 

  • Conjunction Junction June 2, 2021 (9:48 am)

    Did anyone have nice pictures from its hey-day?  Can those be added to the SW Historical Society Archive?  Maybe a small part can be donated to the Log House Museum?

    • Eric Scigliano June 6, 2021 (9:37 pm)

      I have photos and a shard I salvaged from demolition that I’ll donate to the museum.

  • Susan L Reed June 2, 2021 (11:39 am)

    While on my neighborhood walks, I enjoy seeing the wisteria bloom all through the large evergreen tree. Not sure if it is planted in the rock garden or next door. 

  • MTHs June 3, 2021 (12:49 pm)

    Not an eyesore except for the family who refused to keep it up. How very sad. But sure, cram two more overbuilt, gray hardieplank structures into that piece of land. 

  • Vanessa June 3, 2021 (2:23 pm)

    So sad. Now the tower is pretty much demolished and sitting on the side of the road.  Does anyone know what happened to the hundreds of geodes that were cut in half to make pathways and sidewalks?

  • K to the F June 3, 2021 (4:00 pm)

    Snapped a photo the other day when, on a walk, we saw the excavators on-site. Today on our walk the gazebo is on it’s side in the parking strip across the street with damage all around. RIP to a lovely curiosity in our neighborhood.

    • RayWest June 5, 2021 (5:14 am)

      Well, that’s that. An unfortunate end to a sad story. This was a part of West Seattle history and it could have been saved. Now it’s gone.

  • anonyme June 4, 2021 (7:20 am)

    You’d think they could at least have tried to save the larger structures, perhaps relocate or donate them.  So sad that beauty and hard work have so little value.  Development wins again.   

  • anonyme June 4, 2021 (7:29 am)

    There are also a lot of lovely, mature plants on-site as well as at least one significant tree.  I suppose all those are being razed as well?

  • Jo David June 9, 2021 (9:27 am)

    Here’s a video I took in 2009…

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