From Logging to Picnics
Norm and Georgianna Fragner purchased the site from a logging outfit and opened Norm's Resort in 1942, when Cottage Lake was still a lightly populated rural area. They operated the resort until 1979, and the sign for its bait shop, "Norm's Got Worms," became a local landmark.
It was an early picnic and swimming area, and many Woodinville-area residents learned to swim at Norm's Resort. In addition, the resort hosted community, family, and office picnics, and large summertime concerts. Norm Fragner presented signs advertising the resort to all customers, and Woodinville residents reported seeing Norm's Resort signs as far away as Alaska and the Arizona-Mexico border.
After Fragner's death, the resort was sold to American Adventures, which built an outdoor swimming pool and operated the property as a members-only recreational vehicle park. King County was able to acquire the property in 1991 after the company went bankrupt. The County purchased the former resort with funds from an open space bond issue approved by voters in 1989.
Although the purchase was announced in 1991, the park was not opened to the public until 1992, following repairs to some buildings and removal of concrete recreational vehicle pads. Further work on the park was delayed when it was discovered that most of the 22 acres were wetlands, resulting in a long wait for needed permits.
Audrey Gruger (d. 2010), the County Council member who represented the area at the time and led the effort to acquire the park, advocated that the park be passive. However, many community members disagreed, and formed the Cottage Lake Area Council to advocate for more active development. Louise Miller, elected to the Council seat in 1993, led the change from a passive park plan to an active one.
Once permits were obtained, the renovation of Cottage Lake Park got underway in August 1997. The project added a new fishing pier, a trail system including a boardwalk through the wetlands area, a new picnic shelter, a children's play area, and restrooms. The work also included restoration of Daniels Creek through the park, renovation of a house built by Norm Fragner, improvements to the swimming pool, and resurfacing the outdoor basketball court.
Council member Louise Miller attended the May 28, 1999, dedication ceremony celebrating the park's reopening, along with King County Executive Ron Sims and Woodinville Mayor Don Brocha. Miller was presented a plaque honoring her for her work supporting the park. When she retired from the County Council in December 2001, the Council renamed the park's administration/pool building the Louise Miller Pavilion.