Lake Forest Park -- 1912 Promotional Brochure

  • Posted 12/05/1998
  • Essay 9939
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This is the complete text of a promotional brochure written in 1912 by real estate developer Ole Hanson (1874-1940). The brochure extols the wondrous virtues of living in idyllic Lake Forest Park, located along the northern tip of Lake Washington about 10 miles from Seattle. Lake Forest Park was one of King County's first planned suburban communities. Hanson's flair for language and oratory later took him into the political arena: He became mayor of Seattle in 1918. After a failed attempt to run as a dark-horse Republican candidate in the 1920 presidential election, he returned to real estate and went on to develop the community of San Clemente in California.

Lake Forest Park

"This Beautiful Messenger is sent to you to call your wandering attention away from the sordid commercialism of to-day. Forget your schemes for a moment; lay aside your business; let the telephone ring; allow your callers to wait in the ante-room; Read -- Ponder -- and Dream" Ole Hanson

The Home Beautiful

During the past twenty years a desire to own a home surrounded by the natural beauties of forest and stream seems to have been implanted in nearly every man's heart. A quarter of a century ago, when a man became possessed of a fortune, he chose a small lot situate as close as possible to his office, and built thereon a massive pile of stone and granite as bare as the sphinx itself, and with a flourish of trumpets christened it "home." But as time sped on in its never-ending flight, higher and better ideals have come to the home-builder; now this same man seeks a more secluded spot, complete in all its natural environments, situate either on the shore of lake or stream, and builds thereon his home.

Seattle's Progress

While the crowded cities of the East have been expending millions of dollars in the stupendous task of re-foresting and re-parking the waste places surrounding their city which they, in their earlier city life destroyed, a number of Seattle business and professional men formed an association or club to preserve for all time for the benefit of the present and future generations, nearly two thousand acres of land situate directly northeast of the University on the shores of beautiful Lake Washington.

These men remember well when the best residence district in this city was at Ninth and Main Streets; later they saw elegant homes erected on the first hill, only to be later destroyed by having the business and apartment districts surround them. In a couple of years the restrictions on Capitol Hill expire, and even now owners are planning flats, stores, etc., which will, as time goes on, drive out the finer homes. In no part of Seattle today is there any really large district immune from the little corner grocery, the barber shop, the cigar store, etc. The present task of this association of men is the creation of a residential park unequalled in size and unsurpassed in beauty by any other place in the world.

This beautiful new district is christened Lake Forest Park, an apt name for its wide expanse of lake, of primeval trees, and almost tropical fauna.

Nature's Master Hand Will Not Be Dwarfed

While thousands of dollars is being spent in developing the Park; while over thirty miles of boulevards will traverse it; while the best artistic genius that money can hire is in charge of the development work, the strict fiat has gone forth that all the natural beauty must be preserved; that no tree must unwittingly be cut down; that the natural wild flowers must remain; that the streams, the springs, the lake front, the nodding willows, the stately cedar, the majestic fir, the quivering cypress and the homelike maple and all the flora and fauna with which Nature has blessed this lakeshore, must not be defiled by the hand of man.

Hence, for all time to come, the fortunate residents of Lake Forest Park can listen to the wild birds' morning greetings; here the laughing waters will forever make gladsome the hearts of the sylvan dwellers; here for years and years, the business man, wearied by the sordid scenes of commercial and industrial life, will find surcease from worry and care in the magnificent sweeps of forest green and in the vista of beautiful Lake Washington sparkling in the sunshine before him; here the balmy breezes of summer will be laden with the sweet perfumes of flowers and the natural balsam of the woodland will drive away dull care and make life more worth while to the dwellers of this Natureland.

"Seattle Just Grew"

These men say that Seattle was never built, -- "It just grew." Its streets were, and are now, being laid out gridiron fashion; hills over which no goat could climb were accepted by the city officials as streets. As the city grew, houses were built along these precipices. Then street grading began. All over this city, because of the insane and idiotic way of laying streets, beautiful view property was left on a mountain peak and sheltered nooks as beautiful as an artist's dream became cesspools and breeding places for disease.


At Lake Forest Park this can never occur, as the boulevards are now laid out before a home is built, according to the contour of the ground. No straight lines are tolerated. The whole scheme contemplates no deep fills or cuts. Knolls and hills, beautifully rounded by the imperceptible, century creeping of glaciers, will not be ruthlessly destroyed by the Seattle leveling madness. Instead of hydraulicing to make things monotonously level, sinuous boulevards wind on easy grades through the park from the shores of the lake, crossing running streams on rustic bridges, until the last height, some seventy-five feet higher than the highest point on Queen Anne Hill, is reached. Not an eye-straining straight line will mar the surface of the park. Everywhere the boulevards will nestle at the foot of the hills and knolls and follow graceful lines which are Nature's own.

Streams and Springs to be Protected

Several streams traverse this Park; two of which well-known to the anglers of this community, are McAleer and Lyons Creek. These, as well as the beautiful bubbling hillside springs, will be protected from defilement and destruction. Deep green canyons with their streams of silvery waters threading the bottom of the declivities, adorn one section of this land. No earth will be thrown into them to level them. As God made them, so shall they remain to add charm and picturesqueness to this Park. Nowhere in close proximity to a great city can such a wide expanse of Nature's fairyland be found. Think of it! Nearly two thousand acres on the shore of a beautiful lake -- adorned with giant trees, purling brooks, leaf-bowered walks -- all just as God in His almighty wisdom created it. This only four miles from Seattle's limits.

Not Just a Rich Man's Park

This Park is not to be just a playground for the excessively rich; this Park is not to be a place where an half-hundred millionaires will exclude all others. Nay, this Park, beautiful as the God's Mind that conceived and made it centuries before man inhabited the earth, will be the homes of a thousand families. Wealth will not be the passport; but a mutual love of beauty, of home, of Mother Nature, of lowers, of the songs of birds, of the autumn leaves and of the summer zephyr soughing through the forest - these things entitle any one to a home place. Building restrictions will be enforced against shacks, stores, saloons, flats, apartments, road-houses, and everything detrimental to the beauty of the Park or distasteful to its residents.


Numerous playgrounds are already laid out for the amusement of the little ones, and little parks at the intersection of the boulevards, are donated for the use of the public.

Community Beach - - - Good Fishing

Lying on the Western and Northern shores of Lake Washington, extending along its waters for over one-half a mile, the problem of aquatic sports becomes simple. A Community Beach will be dedicated and a Water Park, replete with canoes, row-boats, sailing yachts and motor launches, will be at the service of the residents. Lake Forest Beach is known as the best fishing grounds on the Lake, and 'tis here where the Lake angler will secure his enjoyment. The two trout streams, McAleer and Lyons, are being carefully stocked, so the supply of the finny tribe will not run out.

Esplanade and Boulevards

The county commissioners of King County have almost completed the macadamized boulevard which hooks up with the Park system at Ravenna Park and runs through to Bothell. The contract for macadamizing is now being completed. It is called Lake Forest Boulevard and is as wide as a good sized river and now runs along the lake shore through this Park. The Association conceived the idea of carrying this boulevard two miles through their property so as to connect with the Country Club Boulevard on the west. This was taken up with County Surveyor Morrison, and he has given valuable aid in regard to this project. But a short time and the pleasure-loving people of Seattle will be able to journey north to the Country Club along State Aid Boulevard and then by gentle curves and perfect grades, swing to the eastward through two miles of sylvan beauty, past scores of crystal springs, under archways of magnificent woodlands over the Serpentine and then southwards along the lake shore until they return to the city.

Home Sites

No little city lot, just large enough to be born on, hardly large enough to die on, and not one-tenth of the size fit to live on, is offered for sale. No tract is smaller than one acre; no home site larger than ten acres. We are the exclusive sales and development agents of this Association. Every individual home site will have a beautiful view of Lake Washington, and to each individual home site boulevards are being put in.

We now offer to the public the privilege of purchasing from one to ten acres in Lake Forest Park, with building restrictions which cannot help but make this Park the most beautiful residential district in the world. Our prices are very low; as cheap, in fact, or cheaper than the surrounding land with no building restrictions and no development whatsoever. They will range from $500 and up.

In order that folk who may not have the cash to pay at once may have the opportunity to secure one of these beautiful home sites, we have arranged that but a small payment down is necessary and four years' time can be secured on the balance.

This places it within the reach of almost every home-loving family in the city. Also, the purchaser must not forget that the prices this year are considerably lower than the prices of next year, as we realize that we must give extra inducements in order to start the project aright.

It has been the history of all districts in Seattle and every other city where the shack, the store, the small grocery, etc., could not enter, that the value of the homes and home sites have been increased ten-fold. For instance, Denny-Blaine Park lots were sold for a mere song. Today they are worth thousands. At Interlaken, residence view lots are bringing five thousand dollars or more; two blocks away, in a district free from building restrictions, one may secure a lot for one-fifth of the above amount. The reason is simple: Men desire to live where the surroundings are beautiful and cannot be marred by disagreeable things.

We feel certain that any person who purchases a tract in Lake Forest Park will find an ideal home and would surely be able to re-sell should he ever desire to do so, at a very much advanced price. We ask you to call at our office and see the beautiful colored photographic enlargements by Asahel Curtis and talk with us in regard to this project. If you understand our plans, we know you will become a purchaser.

Ole Hanson & Co.,
314-315-316-317 New York Block
Seattle, Washington

Any Customer
State Bank of Seattle

Any Business Man in King County

Our Attorneys,
Bausman and Kelleher


Ole Hanson, "Lake Forest Park," 1912, Shoreline Historical Museum, Shoreline, Washington.

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