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Originally constructed as the carriage house for the the residence that is currently the oldest structure in West Seattle, this building now serves as the home of the local historical society museum. There is currently no entrance fee for visiting, and it is a fairly small facility with historical displays taking up the main entry room.
The Alki Peninsula was the home of the first effort at a permanent settlement in the Seattle area, but eventually it was abandoned in favor of what is now downtown Seattle. The current community got its start around 1904. The building which houses the museum was part of the first homestead, but started life as the carriage house rather than as an actual residence.
Displays include a smattering of a wide variety of material from local history, starting with Native American artifacts and working forward to fairly recent times. The variety is extensive, but the quantity of items is not huge.
They have a video that describes the early interaction between the local Duwamish natives and the first American settlers, and other aspects of the early settlement life. This video tape has some interesting insights, as not only does it feature a standard-issue historian talking of the white settlers perspective, it also features a current member of a local tribe describing their perspective of the white settlers. For example, the European settlers could not stand the way the Native settlements smelled, among other things due to all the fish. Natives could not stand the way American settlements smelled, among other things due to all the horrible smelling cheese. Considering that both communities had sanitary habits that would be questionable to modern eyes, and required a lot of physical effort just to live there, it is doubtful that the modern visitor would want either life.
Some of the displays do change from time to time, and therefore it may be useful to check the web site to see if there are displays that you are particularly interested in seeing during your visit.
I have a separate tip about the Log House Museum Gift Shop which is located mostly in the back room of the museum, though there are some items towards the front door.
The museum is currently open Thursday through Sunday, 12 to 4.
Updated Oct 3, 2010
Address: 3003 61st Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116
For many years, this was the popular beach day trip for many living in Seattle. It is still a crowded place in the summer months.
It is a fairly simple park with a beach, plus trees and benches and picnic tables. You can expect typical beach activities here.
A wide concrete pathway runs along the edge of the shore between the beach itself and the carefully tended grass and picnic areas.
There is at least one covered picnic shelter than can be reserved.
The beach is fairly narrow, and gets even more narrow during high tide.
Much of the beach is made up of small stones rather than sand, and you will also find that driftwood tends to collect here pretty heavily.
This park also contains the Alki Beach Art Gallery and the Statue of Liberty Plaza.
Updated Nov 30, 2009
Address: Alki Avenue between 53rd and 65th
Yes, West Seattle features a miniature version of the statue of liberty. It was unveiled on September 6, 2008.
Funds for the plaza surrounding the statue were partially raised by selling the bricks. You will notice names on the bricks, as well as memorials to other events, groups, and other items people wished to memorialize.
"You inspire me."
"Love of my life."
"West Seattle High School Class of 1944"
A few of the bricks are larger, and feature famous quotes. For example:
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin, 1759"
The plaza features planters and benches around the outside edge. The statue looks out to "sea" (into Puget Sound) in a mostly northerly direction.
Updated Nov 30, 2009
Address: 61st Avenue SW and Alki Avenue SW