While walking our new pup around Wapato Lake in an effort to socialize him, I found one of the Park’s original entrances off of Wapato Lake Drive. Pup and I had taken the long way around the lake, crossing a narrow bridge and passing the largest field of cat tails that I’ve ever seen. We came out of the minor upper lake path to the site of two entry markers that said “Built by WPA”. The history of Wapato Lake is very interesting and can be found here.
Dear daughter, her dear friend and I were looking for relieve from the heat on June 5 and we decided on a beach. Dear daughter suggested that beach where one goes on a footbridge over the railroad station. So after my online community and I figured out where that was, Salter’s Point at 91 Champion St. in Steilacoom, off we went. The footbridge is now a steep metal affair with gates on both sides of the stairs. It was constructed in 2014 after the prior wooden bridge was damaged and closed. About 60 trains a day pass along the tracks.
I was expecting to find some natural beauty, relief from the heat and perhaps a couple of small crabs. And indeed I found all that, but I also found an interesting history.
The covered picnic area built in 1939 as part of the Federal Works Progress Administration (WPA). Per Wikipedia the WPA “was the largest and most ambitious American New Deal agency, employing millions of unemployed people (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. In a much smaller but more famous project, Federal Project Number One, the WPA employed musicians, artists, writers, actors and directors in large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects.”
The remains of a marina and store is located at the southerly end of the park. The property was destroyed by fire in 2009. The fire commanded the attention of three fireboats and more than 50 firefighters from eight fire departments. In 1987 there was a homicide at the store (Wang’s Maritime Marina); two teens killed the store’s owner. In close proximity to the marina ruins was the Soundview Inn and Boathouse, which was a boardinghouse with family style meals. They also had boat rentals.
The site of the Deep Sea Aquarium is also located at Salter’s Point. It was constructed by Ed Bair, brother of Bair (Bair Drugstore). The aquarium featured an extensive collection of sea life including a seal that lived under the porch where it could swim depending on the tide. The aquarium was promoted all over the western states, but closed in the 1930s.
Here are some interesting articles about the location.
Today’s new place of the day is Lincoln-Eldridge Park in Tacoma. Until today, I hadn’t realize that the park had partially been developed by the Workers Progress Administration (WPA) and that part of the original park had been given to the Tacoma School District for the construction of the Lincoln Bowl.