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This is one of the crown jewels of Seattle's Olmsted park and boulevard system. The Board of Park Commissioner brought John Charles Olmsted, of the Olmsted Brothers, Landscape Architects firm to Seattle in 1903 to design a park system to provide open space for the city and to help guide development in the rapidly growing city. In his first comprehensive plan, Volunteer Park served as the central park of the system because of its location close to downtown.
On the eastern side of the park, paths looped around the concert grove and connected the interior of the park with the streetcar stop at 15th Avenue East and East Prospect Street. Large lawns surrounded by planting beds and groves of trees filled the interior. Multi-layered plantings filled planting beds on the perimeter of the park on the east, south, and west, to buffer the park from the city beyond its borders.
On the western side of the park, the landscape featured lawns and more wooded areas. A carriage drive looped down the slope and around the reservoir connecting with the concourse drive at its northern and southern ends.
The northern edge of the park is largely reserved for the work areas of the park. The caretaker's cottage, the greenhouses, and other facilities are located along the northern fence line. The conservatory was added in 1912, built from a kit purchased from the Hitchings Company of New York.
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