In honor of Lynnwood’s 60th birthday, the city celebrated the installation of a new playground at Heritage Park — the perfect gift, city officials said, to a city known for its many parks
The park ribbon-cutting ceremony earlier this week recognized the 60 years since Lynnwood’s incorporation. Heritage Park located at 19921 Poplar Way, serves as the heart of Lynnwood’s history.
The new playground behind the Wickers Building will not only benefit Heritage Park but also the surrounding neighborhoods, said Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith.
“Heritage Park continues to be an amazing historic and cultural resource for our community,” she said. “The addition of this fabulous playground enhances the uses and number of visitors to our park.”
Lynnwood was incorporated on April 20, 1959. At that time, the surrounding area of Alderwood Manor was a planned community created by Puget Mill Company, which logged the land. Alderwood Manor had a 30-acre demonstration farm, which included a chicken hatchery and taught potential residents how to earn a living farming and raising chickens on their own 5-acre farm. Soon, Alderwood Manor was one of the country’s largest producers of chicken eggs.
In 1960, five years after Lynnwood’s incorporation, Alderwood Manor tried and failed to become its own city and the land was annexed to Lynnwood.
The new Heritage Park playground features a play structure that is designed to reflect the surrounding natural scenery, with tree-shaped carvings and a climbing structure in the form of an oak tree log. In honor of the chicken farms Lynnwood was originally known for, the park also includes a sit-and-spin and playground rocker designed to look like a chicken. The park was developed as a joint effort between the city and its partners — the Lynnwood Parks and Recreation Foundation and the Elizabeth Ruth Wallace Foundation.
Elizabeth “Bette” Ruth Wallace (née Stadler), the namesake of the foundation financing the park installation, moved with her family from Montana to Alderwood Manor in 1928. She attended Alderwood Grade School and after graduating from Edmonds High School in 1942, worked and traveled with the U.S. Army as a civilian. When she died in 2016, a trust was established in her name for charities and other worthy causes.
Wallace’s niece is Lynnwood-Alderwood Manor Heritage Museum President Cheri Ryan, who serves as a foundation trustee. Ryan said she and her family choose causes dear to her late aunt’s heart. The Lynnwood Parks and Recreation Foundation was one.
“A park needs a playground,” Ryan said. “On behalf of Aunt Bette and the Stadler family, we’re very happy to have a playground here at Heritage Park.”
The playground is first of several projects to be financed by a $500,000 donation from the trust to the Lynnwood Parks and Recreation Foundation, Ryan said. Other projects include renovations to the Heritage Park water tower and an “I Love Lynnwood” iconic sign near the Lynnwood Convention Center. The donation will also finance grants for school field trips to Heritage Park so students can learn about Lynnwood’s rich history.
“We’re trying to think of things that meant something to her,” Ryan said. “She’d be thrilled.”
Check out some photos of the early years of Lynnwood below.
–Story and photos by Cody Sexton