In the fall of 2018, new wrought iron fences were installed around Volunteer Park’s two lily ponds. These fences make the park safer for children, add an additional Olmstedian touch of aesthetic to the park, and also allow for wildlife’s continued enjoyment of the ponds.
The previous fencing around the North and South Lily ponds were flimsy and insubstantial. They could easily be trampled upon by pets and children, and did little to prevent a child from accessing the ponds. These wiry barriers had been badly battered over time, and easily could be pulled up out of the ground.
These new fences came to fruition thanks to a talented group of volunteers and organizations.
We were awarded a $46,500 Neighborhood Matching Funds grant and matched the grant with $23,250 in donated cash, volunteer time and donated professional services. The generosity of our donors during our 2017 Fall Campaign, combined with a $2,826 donation from Associated Recreation Council, allowed us to meet our match requirements.
Our team of volunteers worked to create a suitable replacement, settling on a thoughtfully designed 28″-high permanent, metal fencing that circles both ponds.
The design was based on current and historical fencing in Olmsted parks. It successfully passed reviews by the City of Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board and its Architectural Review Committee, and was approved by Seattle Parks and Recreation.
We held a public presentation of design at our 2018 Summer Picnic on July 19. Members of the public visited our design booth, asked questions, and saw the final construction drawings for the fences.
The fencing was installed in October 2018 by Ace Iron Works, whose crew hand-forged the iron railings, assembled the fencing sections and installed them around both ponds.
Note the craftsmanship of the gates that blend seamlessly with the fencing!
A safer park
With their beautiful water plants, swimming goldfish, blooming water lilies, and nesting ducks, the north and south lily ponds have always been a delightful attraction for everyone, especially children. In fact, safety issues for children and the ponds have been cited in letters dating back to 1910:
- Read the 1910 letter from Seattle Board of Park Commissioners discussing their concerns.
- Read the 1911 Letter from James Dawson expressing his concerns for the pond safety.
- Read the 1912 Field Note detailing two children who fell over the pond edge.
Thanks to the stewards of the park who donated to our campaign, we were able to deliver a sturdy safety barrier and enhance the park’s refined beauty for all its visitors to enjoy.