Alki Area - neighborhood map 9 5 7 45 36 4 32
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I lived right across from the water, so I would go home and put my wet-suit on and go wind-surfing almost every night…One time I had come home from work and I heard all this barking. There was a whole gang of sea lions out there, so I thought I’d go and meet ‘em. I went out on my board…there were maybe 15 of them and I think all of them were females except for one who didn’t like me. He threatened me. I got out there and he sort of shot out of the water about two feet from my board and he was baring his teeth, growling at me, and he escorted me all the way back to the beach… John Sabee

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I took the ferry to West Seattle, then the streetcar to 63rd where my aunt and uncle lived in a tent at Rose Lodge. First thing I did was run down to the beach to taste the water. I had never seen so many trees, mountains and water in one place… Dorthea Schutt

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In the 30’s there was lots of farming down on Alki and there was a big meadow down on 63rd. When the circus came to town, they used to take their horses down there and store them on Alki. Up by the junior high school there was a farm, lots of farming. We’d have to walk through those pastures to get to school. Of course we walked to school. There were no buses that we could take because it cost five cents and we didn’t have five cents. Janet Backman

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We had a dingy. We had a small boat on Alki, and when we were children we had a boat about that size with a sail on it. And we would sail over, well before our mother found out what we were doing, sail over to the island [Blake Island] and we’d dig clams, til she had a fit. Then we gave that up. Janet Backman

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The tip end of West Seattle was entirely taken away and used to make Alki Ave all the way from Duwamish Head to the Bonair Station. The tip of that changed the shape of the roadway there. Because of that, there was a pond or a little lake right up on the top of the hill of Duwamish Head. You could look over the top, down to Luna Park. George Shepard

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Yeah, it’s funny — we can change. Buildings can go up, buildings can go down, we can have a big hole in the ground like we do right now, but you know the shoreline is always the same. It’s comforting to see the ocean, I’m talking about Me-Kwa-Mooks Park and down that way, to always look across and see Vashon, to always look southward and beyond. It is always comforting to see that the shoreline is the same. When we have a low tide, it’s a really low tide. You can walk out and see things. When my feet were better, I used to go out with tots, take two and three-year-olds out there. Now that’s a trip! It’s slippery, very slippery, but you can see all kinds of sea life. Sandy Beaucage

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When I grew up, we could go play for the whole day in Schmitz Park and my mom wouldn’t worry… There is a creek in West Seattle that runs through Schmitz Park, and my mom told me when she was a little girl--she was born in 1920 in West Seattle--that [creek] used to go all the way to the beach and it actually had fish in it. Eric Erickson

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I would say the biggest change I’ve seen in West Seattle is all the houses and all the in-filling and all the cars on the road--very bad,changed the rural atmosphere completely. When I was young, down where James Madison School is, there used to be a farmer with a bunch of cows. It was very rural. Janet Backman