In a city filled with unique architectural gems and distinctive examples of land use, the Waterfall Garden Park in the Pioneer Square section of downtown Seattle is one of my favorites.
Most of the area, unfortunately, is a wasteland, dangerous at night and just marginal during the day. But this tiny one-third of a block garden was built in 1977 to celebrate the birthplace of the United Parcel Service.
Most people do not know that "Brown" was founded in Seattle. UPS originally served as a delivery service for downtown clothing stores and, curiously enough, for women who needed laudanum, a potent form of opium, to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps.
UPS was formed in Seattle in 1907 by two 19-year old kids with $100 and two bicycles. The company today is ranked #61 on the Fortune 500 list and has 803,000 employees worldwide.
And it all started on this spot, now beautifully marked by an amazing garden in the heart of an urban jungle. The Waterfall Garden Park is more than an oasis, it is a striking example of what can be done with a tiny footprint of land, a brilliant piece of land use that should not be missed.
I shot this video myself on a beautiful afternoon, September 30, 2010. I started outside the park and walked through it and circled around to where I started. My impressions are always the same when going to the Waterfall Garden. What a compelling place to meet a friend, drink a coffee, or just enjoy the sound of the running water and the inspiration it can provide.
For more about the Waterfall Garden, here is an official history of United Parcel Service and a description of the park with more photographs from a Seattle blogger.