The Leschi Community Council has been an integral part of the community for more than half a century. See our history below for council work done in its early days.
The LCC meets on the first Wednesday of the month September-November and February through June. It may be a formal meeting with a speaker or it may be smaller groups working on a specific task. Meeting details are described on the cover of each month's Leschi News.
Leschi community events
The Leschi Community Council sponsors a few community-wide events each year, but our primary mission is the preservation and maintenance of the many parks within our neighborhood boundaries. We are fortunate to have an abundance of parks and green space for such a small neighborhood. The community has monthly work parties in many of the parks; due to several years of decreased budgets in the Parks Department, maintenance efforts on their part have been mostly confined to Leschi Park. Volunteering is easy; just check the monthly calendar on the website or in the newsletter for date, time and place and then show up.
Flo Ware Day in May or June
Art Walk in September
Halloween Event in October
Holiday Party in December
activities of the Leschi Community Council
Advocates for the Route 27 bus.
Support for Leschi Elementary School
Volunteer tutors to assist Leschi School children
Support for Central Area Senior Center
Inform and educate the community by providing informative programs and monthly meetings
Community cleanups of public areas and stairways
Cultivate relationships between the community and precinct police
Partnership with Leschi waterfront businesses
Preservation of residential character
Monthly Publication of Leschi News
area park maintenance
Preservation of and expansion of greenspace and creation of new parks
Maintenance of String Of Pearls Streetend Shoreline Parks
Maintain plants at the Leschi Natural Area
Ivy removal and planting native plants at Frink Park
Trail Maintenance at Peppi's
frequently asked questions
Where do I get the Leschi News?
The Leschi News is mailed monthly to members of the Leschi Community Council. Members' dues pay for postage and community events. Sign-up for membership on the membership page or send in the membership form on the inside back page of the Leschi News to receive your copy at home and support the work of the Council.
Copies of the Leschi News are available in the community at:
the City Neighborhood Center at Promenade
Sally Goldmark Library
Madrona Laundromat on 34th (between Union & Pike)
Verite Coffee shop at 1101 34th (also Madrona)
current copy in the kiosk in front of BluWater Bistro
How do I get involved?
Contact anyone on the Board or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to join a work party, join a committee or start a committee!
If you would like to contribute to the newsletter please email email@example.com.
Which park is best for a picnic?
Leschi Park has a picnic table and Powell Barnett has picnic tables. Flo Ware Park has a BBQ and small chess tables.
Which Park has a waterfall?
There is a waterfall in Frink Park.
And be sure to check out the parks category on our articles page for more information on all of the amazing parks in the Leschi area.
Where is Kurt Cobain's former house?
Kurt Cobain's house is in Denny Blaine north of Leschi at 171 Lake Washington Boulevard E.
Concerns about housing conditions, schools, lack of playgrounds and traffic lights brought citizens together in an exploratory meeting at the home of the Reverend Shaw (minister from Grace Methodist Church) in late 1958. At the second meeting of this group, the name Leschi Improvement Council, was selected.
The larger mission of the group was the general improvement of the Leschi neighborhood; smaller goals included the pursuit of traffic lights but the larger goal was to participate in Seattle's Urban Renewal Program.
Leschi Elementary School
Powell Barnett was the first president of the LIC. The group soon established itself as an effective lobbying group and many of its initial goals were achieved: 6 new classrooms at Leschi Elementary School, a playground with covered area, a gymnasium and a combination lunchroom/auditorium. New traffic lights were installed along Empire Way (later to be renamed Martin Luther King Jr. Way), Yesler and Jackson.
LIC members worked to preserve the community as single family zoning and met with local realtors to break the redlining practices of those years. The Council was successful in getting the City Parks Board to designate the area used as the track for Garfield High School as a neighborhood park (later known as Powell Barnett Park). Land was added to the east and south of Leschi School as another playground which was named for Peppi Braxton, a popular first grader from Leschi School, who had been killed in a bike/car accident.
Although it seems that LIC met with success after success, many wishes were long in coming and some never materialized. A Community Center had been proposed along with the plans for Peppi's Park but this was not approved by Parks and Leschi still has no community center. The Central Area Senior Center has been an acting community center for the neighborhood with many local groups meeting there on a regular basis.
Flo Ware Park
The LCC continues to support the parks and there has been much in the way of renovation in recent years. The first undertaking was a complete renovation of Flo Ware Park, the small park at 28th & Jackson; many public grants and private donations totaling $500,000 and many volunteer hours resulted in a gem of a park with modern playground equipment, a half basketball court, chess tables and a BBQ.
LCC was involved in the renovation of Powell Barnett Park which now has a destination playground that has been written up in national publications. Citizens lobbied for a safe crosswalk from Powell Barnett Park across MLK Jr.Way where cars tend to exceed the speed limit. That crosswalk is used by families with small children accessing the Park and by high schoolers on their way to and from Garfield High School to the west. Adult exercise equipment was added to the park in 2016.
LCC volunteers helped to install new playground equipment at Peppi's Park and LCC volunteers have created a park out of residential property at 36th & Terrace: the Leschi Natural Area. A dedicated group of volunteers works on Frink Park, pulling out the invasive ivy and planting native plants. A small group of Leschi residents tends the String of Pearls, small pocket parks along Lake Washington where streets end at the lake.
The LCC supported the creation of an after school instrumental music tutoring program at the local elementary school (Leschi). The membership of the LCC voted to split the proceeds of their annual rummage sale 60/40 between the music program and the environmental program at Washington Middle School. Since those small beginnings, the music program grew to include 4 Central Area schools (Leschi, Madrona, Bailey-Gatzert and Thurgood Marshall) and the tutoring has expanded to 2 days per week, This program is now called Seattle Music Partners. In addition to the tutoring, they arrange for visiting musicians to attend the program and play for the students. The students also attend a Seattle Symphony concert each year.
The LCC sponsored an all day hundred year anniversary in Leschi Park in 2009 and a small Arts & Crafts fair in the Park the following year. LCC and the Leschi Business Association collaborated on a successful Art Walk in the business district in 2012. This has become an annual event.
A neighborhood survey has helped to identify the concerns of residents and will help focus the activities of the LCC for the next year 2012-2013. One area of concern continues to be pedestrian safety on Lake Washington Blvd.
leschi area history
This small neighborhood along the shores of Lake Washington was described by an early settler as a "charming place...almost like a country place in the city." Despite its small size and the many changes of the modern world, Leschi can still have that country appeal with its many parks and green hills.
Leschi has undergone many changes since the early settlers supplanted the native peoples. All that remains today as reminders of our Indian heritage is the name taken in honor of the courageous Nisqually leader, Leschi, the native motifs in the walls at Leschi School, the occasional discovery of an arrowhead in Leschi Park and the newly restored Chief Leschi trail in Frink Park, a trail once used by tribe to access the upper reaches of the area and head down toward Elliott Bay.
The Nisqually tribe would set up a summer encampment along the shore to fish and pick berries. These seasonal settlements under tall trees gave way to logging in the latter half of the 19th century. One early settler remembers the sawmill at the lake front; the trees were felled at the top of the ridge and what is now Lake Dell/East Alder was used as a skid road to propel the fallen trees down to the sawmill. The lovely green of today's Leschi had a barren look in those days with severely scalped hills as loggers fed the mill to provide the building materials for a burgeoning city.
Early settlers of Seattle used the Leschi area as a "wilderness" park for picnics and tent camping along the lakeshore. It wasn't until the Yesler cable line was built in 1887, creating an easy commute from the City Center, that Leschi became a suburban site for Seattle. With an amusement park, a zoo, a dance pavilion and a ferry landing, Leschi offered a getaway for city folks. By 1910, Leschi Park was a destination point where strollers in their Sunday best enjoyed the green park and the water views. Boat rentals provided another diversion for city residents.
The ferry service brought Eastside residents to the city as they then boarded the cable car for the ride downtown. Eastside teenagers used this mode of transportation daily to attend a city high school before their high school was built.
As Seattle grew, Leschi seemed less remote. Leschi Elementary School was built in 1909. In the 1920's, the last of the summer houseboats was dragged ashore and converted to year-round residences. Toward the end of the 1930's the cable car service was suspended in favor of a bus that linked Leschi to the city center. The first buses had some difficulty negotiating the steep hills and riders sometimes had to get off and hike the hill to a spot where the bus could safely pick them up again.
Today's families can use Bus #27 to get downtown in 15-20 minutes and the hills seem to present no problems (unless it snows). Families send their children to Leschi Elementary School, then on to nearby Washington Middle School and eventually to Garfield High School to complete their secondary education. A private girls' school, Seattle Girls' School at Jackson and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, offers education through the end of middle school for young girls.
Leschi is still a destination for many city dwellers with its two marinas, its many parks, and waterfront restaurants. Lake Washington cyclists stop for coffee at the local coffee shops and get a snack at the Leschi Market. Walking the neighborhood with its hidden stairways and interesting residential architecture from 19th century to the present can be rewarding.
Visit Leschi for a day to walk the trails, enjoy the views and eat in one of the lakeside restaurants. And if one day is not enough, come here to spend a lifetime.