The String of Pearls refers to a series of mini parks along Lake Washington at the end of east/west streets that run right to the lake. This project was the dream of a small group of residents who thought these areas would make great viewing and or/resting spots for walkers, runners and cyclists.
It was public land but initial attempts to get permission to open them up to the public met with contention; many adjacent homeowners had begun using this land and didn't feel comfortable having it open to the public.
Finally after a decision by the Washington State Supreme Court, the Appeals Board unanimously upheld the project in May 1995 and granted the permits. Work began on the sites that fall.
Since Leschi developed its street ends, other communities in Seattle and Mercer Island have taken advantage of the law and developed their street ends. These mini-parks are called Shoreline Street Ends and a map of all the developed sites can be seen on the Seattle Dept. of Transportation's website. Even with the proliferation of these developed street ends, SDOT estimates that 2/3 of the potential shoreline Street Ends are still overgrown, encroached and undeveloped for public use.
Leschi's Shoreline Street Ends are not parks in the usual sense; there are no picnic facilities, restrooms or parking access. They are considered accessible by foot or bicycle and meant for brief respites of viewing or resting.
Leschi's Shoreline Street Ends are at Jackson, King, Dearborn, Charles and Norman. The Charles site has a bench and is one of the nicer sites with landscaping and upkeep provided by one of the adjacent homeowners.
Mini park locations along Lake Washington
South Main Street
South Jackson Street
South King Street
South Dearborn Street
South Charles Street
South Norman Street
South Judkins Street