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Leschi’s Jewels-by-the-Lake

Imagine a quiet time on a small piece of green space next to Lake Washington.

The Leschi neighborhood has five of these unique green spaces — public street ends that terminate on the shore of Lake Washington: running along Lakeside Avenue South from the south to the north are the shoreline street ends at South Judkins Street, S Norman St., S Charles St., S Dearborn St., and S King St. — also known as the “Leschi String of Pearls”. They enliven the walk along the Lake from Leschi Park south to I-90. These street ends are maintained mostly by neighborhood volunteers, with some help from neighbors’ gardeners and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) landscape crews.

Each street end has individual character ranging from almost formal to almost nature.

South Judkins shoreline street end is a popular fishing and swimming spot due to its concrete ledge at the water. Unique to S. Judkins is a view of Mt. Baker on a clear day. It has a large soft gravel plaza that makes it attractive for larger groups, and maintenance is currently coordinated by Joyce Moty and Karen Daubert, from the Mt. Baker neighborhood, which worked jointly with Leschi to develop and maintain the area. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) provides additional maintenance.

South Norman shoreline street end is another popular swimming spot for young visitors. It is maintained mostly by the gardener of the neighbor to the north, but requires occasional care by volunteer neighborhood stewards.

South Charles shoreline street end wins the award for charm with its bench in the middle next to shore surrounded by some fine landscape plants. Adjacent neighbors mow the grass, as an obligation for using part of the right-of-way property. Earlier this year, neighborhood volunteers combined with volunteers from Tree Ambassadors (a program sponsored by the City) cleared the areas of overgrowth, blackberries, and ivy.