Saint Edward State Park

14445 Juanita Drive NE

Saint Edward State Park entrance, Kenmore, August 15, 2011, photo by Steven Pavlov (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Saint Edward Seminary (now Lodge at Saint Edward), Kenmore, Courtesy Kenmore Heritage Society
Lodge under rennovation, Saint Edward State Park, Kenmore, September 21, 2020, Kenmore Heritage Society photo by Suzanne Greathouse
Trail, Saint Edward State Park, Kenmore, September 21, 2020, Kenmore Heritage Society photo by Suzanne Greathouse
Grotto, Saint Edward State Park, Kenmore, September 21, 2020, Kenmore Heritage Society photo by Suzanne Greathouse
Playground, Saint Edward State Park, Kenmore, September 21, 2020, Kenmore Heritage Society photo by Suzanne Greathouse

14445 Juanita Drive NE

Located on the eastern shore of Lake Washington, surrounded by low forest and lawns, Saint Edward State Park sits on the traditional territory of several Native American tribes. The 1830s brought disease to the area and the native population was severely diminished. In the early 1900s, the Lake Washington Ship Canal, created to link Lake Washington to Seattle and Lake Union, lowered the lake’s water level by 9 feet, further decimating native populations. The area was later used for logging and, after the land had been cleared, for farming.

Amidst the sprawling grounds, lapping lakeshore and verdant footpaths, you’ll find a place steeped in Northwest history. The large brick building was the first successful Catholic seminary in the Pacific Northwest and the first accredited Catholic seminary university in the United States. Envisioned and financed by Seattle’s first bishop, Edward O’Dea, and designed by famed architect John Graham, the remarkable edifice was constructed in 1931 and served students until 1976.

These days, Saint Edward State Park bursts with modern life. Kids enjoy unstructured fun on the grass fields and playground equipment, kayakers cruise Lake Washington, and hikers and mountain bikers take to the trails. You may take a contemplative stroll to the quiet Grotto, a river-rock alcove that has become a popular wedding spot. If you’re looking for a picnic site close to Seattle, you’re in the right place. Relaxing on the grass or at a picnic table, you’ll be struck by the play of the afternoon light on the classic old building.

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