Courage. Connection. Inspiration. Inclusiveness. Legacy.
The greatest source of strength in the Mt. Baker community comes from the crossroads of Rainier Avenue and Empire Way (Martin Luther King Jr. Way). Underpinned by the Olmsted brothers plan for interconnected parks and greenways intended to unite the Mt. Baker “City on the Hill” valley floor, and beyond, the crossroads have been party to some of Seattle’s greatest moments, and most profound heroes. The crossroads are home to two of Seattle’s prolific baseball stadiums and literally have set the stage for performances from two of the greatest music legends. On the other side of the crossroads, Franklin High School has a legacy of producing alumni that, with the support of the community, overcame deeply challenging circumstances and changed the world. Businesses here, too, have a long, richly diverse legacy.
Best known for designing Central Park, the Olmsted brothers worked in Seattle for 34 years, designing 37 parks and playground connected by beautiful boulevards. The Olmsted Mt. Baker legacy includes Mt. Baker, Frink, and Seward Parks, Lake Washington boulevard, Mt. Baker Boulevard, Cheasty Boulevard and Cheasty Greenspace. Their work also includes an unfinished plan to link Lake Washington to Beacon Hill by greenways.
Mt. Baker Community Club
Established in 1909, the nonprofit Mount Baker Community Club is said to be one of the oldest continuously active community clubs in the United States.
For over 100 years, the clubhouse has served as a gathering place for neighbors to come together and build community, regularly hosting activities and serving as a forum for neighborhood discourse. Membership is extended to all those th
at live, work or play here, and no dues are required.
Franklin High School
Franklin High School is one of two major anchors at the Mt. Baker crossroads. In addition to creating legends, the building is itself legendary. A Franklin High scale model was featured at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair as “the most beautiful school in the northwest.” A few of its most remarkable alumni are listed below.
Nurtured and encouraged at the crossroads, African American and Native American Bryce Taylor was a football star at Franklin High. He earned a scholarship to the University of Southern California where, in 1925, he became USC’s first All-American football player. He also went on the become the first African American head coach at any Los Angeles high school. Further, he achieved these things-and more- as an orphan born without a left hand.
Best known as Charlie Chaplin’s “Number One Son”, and “Master Po” on the original Kung Fu series, Keye Luke was born in China and emigrated to Seattle as a boy. He attended Franklin High where his talents as an artist were encouraged, and illustrated the TOLO yearbook single-handedly his senior year. Though he intended to be an architect, Luke went ot Hollywood to design movie posters when he was “discovered” as an actor. A founding member of the Screen Actors Guild in 1933, Luke has a star on the Walk of Fame.
Fred Hutchinson and his brother Bill were both gifted athletes at Franklin High School. Fred became one of Seattle’s first professional baseball superstars, and came back to manage the Seattle Rainiers. Bill played sports at the University of Washington, but chose to become a doctor. When Fred died of cancer at an early age, Bill devoted his life to developing the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, considered one of the best in the world.
Dugdale Park and Sick’s Stadium
The current site of the Lowe’s was once the location of both Dugdale Park Jimi-hendrix-04(1913), and Sick’s Stadium (1934), which brought community together at the Mt. Baker crossroads. Home to the Seattle Indians and Seattle Rainiers baseball teams, the location also set the stage for some of the greatest legends the world has ever known.
Baseball legend Babe Ruth took Seattle by storm, and famously hit three home runs at Dugdale Park during a single game in 1924.
Rainier Valley native, music legend Jimi Hendrix as a frequent visitor to the Mount Baker crossroads. In 1970, he played his last Seattle show at Sick’s Stadium, just two months before his tragic death.