OLIVE AND Harry Treat arrived in Seattle in 1904 with their two daughters, Priscilla and Loyal. Rumored to be the richest couple in town, they promptly built the mansion that famously survives on Queen Anne Hill’s Highland Drive. Unquestionably cosmopolitan, they had lived in New York, Chicago, Paris and London before choosing to settle in this frontier boomtown.
At 39, Harry, a graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Law School, was an energetic capitalist ready to invest, but not downtown. Instead, he purchased a mix of stump land and forest north of Ballard and named it Loyal Heights, after his younger daughter. In 1907 he built both a trolley line through the saleable land and an alluring “pleasure park” at the end of the line.
Less than two miles after leaving downtown Ballard, the rails reached the line’s terminus at Northwest 85th Street, then the city’s northern border, and 32nd Avenue Northwest. Through its last four blocks, the Loyal Heights Line broke through the addition’s conventional grid by way of the surviving diagonal, Loyal Way Northwest. The terminus featured a loop that enabled the trolley to turn around. This northwest corner of Seattle was 300 feet above Puget Sound, and between it and a fine beach below was the steep virgin land that Treat groomed into Golden Gardens Park.
The park name is signed on the banner at the rear of the trolley, far right. The children posing beside it may include one or both of the Treat daughters. And the driver of the carriage, on the left, may be Treat himself, an avid horseman.
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In more than one posthumous description of Harry Treat as a horseman, it is claimed that “as a tandem and four-in-hand driver he had no superior in the West.” It is a mix of tragedy and irony that he died at the wheel, not the reins. In 1922, while pursuing mining opportunities in Canada, Treat attempted to turn his motorcar around on a narrow mountain road and wound up plunging into a precipice.
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