Sketched March 9, 2020

Magnificent rhododendron trees arch over the main entrance to Parsons Gardens, a tiny park on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill that has taken me years to notice.

This little urban oasis on the westernmost end of West Highland Drive, not far from better-known Kerry Park, can easily be mistaken for another secluded front yard of the impressive residences that line the street. In fact, it was once part of the estate of Reginald and Maude Parsons, a prominent Seattle family whose children gifted the lot to the city.

Unlike the gardens, the Betty Bowen Viewpoint across the street is impossible to miss. It offers unobstructed views spanning from Alki Beach to Magnolia and beyond.

Both Betty Bowen and Maude Parsons were notable patrons of the visual arts. Back in the 1920s, Parsons was a founding member of the Seattle Fine Arts Society, a precursor to the Seattle Art Museum, and Bowen was the museum’s assistant director in its early years.

I’d like to think they’d appreciate seeing these special Seattle places that honor their legacies rendered with good old-fashioned sketches.