One of Seattle’s most exclusive neighborhoods, Denny Blaine was named after its developers, Charles L. Denny and Elbert F. Blaine. Denny Blaine lies on Lake Washington between Madrona and Washington Park neighborhoods. C.L. Denny and E.F. Blaine were among some of the first realtors to begin development and plat subdivision in the area although they benefited from an even earlier developer, J.D. Lowman, who first platted Madrona around 1889. While today Denny Blaine and Madrona are a 10 minute drive across city streets to Downtown Seattle, back then the neighborhoods were “way out of town” and only accessible over a few rutted and muddy roads. In order to access the Madrona neighborhood, the realtors of the time developed a park on Lake Washington and a trolley car line from the north side of the park up through the “deep wild canyon” that was described as “one of the most scenic trolley rides to be had in the city.” To this day the #2 Metro bus line runs along the same path (now Madrona Drive) as those trolley cars once did, and the buses still circle and head back up the hill at the north end of Madrona Park.
C.L. Denny and E.F. Blaine benefited from the trolley line since they owned adjacent real estate at the head of the ravine. In 1901, they named their subdivision Denny-Blaine Lake Park and built their realty office along side the cable line. Their real estate office was built with a waiting area for the trolley car as well as place to picnic. To make the wait more enjoyable, they created a small park characterized by a fountain which was named Minerva Fountain, after Minerva Stone Blaine, Elbert’s wife. Today, the waiting area is still used to wait for the bus and children still enjoy “The Duck Pond” where yearly you can find ducks and their ducklings swimming among the lily pads. This park is still referred to by its original name “Denny Blaine Lake Park” although the name has often been confused with the “Denny Blaine Park” which is on Lake Washington. An attempt was made in 1961 to remove the sign and presumably the confusion, but the Park Board decided to leave the sign and the name of the park as it was.
Denny Blaine Park is found at the bottom of a circular drive below Lake Washington Boulevard. Originally, the turnaround street was named Whitman Place, but was later renamed Denny Place when other streets were renamed to allow streets to have consistent names across the city. (Before each develop such as Denny Blaine, Madrona, etc. named their own streets, thus when you left Denny Blaine and then were in Madrona the street name was changed although you were on the same street). At the bottom of the circular street was a seawall where Lake Washington began. When the lake was lowered by 9 feet in 1917 (when Lake Washington was connected to Lake Union and the Puget Sound through canals), it created a private beach area.
Other parks created include a park named after Denny’s wife, Viretta Jackson Denny. Viretta was the daughter of Andrew Jackson, the U.S. President. E.F. Denny was born in Seattle and was the son of two of Seattle’s founders Arthur and Mary Denny. E.F. Denny was a business man and typified the “Seattle Spirit of Growth”. C.L. Blaine initially moved to Seattle to practice law and was Park Commissioner from 1902-1908 and would become known as the “Father of the Seattle Park System”. Denny, along with his wife and Blaine formed the Denny-Blaine Land Company and purchased property in the surrounding area. Dedicating the space to homes and a number of notable parks, Denny Blaine flourished in the 20’s and 30’s and became the home to many of Seattle’s wealthy families and continues to do the same today.