Burien Washington - Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services

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Dottie Harper Park
SW 146th and 4th Ave. SW
3.5 acres

Dottie Harper Park is nestled adjacent to the Burien Community Center. The Park was once the site of Burien’s annual Strawberry and Arts Festival. It abounds with mature second-growth firs, with a few scattered cedars, hemlocks, and native hardwoods. Sword ferns, salal, snowberry, oceanspray, red elderberry, Oregon grape, and other native species dominate the undergrowth.

Dottie Harper and the Early History of the Park
The following history is an abridged text. For more information, view the full document.

Dottie Harper Park lies on land originally tamed by Homer Crosby, who came to the Highline area in 1907. Crosby laid down Crosby Road (SW 146th St.) from Ambaum to First Ave. South. He also helped build Ambaum Rd.

Dottie Harper was Burien’s “Betsy Ross, chief promoter, publicity agent, school and civic planner and representative.” She was a tireless community activist, member of the State Arts Commission, King County Arts Commission, and Historic Preservation Board, co-chairman of the Seahurst Park Committee, chairman of the Burien Bi-centennial Committee, City of Burien Councilmember and Chairman of its Arts Committee. All such activity was a voluntary, full-time pursuit.

As a young woman, Dottie attended a missionary school in Shanghai - her father was a Marine Corps officer - and high school and college in California. She excelled in arts and crafts at San Diego State College, receiving so many requests to design and sew clothing that she went into business for herself.

Dottie and her husband Paul settled near Lake Burien in 1949. Mrs. Harper worked with park boards to create more small parks, helping to get a park bond passed which funded Moshier Park. She led the fight to save Miller Creek from uncontrolled Highway 509 construction, helped found Highline Community College and the community’s first arts gallery.

Continue on to learn about how art became the focus in Dottie Harper Park.

14700 6th Avenue SW   /  Burien, WA 98166  /  Ph: (206) 988-3700  /  Fax: (206) 243-2784
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Community Center Hours: Monday - Thursday 8:30 am to 8:00 pm and Friday 8:30 am to 5:00 pm