“A picturesque trail marries Ravenna and Cowen Parks”
Ravenna Park is a ½ mile wooded ravine which connects two picnic areas just north of the University District, and is a popular spot for hiking, jogging and picnics. Park features include a play area for children, a wading pool, ballfield, trails, and tennis courts. The Ravenna Park ravine was formed when melt-off from the Vashon Glacial Ice Sheet formed Lake Russell and cut drainage ravines through new glacial fill. Lake Russell disappeared when the Ice Sheet retreated north of the Straits of Juan de Fuca, but various features remained, including the Green Lake drainage basin, which continued to empty through the Ravenna ravine into Lake Washington. The deeper pockets of the basin became Bitter, Haller and Green Lakes. Many creeks and brooks and springs fed into Green Lake, whose outlet was on the east side of the route of Ravenna Boulevard, in a deepening ravine which became Cowen and Ravenna parks. If Ravenna seems a leafy paradise now, it is only a weed patch compared with the magnificent forest it once was. Even after the original logging craze had leveled most of the virgin timber in the Seattle area, Ravenna had been saved as a haven for fir and cedar giants. W. W. Beck, the realtor who bought the land in 1887, was ecstatic when wandering among these trees. He named the place "Ravenna" after an Italian seacoast town that was famous for its pine trees, where poets, warriors, and statesmen once strolled in a state of euphoria similar to his own. The city acquired the Ravenna land in 1911.
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