About Lake Forest Park
Lake Forest Park is a city in King County, Washington, United States, just north of Seattle. A bedroom community by design, most of the city consists of single-family housing on medium to large-sized lots, with an emphasis on retaining the natural features of the landscape. Less than 4% of the city land is zoned commercial; most of that is in one location, and there are no industrial areas.
Lake Forest Park has lakefront and lakeview residential property, assorted parks and nature preserves, convenient access to the Burke-Gilman Trail, a summertime farmer’s market, and a large new and used bookstore / food court holding frequent musical events. The population was 12,598 at the 2010 census.
Lake Forest Park was founded in 1912 by Ole Hanson and A.H. Reid as one of the Seattle area’s first planned communities. Envisioned as a picturesque retreat for professionals, the developers planned roads and lots in strict consideration for natural landmarks. The original prospectus for lot sales declared:
…the strict fiat has gone forth that all the natural beauty must be preserved; that no tree must unwittingly be cut down; that the natural wild flowers must remain; that the streams, the springs, the lake front, the nodding willows, the stately cedar, the majestic fir, the quivering cypress and the homelike maple and all the flora and fauna with which Nature has blessed this lakeshore, must not be defiled by the hand of man.
Until 1914 and completion of the Red Brick Road (now Bothell Way, part of State Route 522) to nearby Kenmore and Bothell, it also marked the literal end of improved roads heading north from Seattle, with best access to points further north and east being by boat across Lake Washington or the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway.
Lake Forest Park officially incorporated on June 20, 1961, in large part to help maintain its specific identity in the face of increasing local development pressing north from Seattle. The town remained small – under 5,000 in population – until the 1990s, when a series of annexations expanded city borders significantly and more than doubled the official population.
The city has no public lake access. The 3/4 acre Lyon Creek Park was created in the late 1990s on land purchased by the city in 1998, but forbids access to the water. For the prior fifty years, the lot had belonged to Marcia and Robert Morris, who had built a modernist home and a horse stable on the property. Both buildings were torn down as part of the park conversion, which also included replanting the park with 5,000 native shrubs and plants. The replanting portion of the project involved the labor of hundreds of citizen volunteers.
Lake Forest Park Towne Centre, the city’s commercial core, was built in 1964 and hugs Bothell Way on the eastern border of town, not far from the lakeshore. In late 2005, city government began holding public meetings to discuss whether and how to improve this small area in order to develop a higher-density pedestrian-friendly shopping and residential hub. The decision was made to renovate Lake Forest Park Towne Centre and it now spans 18 acres and offers many shopping and dining options along with entertainment and serves as a community center for the city.
Lake Forest Park is situated at the north end of Lake Washington. The city’s southern boundary begins at the city limit of Seattle. To the north, Lake Forest Park ends at the Snohomish county line, where the adjacent towns of Mountlake Terrace and Brier border it. To the east, the city is bounded by Lake Washington and at 55th Avenue NE where the city of Kenmore begins; the Burke-Gilman Trail runs in parallel to the lake shore, following the shoreline into Kenmore to the north, and Seattle to the south. The city’s western boundary is at the City of Shoreline’s city limit, mostly following 25th Avenue NE.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.7 square miles (9.5 km²), of which, 3.5 square miles (9.2 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (3.28%) is water, much of which consists of shoreline and streams. The two largest streams are Lyon Creek and McAleer Creek, both of which provide habitat for salmon. The shoreline includes two access points to Lake Washington, aside from private homes; they are both private beach clubs.
- Horizon View Park
- Pfingst Animal Acres Park
- Eagle Scout Park
- Blue Heron Park
- Grace Cole Nature Park
- Lyon Creek Waterfront Park
Grace Cole Nature Park through the seasons, 2006-2008
Lake Forest Park Town Centre forms the city’s commercial core. This one complex – originally built as a suburban mall – includes the public library, police department, town hall, and approximately 40 shops, small businesses, and medical/professional offices. It is home to Shoreline Community College‘s Lake Forest Park satellite campus, and the location of Third Place Commons, a large public space occupying much of the central building’s upper level, and which serves as the city’s social spaces core. In the summer, this same complex hosts a large outdoor farmer’s market. Until late 2007, the city was also served by a finance unit post office in the same compex, the functions of which have since been moved to nearby Shoreline.
Residential neighborhoods include:
- Horizon View, in the northeast corner of the city, is characterized by its proximity to Horizon View Park, the highest point in Lake Forest Park. The park sits atop a small plateau, approached by several steep hills. Half of the “train park”, as some local youth refer to it, is the park, which was improved between 2001 and 2003 with a trail extension, field upgrades and a new playset. The other half is a reservoir. They hold recreational sports in the park.
- Sheridan Beach/Heights, in the southeast corner of the city, is characterized by its proximity to the Sheridan Beach Club, to which its residents have access for a fee of a few hundred dollars annually.
As of the census of 2000, there were 13,142 people, 5,029 households, and 3,600 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,716.2 people per square mile (1,433.4/km²). There were 5,168 housing units at an average density of 1,461.4 per square mile (563.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.32% White, 1.64% African American, 0.43% Native American, 7.94% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 0.92% from other races, and 3.64% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.24% of the population.
There were 5,029 households out of which 31.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.1% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.4% were non-families. 21.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 2.97.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.4% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 26.6% from 25 to 44, 31.5% from 45 to 64, and 13.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 97.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $74,149, and the median income for a family was $84,316. Males had a median income of $53,164 versus $39,531 for females. The per capita income for the city was $33,419. About 1.3% of families and 3.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.3% of those under age 18 and 2.2% of those age 65 or over. Based on per capita income, one of the more reliable measures of affluence, Lake Forest Park ranks 27th of 522 areas in the state of Washington to be ranked.
Of the city’s population over the age of 25, 21.1 percent have a graduate or professional degree, 51.1 percent (vs. a national average of 24 percent) hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, and 93.2 percent (vs. 80 percent nationally) have a high school diploma or equivalent according to the census of 2000.
There are two public schools (Brookside Elementary and Lake Forest Park Elementary) which are served by the Shoreline School District.