Lincoln Park is one of the better documented beaches on Puget Sound, although much of what was written is now 25 years old. And apparently, this is the first time I've included it in the blog. A good reminder that there are just too many beaches.
The south beach is the main story here. During the 1930s, the WPA built the stone bulkhead (now largely buried) and the promenade. Over the next few decades, the beach eroded and dropped in elevation and by the 1970s the wall had been repaired many times. Old photos show the beach far below the top of the wall. When Seattle approached the Corps of Engineers for help, the Corps proposed beach nourishment. Resource agencies pushed back - the idea of burying the beach under fill was unthinkable (they preferred the idea of a riprap apron at the toe of the wall).
Fortunately, nourishment won out over riprap. The initial placement in 1988 was large - something like 80,000 cubic yards - but the few subsequent renourishments have been much smaller. And despite some wrinkles along the way, I think the overall project remains a big success story. I think it was critical in reshaping the opinions of the agencies about the potential value of nourishment. This was also because monitoring, required of the original project, led to some good early work on Puget Sound beach biota and their response to seawalls and nourishment.
Wolf Bauer, who had been advocating and building gravel beaches on Puget Sound for more than a decade before the work at Lincoln Park, was a bit skeptical of the design. He had some valid gripes (the berm was too high, for one, so it immediately developed a large scarp), but I suppose he also just sort of enjoyed poking the Corps (don't we all?).
Most folks walking the beach last Sunday (the last day of winter), probably had no idea of the beach's history. I don't recall if the park has any interpretive signs showing the 1930s construction or the engineers standing below the towering bulkhead in the 1970s.
There's more about Lincoln Park - it's relationship with the sandier Fauntleroy Cove to the south, the asymmetry of the north and south beaches, and the heavily developed shoreline to the north of the Park along Beach Drive (which is also the story of the uplifted terrace of the Seattle Fault). Maybe another time.