South Park Neighborhood

South Park Neighborhood

On the west bank of the Duwamish River approximately 10 minutes south of downtown is the community of South Park, which has the largest Latino population of any Seattle neighborhood.

Once home to Italian and Japanese farmers, the community became more industrial when a Boeing factory opened across the river in the 1930s. In the latter decades of the 20th century, South Park became more ethnically diverse, with the influx of many Latino families.

The commercial district is centered around Fourteenth Avenue S and S Cloverdale Street, and includes Hispanic restaurants, markets and other businesses. The South Park branch library offers an extensive Spanish language collection and bilingual programs.

On the west side of the neighborhood, a small park honors activist Cesar Chavez who championed the rights of farm workers. Nationally recognized artist Jesus Bautista Moroles created a sculpture for the park titled Musical Steles, comprised of three basalt columns which evoke ancient inscribed standing stones, such as those created by the Mayan civilization.

Sea Mar Community Health Center was founded in 1978 in South Park, and now has a statewide network of clinics serving Latinos and people of all ethnicities, especially in agricultural communities. Sea Mar's central offices on S Henderson Street showcase work by local artists. The organization's mission now includes housing and education.

Also on Fourteenth Avenue S, Consejo Counseling and Referral Service has a colorful exterior mural by artist Fulgencio Lazo which includes the organization's logo, a Mayan leader whispering words of wisdom signifying the importance of integrating Latino ancestry and cultural values into contemporary American society.

The Duwamish River Festival in August and Fiestas Patrias in September bring the community together. Visit catchtheculture.com and allaboutsouthpark.com for general info, and southparkarts.org to learn about the local arts scene.

 

Did You Know?

Beloved baseball player Edgar Martinez, who grew up in Puerto Rico, spent his entire 18-year Major League career with the Seattle Mariners. Martinez was inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame in 2003, and has been widely recognized since retirement for his humanitarian work. In 2004, the street south of Safeco Field was renamed in his honor.

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