From our friends at WABI Burien:

We can cross the Peter Western Bridge again!
This Sunday, January 3, starting a NEW YEAR!

The Peter Western Bridge in northeastern Burien was damaged in February of 2017, subsequently rebuilt, and just reopened on December 21, 2020. (See construction pictures and READ MORE on The B-Town Blog.) Because the bridge has been closed, we haven’t been on this walk since April of 2016.

New Peter Western Bridge Dec 2020

Peter WesternWho was Peter Western?

“Peter Western was from a pioneer family who settled in the Duwamish Valley where Peter was born in 1883,” Researcher Karen Portzer said (via Maiya Andrews and Emily Inlow-Hood at the City of Burien). “He died in 1954.” Western was a farmer, and he also owned a battery repair store in Boulevard Heights. He married Olive Avenell in Nov., 1911, and fathered three children: John Henry Western (1912-1978), Donald Hovel Western (1916-1993), and William Avenell Western (1918-1988). Western resided at 11837 25th Ave S., and his son Donald appears to have lived at 2400 S. 118th, which is near the bridge. (READ MORE here.)

People who live in stone houses shouldn’t throw glass.

Why do we want to cross the bridge? To see one of the three stone houses nearby! 
Long ago, at the north edge of Burien, there were people building some very distinctive homes with stones and pebbles. Start this New Year on the January Stone House Walk-n-Talk to marvel at three stone wonders and cross over the new bridge. This month’s walk will take us into the Boulevard Park and Hilltop neighborhoods (starting at Boulevard Park Library and walking past Hilltop Elementary).

    • Date: Sunday, January 3, 2021 (Rain or shine. Give your rain gear and umbrellas a workout.)
    • Time: 2:00 meet-up. Walking starts at 2:15
    • Who: Walkers of every level and ability, plus friendly, four-legged friends
    • Place: Meet in front of the Boulevard Park Library, 12015 Roseberg Ave S, Burien, WA 98168. If you’d like to carpool from Burien Town Square, please send an email to [email protected] to make arrangements.
    • Distance: About 1.3 miles, round trip. This is a shorter walk than usual, but there’s more of a slope to the land. Please print out a copy of the map (below) if you’d like one as we’re walking.

Masks/face coverings are required, and we will walk while maintaining social distance.

Click on the photos to enlarge them for a better view:

Hamel Stone house at 11650 Roseberg Ave. S. Built in 1945

Hamel Stone house at 11650 Roseberg Ave. S. Built in 1945

Detail of the Hamel Stone house. Built in 1945. Note the “cut stone” blocks alternating with the “round pebble” blocks.

Detail of the Hamel Stone house. Built in 1945. Note the “cut stone” blocks alternating with the “round pebble” blocks.

Even the mailbox of the Hamel house on Roseberg Ave. S. is decorated to mimic the house.

Even the mailbox of the Hamel house on Roseberg Ave. S. is decorated to mimic the house.

Multicolored, stone block house at 2434 S. 116th Way. Built in 1934. This one is quite different from the others, yet very interesting in its architectural traits.

Multicolored, stone block house at 2434 S. 116th Way. Built in 1934. This one is quite different from the others, yet very interesting in its architectural traits.

Stone house at 2203 S. 118th St. Built in 1945.

Stone house at 2203 S. 118th St. Built in 1945.

Detail of Stone house at 2203 S. 118th St. Note the full abalone shells embedded into the concrete!

Detail of Stone house at 2203 S. 118th St. Note the full abalone shells embedded into the concrete!

Detail of Stone house at 2203 S. 118th St. This house has some of the same characteristics as the house on Roseberg Ave. S., and was built in the same year, 1945. They’re just a block away from each other and must have been built by the same person(s).

Detail of Stone house at 2203 S. 118th St. This house has some of the same characteristics as the house on Roseberg Ave. S., and was built in the same year, 1945. They’re just a block away from each other and must have been built by the same person(s).

Our Walking Route:

    • Meet in front of the Boulevard Park Library.
    • Cross S. 120th St. and walk north along Roseberg Ave. S.
    • See a beautiful, old brick house, a horse pasture and old farmland, and one of the 1945 Stone & Pebble Houses.
    • Continue along Roseberg, then go east along S. 116th St. a couple of blocks to see the 1934 Stone Block House.
    • Go back to and southbound along Military Road S. to the other 1945 Stone & Pebble House.
    • Turn south along 24th Ave. S., walk by Hilltop Elementary School.
    • Cut west onto S. 124th St.
    • Head north on 20th Ave. S. to end up back at the Library. (Click the map for a larger view.)

In addition to walking and chatting with neighbors, one of the goals of the monthly Walk-n-Talk is to explore different neighborhoods in Burien.

(Click on the map below, then print it out if you’d like it while you’re walking.) 

Cross the Peter Western Bridge & see historic Stone Houses this Sunday with WABI Burien 1

Remembering Betsy Hamel

When on the Stone House Walk in April 2016, we stopped to admire the house on Roseberg Ave. The owner, a nice woman named Betsy, came out to talk to us and tour us around… A month-and-a-half later, WABI got an email from Betsy’s sister, who told me she had died just a couple of weeks after our visit:

“Hello: I think it was in April on a Sunday that you notified Burien-ites of a walking tour of 3 rock homes in Burien. One was my sister’s home at 11650 Roseberg Avenue South. That was so wonderful because she loved her home and wanted so many to appreciate it. She was ill with Ovarian Cancer at the time; she died on May 1. On the tour day she was at home and came out to her front porch to talk to the folks who came by. She also had a beautiful garden, which she was thrilled to talk about. I want you to know that it was one of her last fabulous days. She loved attention (and deserved it) and that day she got it.

For further information, please contact Maureen at [email protected].

Peter Western portrait and bridge photos courtesy of the B-Town Blog. Thanks, Scott!