From our friends at WABI Burien:

This Sunday, May 1, 2022, come see three quirky stone houses, and cross the new Peter Western Bridge!

The Peter Western Bridge in northeastern Burien was damaged in February of 2017, subsequently rebuilt, and reopened on December 21, 2020 (see construction pictures and read more here).

Because the bridge had been closed, we hadn’t been on this walk since April of 2016, but got to walk the route again in January 2021.

Who 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 look down into the deep gully and see one of the three stone houses nearby!
Long ago (1934 and 1945), at the north edge of Burien, there were people building some very distinctive homes with stones and pebbles. On the Stone House Walk-n-Talk we’ll 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, May 1, 2022. Meet at 2:00, start walking at 2:15 p.m.

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.

    • 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.) 

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.

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

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