Serpent Mound, Discovery Park, Seattle, US

An ancient serpent mound in a modern park. Sat 30 April 2022

Serpent mound body. Source: The Serpent Mound in Seattle, WA

It is the sinuous vertical line from top-centre to bottom-centre of this LIDAR image:

Source: Washington LIDAR Portal

Location of northern end is about 100m east of the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center in north Discovery Park, Seattle, Washington, US.

Signposted from the center, it seems to be the sinuous ridge running north-south between Bernie Whitebear Way and Texas Way.

Apparently topped by a footpath starting to the west of the ponds and running north around them and then down their eastern side:

Eastern track around ponds. Source: Discovery Park - Wikipedia

It is thought to have a mound at the centre of a spiral, though this is not clear from the currently available imagery.

From The Serpent Mound in Seattle, WA – Discovery Park:

Body viewed from head. Source: The Serpent Mound in Seattle, WA

Body in distance across pond. Source: The Serpent Mound in Seattle, WA

'Eye' in centre of head. Source: The Serpent Mound in Seattle, WA

The 'eye' is apparently at the centre of a mound featured on page 13 map of an earlier Discovery Park guide. However that version of the guide is no longer available and the current map shows no mound.

Like other North American serpent mounds, the historical evidence suggests the serpent is 19th century - or much later - work.

From Don Sherwood Parks History Collection, 1884-1979:

In the 1893 Annual Report [Mr. Schwagerl] identifies the proposed "Northwest Park as overlooking Salmon Bay on Puget Sound (this became an Army post in 1897; Ft. Lawton; finally Discovery Park in 1971)

The 1971 creation of Discovery Park should not be confused with the creation of the serpent mound. However, images and park maps as late as 1973 show no ponds, no serpent mound and no trail following the mound.

Starting with its 1934 status as part of Fort Lawton:

Fort Lawton. 1934 Map of Seattle Defense Districts

Fort Lawton structures aerial. 1968. Source: Discovery Park Planning and Growth

Master plan proposed development. 1972. Source: Discovery Park Planning and Growth

Discovery Park map from opening ceremony brochure. 1972. Source: Discovery Park Planning and Growth

It seems likely Discovery Park serpent mound was created when the reflecting pools were excavated.


From [Researching City of Seattle Parks and Playfields at the Seattle Municipal Archives]

Discovery Park, Thornton Creek, Freeway Park, and the Burke-Gilman Trail are especially well documented parks in the Project Construction Files.

© All rights reserved. The original author retains ownership and rights.

More in category: Serpent Mounds
More by tag: #mounds