Volunteer Park was designed by the Olmsted Brothers. It is located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood at 1247 15th Ave E, 98112 . It is 48.3 acres.
Volunteer Park is the jewel of Seattle's Olmsted legacy. Designed by John Charles Olmsted in 1909, it is an urban park designed in the naturalistic, pastoral/picturesque American romantic style that is closely associated with the Olmsted firm. The elements of this style include irregular open lawns bordered by shrub and tree plantings, carefully framed and modulated views, one or more circulation loops, and areas intended for crowds and social interaction which are treated in a more geometric and formal manner.
The park design integrates the water tower and reservoir that serve Seattle's public water system. City officials consulted with Olmsted regarding the placement of the standpipe that was needed to serve the homes at Capitol Hill's highest elevations, above the reach of the gravity fed system served by the reservoir. Olmsted had recommended in his 1903 plan for Seattle's park and boulevard system that an observation tower be constructed to allow visitors to see over the surrounding neighborhood and trees to the spectacular views in all directions. When the standpipe was built in 1908, it featured an observation area at the top of the tower surrounding it.
Olmsted aligned one of the park design's primary axes with the reservoir to take advantage of views to the east that included Lake Union and the Olympic Mountains. Today, the view also includes the Space Needle. Olmsted incorporated distant views into a number of his park and boulevard designed in Seattle. Known as "borrowed landscape," these views draw the beauty of natural resources into the park's design.
The Olmsted design's other primary axis ran along the ridge line of the hill, which is followed by the Concourse, running between the water tower and the Volunteer Park Conservatory, which was built in 1912. The area on either side of the Concourse is more formally designed, while the landscape along the Carriage Drive, which loops through the western portion of the park tends to be more informal. This is in keeping with Olmsted's practice of designing more formal beds and alles of trees where their are more organized activities (a bandstand and pergola along the Concourse in Volunteer Park) and less formal plantings, often including native species, along more passive recreation areas.
Volunteer Park became an official city landmark in 2011.