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Magnuson Park’s new murals celebrate local aviation history

Six teens huddle around a table with paintbrushes in their hands, working on  a large paint-covered board on a table. They wear masks due to the COVID pandemic and are all looking toward the camera.

Not many people know that Magnsuon Park holds the honor of being the launch and end point of the first around-the-world flight in 1924, or that three years later, Charles Lindbergh landed The Spirit of St. Louis in the same spot. Not yet a public park and outside city limits during that era, the site was known as Sand Point Naval Air Station. The Station was created in 1920 to establish an air base in Puget Sound and during World War II, and housed 8000 people in support of the war effort. It also was the testing ground for the first Boeing aircraft.

This year, Friends of Magnuson Park partnered with artist and educator Sandy Bricel Miller to design a series of murals to celebrate the aviation history of Seattle’s second largest park. These murals were designed by Miller and are being painted by local youth, many of whom are residents of the Park. They are to be installed later this year on top of the windows of Building 41, an unused structure within the Sand Point Naval Air Station Historic District.

“These murals, installed over the windows, will not only beautify the Park and serve as an open-air aviation exhibition but will also protect the old gas station from further deterioration,” says Elisa Law, the Executive Director of Friends of Magnuson Park. “It’s a win-win-win.”

The mural painting program enables young people to learn about local history and engage with the community on a meaningful project. The group reports that it is learning a lot and having a great time. See them in action in this video.

“I am so delighted to work on this mural project,” says Sandy Bricel Miller. “Our goal is to create a chronology of the amazing aircraft that flew from this site from 1918 all the way to about 1970.”

Funding for the project is provided by the Neighborhood Matching Fund from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

Friends of Magnuson Park was formed to educate the public about the importance of this site to aviation and military history, and advocate and protect the site a recognized federal, state, and local historic district.

a group of teens stands facing several colorful painted panels while an instructor points out an element on one of the murals