David Denny

DAVID DENNY

Strange as it may seem, one original 1851 Alki Beach pioneer has at least a peripheral connection with Haller Lake, and it is not solely because he is buried at Evergreen-Washelli.

David Denny purchased 160 acres from the US government in the Licton Springs area in 1870 for $1.25 an acre, and built himself a summer cabin on the property. His plans for a health resort to exploit the reddish water which bubbled up from the springs never materialized, but the name “licton,” meaning “color,” has survived as one of the few Salish words to survive on a local landmark.

His success in business ventures allowed him the luxury of eventually building himself a less rustic cottage, which fortuitously served as his permanent residence in his waning years. After losing his shirt in the depression of 1893, Denny and his wife, the former Louisa Boren, were forced to abandon their mansion on Queen Anne Hill and settle in the cottage for good. Denny vowed in bitterness to never look at Seattle again, feeling a city he helped build had betrayed him.

Denny died at Licton Springs in 1903, and his daughter Emily sold his remaining holdings to a developer in 1909 for $75,000 after the city had declined her offer to sell them to the city for $40,000. Ironically, the city purchased the 6.3-acre area of what is now Licton Springs Park in 1960 after years of damage from filling, rechanneling, and septic tanks.

And the Denny cottage? It is still standing at 9702 Densmore Avenue North.