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Surprise at Sunken Park near Tucker House


Sunken Park Friday Harbor
Surprising historical find during the renovation of Sunken Park, across the street from Tucker House Inn, Friday Harbor, WA

Sunken Park is a lovely little town park, located conveniently across the street from Tucker House Inn, and was built in the 1930’s for Friday Harbor by the WPA (Works Progress Administration). In 1995, it was refurbished by the Washington State Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation. However, in all these years, no one had worked on the foundation of the gazebo located on street level until the town of Friday Harbor, in their 2015 renovation of Sunken Park.  And what they found was amazing.


As workers begin the dismantle the concrete steps of the gazebo, they discovered something you don’t usually see in concrete steps:  horseshoes.

A little research into the town of Friday Harbor history here on San Juan Island showed that during the Depression, many building materials were scarce, including rebar. Rebar has been around for centuries, and is used to reinforce the strength of poured concrete; but what can you use instead? Apparently, the Friday Harbor townspeople, famous for their ability to create workarounds for almost anything, decided to use horseshoes instead.  Our best guess is they were requisitioned from the Livery Stable that was on First Street during that era.

The 2015 version of Sunken Park and its gazebo should be completed this week, with the addition of new playground equipment.  A brighter, cleaner park for the community and visitors is waiting for you now…but you will need to bring your own horseshoes!




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