SEQUIM — A scenic Sequim spot on the old highway that was shuttered for about two decades has sprung back to life.
The waterfall fountain and pond at Pioneer Memorial Park was constructed in the fall of 1965 and added a feature to the downtown park through the 1990s.
At some point that decade, however, leaks and other malfunctions forced it to shut down and it was filled in with cement, Sequim Prairie Garden Club member/historian Laura Singer said.
The city of Sequim began its rehabilitation in 2017 and revived the waterfall and pond late last year, adding rockery and plantings.
The city and garden club members are hosting a ribbon-cutting celebration for the waterfall at noon Wednesday.
Refreshments will be served in the clubhouse following the ceremony, where visitors can see a display of historic photographs of the construction of the original fountain. The waterfall style fountain was originally completed in 1965.
The waterfall was a community project, Singer explained, when in the mid-1960s community members conceived the idea of placing the piece along U.S. Highway 101, which ran through downtown Sequim before the 101 bypass was constructed in 1999.
The project got its first major donor from Henry Lotzgesell, who donated about $600 in honor of his late wife, Hazel, on Sept. 29, 1965.
For his contribution, Lotzgesell did the honors of the first shovel-full at the project’s groundbreaking Oct. 24 of that year.
“While this fountain is the project of many past and future contributors, Mr. Lotzgesell, his family and friends requested they be permitted to meet the present cost as a memorial to Hazel Lotzgesell so that the entire community might enjoy it now instead of having to wait,” garden club president Mrs. Lester McFarland told the Port Angeles Evening News in an article dated Oct. 27, 1965.
Initially the waterfall was about 5-foot high, 15-foot wide and featured two waterfalls; the restored version is a bit smaller and features one waterfall, Singer said.
Designed by landscape artist Lesly W. Howard, son of garden club member Laura Dubuque, the waterfall project saw garden club members and others from the Sequim community perform much of the labor to get it up and running. According to annual Sequim Prairie Garden Club notes from 1966, club members laid electric and water lines, hauled rock and dirt and cooked meal for other crew members.
Howard, who donated time, labor and equipment for the effort, had his landscaping crew complete the work by November of 1965.
Several members of the Lotzgesell family have helped maintain the fountain and added decor over the years, Singer said, but consistent maintenance issues forced its closure in the early 1990s.
In 2006, Gloria Lotzgesell funded a commemorative bench near the defunct waterfall for Henry and Hazel Lotzgesell, her grandparents.
In 2014, a garden club project began in effort to open up the views of the park’s lands adjacent to East Washington Street, giving passers-by a better view of the grounds. Club members cleared out years of overgrowth, replacing it with various trees and shrubs.
David Garlington and Ty Brown from Sequim’s Public Works department helped spearhead its revival, Singer said. City staff removed the cement and repaired water pipes, and removed more overgrown landscaping.
On Nov. 16 of last year, the city celebrated Sequim’s designation as “Tree City USA” (Arbor Day Foundation) by planting trees and shrubs around the restored waterfall.
For more information, contact the Sequim Public Works Department at 360-683-4908.
Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].