Welcome! Don't panic! You’ve located another stop in The Geocacher’s Guide to the Center of Our Universe, also known as the HQ GeoTour. It’s part of why Fremont is so unique. What we have here is a virtual cache at one of the best views in the city.
The Fremont Motto: “De Libertas Quirkas” (freedom to be peculiar)
Print your HQ GeoTour passport as a guide.
Gas Works Park
A Geocaching HQ Virtual Cache
Gas Works Park is a ca. 20-acre public park located on the north shore of Lake Union at the south end of the Wallingford neighborhood. It is recognized in the National Register of Historic Places. Aside from the machines and structures of the former gasification plant, the location offers a stunning panorama of the Seattle skyline. If you can, wait till the lights start coming on at dusk!
Please respect the park hours — Gas Works Park is open daily, 6am (06:00) to 10pm (22:00).
History and Transformation
In the early 20th century, Seattle Gas Light Company purchased the land. They built a gas manufacturing plant in what was then a highly industrial area. At the time, it was the largest private utility in Seattle.
The plant produced illuminating gas, so-called because it was used for lighting. Later, the gas was also used for cooking, refrigeration, and heating homes and water. Hence, the origin of the park’s name — Gas Works Park. The gas was originally generated from coal. Production later switched to oil gas generators.
Gas production operations ceased in 1956. In 1962, the City of Seattle began purchasing the area. The transfer was completed and the park opened to the public in 1975.
Now, you can enter the park through a landscaped parking area or via the Burke-Gilman Trail. The parking area is divided from the park via a grassy berm and trees demarcating the old railroad right of way. Gas Works Park features seven areas: Earth Mound, North Lawn, Towers, Prow, Picnic Lawn and Shelter, Play Barn, and South Lawn. They present a unique mix of open spaces and adaptations of the original manufacturing structures.
The Play Barn
The building known as the Play Barn dates to the original coal-gas facility and was constructed of wood. It features the former pump house, ca. 7,340 sq ft (682 m2), and boiler house, ca. 5,720 sq ft (531 m2). Their wood frames remain intact and in place on concrete slab foundations.
The former boiler house was turned into a picnic shelter. The tubes of one former boiler remain in place at the eastern end of the building. They are an impressive display of technology from days-passed.
The former pump house showcases most of its machinery still in place. It features pumps, piping and also its old 3,000 hp (2,200 kW) compressor. An old smoke arrestor hood has been refurbished as a play structure for climbing.
Kite Hill offers stunning views and a fascinating history to its visitors. Thousands of cubic yards of rubble from old gas plant buildings were covered with fresh top soil, sewage sludge, and sawdust. What sounds gross at first was a successful early attempt of bioremediation. It is a natural way to decontaminate soil and groundwater. The area offered plenty of both from past days of gasification plant operation. Today, Gas Works Park is fully decontaminated and covered with lush green field grass.
Once visitors have reached the top of the hill, they are met by an unexpected artpiece — a sundial. It was created by two local artists, Chuck Greening and Kim Lazare. Their material of choice was concrete, which they delineated with rocks, shells, glass, bronze, and many other materials. The sundial tells time by using the body of the visitor as the gnomon. The viewer’s shadow tells the time of day and the season.
To claim the find on this Virtual Cache, please fulfill the following tasks to prove that you have visited the location. See the examples for reference.
- First picture:
Take a picture of yourself, your GPS, or a personal item with the West-marker on top of Kite Hill. It is located west of the sundial. Upload it with your log. Fun fact: It points over to Geocaching HQ!
- Second Picture:
(optional but highly encouraged, add multiple pictures to a log via the website)
Post a picture of yourself, your GPS, or a personal item with your favorite piece of machinery in the Play Barn. Upload it with your log. There are plenty of options to choose from!
- In the Play Barn, you will find an old compressor. It is labeled “In _ _ _ _ _ _ _ - Ra _ _ Im _ _ _ _ _ _ Ty _ _ 1 _”. Send the name to Geocaching HQ via the Geocaching Message Center or email.
For more immediate confirmation you can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org [take the answer above, make it all lowercase, remove all spaces and dashes, add @gmail.com — example: if the compressor was called Signal-Frog Lily Pad 1, the email would be email@example.com].
You do not have to wait for Message Center confirmation to log the cache. Please be advised that logs not fulfilling the above logging requirements will be deleted.
Virtual Reward - 2017/2018
This Virtual Cache is part of a limited release of Virtuals created between August 24, 2017 and August 24, 2018. Only 4,000 cache owners were given the opportunity to hide a Virtual Cache. Learn more about Virtual Rewards on the Geocaching Blog.
About the HQ GeoTour
The Geocaching HQ office is located right here in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. That makes Fremont the center of our geocaching universe. It just so happens that Fremont is also officially the Center of the Known Universe. Coincidence? We think not.
According to somewhat reliable sources Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood lies in a special geophysical locale. Stay long enough and you might happen to notice the odd gravitational pull, the inability to stay away, the overwhelming urge to return again and again—it’s almost as if you’re in the center of the universe.
In 1991, Fremont Scientists did extensive research at a local Fremont pub. With a few slurs and stumbles, they came to the conclusion that the intersection of N Fremont Ave and 35th St N was, indeed, the Center of the Universe. They supported their statement with the claim that it could not be disproven. (It couldn’t be proven either, but that’s beside the fact.)>
Shortly thereafter, through much politicking and cajoling, the Fremont Scientists convinced the Metropolitan King County Council to officially name Fremont as the Center of the Known Universe. You can read the official proclamation, which declared Fremont to be an Independent ImagiNation and a mecca for those of independent minds and spirits, and is forever and fervently empowered with all the rights and privileges thereto accruing. Really.
This geocache was hidden with special permisison from Geocaching HQ.