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Woodway - From Its Beginning

Mr. David Whitcomb, Sr. planned the development of Woodway Park as a place for homes in a wooded country setting. In 1912 Mr. Whitcomb purchased the land between Richmond Beach and Edmonds, consisting of 320 acres stretching about a mile along Puget Sound and extending about a half-mile east. He added fractional lots along the tidelands and uplands, bringing the total to 400 acres. At the time of the purchase there was one structure, known as the Brown Owl Tavern, which is now a private residence on the west side of Woodway Park Road just north of the Deer Creek Bridge.

Over a period of years Mr. Whitcomb subdivided the 400 acres to provide home sites for friends or others desiring to live in the country. At that time, Woodway Park was unique in that it had its own water system. Deed restrictions protected the character of the area by establishing lot size (two acres or more), set backs, and street design.

The standard of development was modest at the time. Homes cost around $3,000 or more to build and were considered neither excessive nor exclusive. Restrictive deeds required permanent buildings be built 50 feet from property lines and 100 feet back from street lines and that utilities be underground. Deeds also prohibited commercial enterprises from being developed in the Woodway Park area.

In the early 1950’s as the outside area began to develop, the Woodway Park residents felt that the development of adjoining properties would encroach on the densely wooded environment. When the existing Woodway deed restrictions protecting and preserving the nature of the area were nearing the date of termination, it was believed that incorporation as a fourth class town was the only way to protect and preserve the area and to retain its original concepts. However, the housing density of Woodway Park was inadequate to form a fourth class town so residents in the areas to the immediate northwest and south of Woodway Park were approached with the idea of incorporating as a town.

Residents to the immediate south with comparable size home sites expressed interest as did the residents in the subdivision of Twin Maples. These additions would give Woodway three choices in housing density: the original two acre lots, one acre lots, and one-third acre lots. Incorporation succeeded in 1958 forming a town of 660 acres and a population of approximately 400. The Town was elevated to code city status in 1986, although it continues to be known as the "Town of Woodway" with a population of approximately 1300 residents.

The Town was formed to protect its original concept of rural family living. The Woodway Comprehensive Plan describes a vision based on respect for nature and a belief in a quiet existence on densely wooded lots and stresses the character of Woodway, and the value placed on a quiet natural environment. The vision strives to achieve a balance between the well-being of the people who live in Woodway and the need to serve them with street, utilities, and security. Woodway's purpose has changed very little. The Town is true to its motto as "THE QUIET PLACE."

 

 

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