Rainier Vista, looking southeast, Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition 1909
John C. Olmsted and his brother were the landscape architects responsible for the earlier plan of the University of Washington campus as well as the park and boulevard system in Seattle. When the design for the grounds of the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition of 1909 was being considered he was again approached. Olmsted visited the site in 1906 and later in 1907. The land was uneven, there were trees and shrubs that he had removed and the hillside was graded into a gentle even slope leading to the lakeshore at the base with pathways cutting directly across the hill in arcs. It is a little hard to imagine today but in 1908 men and horses with wagons completed the transformation of the rough terrain into a park-like setting. Although Mt. Rainier is not always visible due to the climate and clouds on one of his visits Olmsted did see it and designed the Vista to use the mountain as part of the overall design for the Fair grounds. The Vista is one of the few remaining elements still retained on the campus today.
The picture on this postcard above was taken from the main United States Government building looking southeast. On the card can be seen the Alaska monument (tall monolith in foreground) with the Court of Honor, the Cascades (descending pools) ending in the Geyser Basin and the view of Mount Rainier. Beautiful gardens completed the overall design.
Rainier Vista gardens
Gardens near the Music Pavilion, looking southwest
Rainier Vista and Music Pavilion with gardens
Please see historylink for more information about Rainier Vista and the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition of 1909: http://www.historylink.org