In the early 1970s, the landscape architect planning King County Park #10 asked Northwest artist and sculptor Richard Beyer to design playground equipment and a sculpture. Beyer is the creator of more than 75 commissioned sculptures throughout the world. His work "Waiting for the Interurban," in Fremont, is probably Seattle's most popular piece of public art. Beyer’s works in stone, bronze, aluminum, brick, and wood adorn and enliven many public places, including four bas-relief panels in Des Moines City Hall, and the intriguing bronze sculpture “The Big Catch” in Des Moines City Park.
Beyer’s main piece in Dottie Harper Park is a large cedar old growth stump from Snohomish County, signifying the Northwest's vanishing virgin forests. Beyer cleaned it and, adding more cedar pieces, carved life-sized figures ("some appearing much like the people in the Fremont figures") encircling its base, "dancing to bring it back to life."
A unique drinking fountain was also made by running plumbing through a huge granite boulder; a sculpted frog adorns the spigot. Small buffaloes made of laminated hardwood and mounted on pipes stood nearby, ready for children to ride. There was also a mathematical game with pebbles in carved cups in a cedar log. As of 1999, all of the pieces except the stump were deteriorated or in need of refurbishing. The cedar stump remained intact and "polished" from more than 25 years of children climbing on it.
Other artists use the park to create and display outdoor exhibits - some of them interactive - in conjunction with the Burien Strawberry & Arts Festival and other local events.
Continue on to learn about the current use of Dottie Harper Park