Burien Washington - Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services

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The Mathison Family
Patrons of the Park
In the summer of 2006, the Mathison siblings - Don, Phil, Eric, Stephen, and Susan - cut the ribbon to open Burien's newest neighborhood park and playground. They grew up on the property, raised by their parents Ted and Bernadine Mathison.

Eric Mathison, a writer for the Highline Times, noted the irony in Burien Plaza Starbucks adopting the park: his mom and dad didn’t drink coffee. His late father had written that “it is highly recommended that the property remain heavily wooded (my wife Bernadine loved trees).” With “great pleasure and trepidation” he turned over to the city of Burien what had been the family home since 1944.

The Mathisons bought the five acres “in the country” from the Sunnydale Goat Dairy for $1,600 in August, 1942. Ted Mathison laid 10 or 12 cinder blocks a day, after work, in building their house. The children had many adventures on the property - climbing trees, building forts, and picking fruit from their gardens. “Just because we lived on five acres on the top of a hill, I don’t want you to think we were rich snobs,” Eric said. “My dad was a Boeing middle manager. My mom took care of five kids and volunteered in the community. My parents were into voluntary simplicity before voluntary simplicity was cool.

“I want Burien officials and park patrons to know how important the place is to my family and me. The benefits we received as kids (wooded trails with views of Mt. Rainier, the airport, and Puget Sound) we want to pass on to succeeding generations of children and adults.”

Continue on to learn about Ted and Bernadine Mathison.


14700 6th Avenue SW   /  Burien, WA 98166  /  Ph: (206) 988-3700  /  Fax: (206) 243-2784
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