There’s a teeny tiny little park at the very northwest corner of Renton Municipal Airport, probably one of Renton’s better kept secrets, unless you fly into Renton in a seaplane or you’re a local like me who’s been around these parts for a long time. You'd probably never know it existed.
I love to stop here on occasion when I take the back way home from Seattle down Rainier Valley. The park at the Will Rogers - Wiley Post Memorial Seaplane Base is just a small patch of grass with a monument. Yet, it's significant because this is the place where Will Rogers and Wiley Post took off (from the lower 48) to explore airmail routes to Alaska and Russia then to continue their adventure to encircle the globe.
The views from here are beautiful looking north over Lake Washington at Mercer Island. You can see the tops of skyscrapers in Seattle to the left and Bellevue to the right. You’re right up close to the planes landing at Renton Municipal Airport, now known as Clayton Scott Field and the seaplanes land and take off in the water right in front of you.
Will Rogers and Wiley Post took off from this location on August 7, 1935. My Dad (Al Fabre) and my Uncle George then 14 and 16 years old kids were here to witness the event. About a week later Will and Wiley would flip the plane on take off from a small lagoon just outside of Barrow, Alaska and both men were killed.
Here's a 34 second clip of a piper cub coming in for a landing over Lake Washington from the north on this beautiful summer afternoon in August.
I stopped here this week after a busy day up north and a meeting in Seattle. I packed a lunch and sat under a tree in the shade watching the planes come and go and enjoyed a quiet moment and a few memories of my Dad, my Uncle George, and a little bit about local aviation history in Renton, Washington.
If you’d like to know more I did this post last year: Will and Wileys Last Adventure.