The Bremerton park inspired by the Seattle World’s Fair

City leaders pose for a photo as Roto Vista Park is constructed in 1962.
City leaders look over plans as Roto Vista Park is constructed in 1962.

Buried deep in the files at Bremerton’s parks department, I found the answer I was looking for. Earlier this summer, as residents rallied to take back Lower Roto Vista Park from miscreants, one question kept on plaguing my efforts to tell the full story.

What in the heck is a “Roto Vista?”

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In 1962, as the universe converged on Seattle for the Century 21 Exposition — better known as the World’s Fair — Bremerton’s Rotary Club pledged to build a new park as part of a statewide beautification program  to compliment the Seattle festivities. A total of $2,369.32 was spent over two years to create a park next to the old toll booth for the Warren Avenue Bridge, later inhabited by the county’s 911 dispatchers.

“Thousands of hours of work, contributed freely by the membership, has resulted in beautifying a spot which had been taken over by Scotch Broom and weeds,” Rotary officials wrote in city documents.

A contest was held to name the new park. The winner was a Mrs. Benny Getschman, whose husband was a Rotary club officer in the 1960’s. Sadly, I could not find documentation of her inspiration for the park’s name. But in one reference, it appears the park’s name is also spelled “Rotor,” suggesting to me it was a nickname Rotarians used, frankly, because the park’s name just rolled off the tongue a little bit better than “Rotary Vista.”

Keep in mind that the park in those days was just the upper portion. Lower Roto Vista park came later, in 1996, Puget Power & Light company, which owned the property on the waterfront by the bridge, decided to hand it over to the city for another pocket park.

Today, you can view the state’s largest colony of pelagic cormorants as they nest under the Warren Avenue Bridge there.  

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5 thoughts on “The Bremerton park inspired by the Seattle World’s Fair

  1. Do you have any information or idea how the large amounts of concrete got poured/dumped there? In the photo you show, when you go down to look at it you notice that none of the shoreline is natural rock. It is really odd. I have always wondered why.

    1. Hi Erik,

      I’ve been told by multiple sources that there was a concrete batch plant there decades ago. But I don’t have proof — at least yet.

      I will ask around!

      -Josh

    1. There actually is a garden spot next to the Bridge however it is all overgrown. I will be there this Saturday around 9:00 trying to cut back the overgrown vegetation and exposing the Dedication Plaque from 1962 that was placed when the park was built. Volunteers are welcome to join me for a couple hours to try and get this area back to a manageable planting for the Parks Department. They have a lot of Parks throughout the city but short on manpower to keep them up.

  2. Josh.
    It was Kenyon Concrete Company. They were there in the 50’a and 60’s. They just helped out in beach preservation, the old fashion way, by dumping their leftovers over the edge of the property. Talk about your beach armor. Looks like it was pretty effective…50 years later. I heard rumor that the new bridge (Warren Avenue) created new tidal action that was eroding the beach so they helped out.

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