Pritchard Island Beach Toy Theater 2022
This kinetic toy theater will be installed August 15th thru October 9th in Pritchard Island Beach Park in Rainier Beach, Seattle.
This piece has two movements - The first is operated by a foot treadle depicts the lowering of Lake Washington in 1916 when the Ship Canal at the Ballard Locks went in and the lake lowered 9 feet. This engineered event turned Pritchard Island into a marshland instead of an island. The second movement is a hand spun disc that shows different dwellings that have been on the island through time. The island was called Tleelh-chus (or little Island) when the Duwamish had a small village there. At the begining of the 1900's Alfred J Pritchard bought land on the island with gold rush money and built a series of houses there, at the time it was accessed by a row boat. Today the little one street community has houses built after the island became part of Rainer Beach properly when the lake lowered, to get to it you bisect a marshland that connects Pritchard Island Beach park to Beer Shiva park.
part of the Art in Parks program
This project is installed on Duwamish Land. They are still not a federally recognized tribe, although the city of Seattle is on their land. If you would like to lend your voice to the movement to correct this please visit
special thanks to Rob Lutz for all the engineering help along the way. this piece would not be nearly as elegant without his input!
process images click on a square to see full image and description
4th prototype and some fabrication and sketches
3rd prototype and milfoil arbor designs
2nd prototype and hardware and treadle alterations
initial sketches and gear work