Oral History Chair Gene Pugh recently completed an Oral History with Citizen of the Century nominee and long time Shorewood resident, Dr. Fred Hazeltine. Following are excerpts from his Oral History.
“I began my pediatric practice in Burien by joining Dr. Sterner at the Seahurst Medical Center in August, 1954. We were the only pediatricians between Seattle and Tacoma, and I was busy from the very beginning. I would compare my career to riding a surfboard, because the Highline public school population tripled during the first five hears I was here, and it was like riding the crest of the wave with many new patients every week. Initially, we had to do our hospital work in downtown Seattle. We went to all of the general hospitals to care for newborns, and we admitted our sick patients to either Childrens Hospital or Providence Hospital. There were no freeways, and the automobile traffic moved slowly, especially during the commute.”
“ When I first came to Burien, there were only four family physicians in addition to the three specialists at the Seahurst Clinic. All of that changed with the advent of a new hospital and an increased population in the area.”
“I used to make a lot of house calls, and I can remember reading the address numbers on the mailboxes after dark with the aid of a flashlight. One dark night I was crossing the yard of a patient when I saw a man on the porch waving wildly to me and trying to say something. The next thing I knew I was standing in an excavated side sewer ditch holding my black bag and viewing the lawn at eye level.”
“…Our proximity to Seahurst Park gives us a delightful place to go walking. Originally, Seahurst Park was planned with the idea of installing a huge parking lot, which would have obliterated most of the beach and provide a paved parking space for 116 boat trailers and a launching facility with several lanes. This was successful opposed by the adjacent neighbors, the Sierra Club and the League of Women Voters. After they were sued in court, the King County Commissioners changed the plans to create the family recreation facility that it is today… Another victory for open space enthusiasts was the acquisition of 92 acres adjoining Seahurst Park to the north known as “The Salmon Creek Addition.” This was rescued from developers in 1989, when the money to purchase it became part of a King County bond issue. The hearing was packed with people favoring the purchase where I submitted my check list of 65 different bird species I had seen while walking the trails on this property…”