The Joseph Foster Tree, which is on the north end of Foster Golf Links, was planted in 1873. COURTESY PHOTO

Joseph Foster Tree firmly rooted in city’s history | Tukwila’s Story

If old growth trees could reveal the past, what a story their growth rings may tell.

  • Wednesday, February 15, 2017 12:00pm
  • Life

By Pat Brodin

Tukwila Historical Society

If old growth trees could reveal the past, what a story their growth rings may tell. One such tree with a rich legacy is the Joseph Foster Tree standing proudly at the north end of Foster Golf Links along Interurban Avenue South.

This huge maple tree has stood in this location since it was planted in 1873. There is a Washington state historical plaque attached to it helping to tell its story. The plaque reads:

“In Memoriam — Joseph Foster came to the State of Washington from Sheboygan, Wis., arriving Vancouver, Wash. By ox team, July 1, 1852, arriving Alki Point and Seattle by boat, April 4, 1853, locating here May 1, 1853. Gov. Scout & Packer in Indian War of 1855 & 56. Member of Territorial Legislature eleven sessions. June 11, 1865 married Miss Martha J. Steele. Planted this tree July 4, 1873. Lived here until his death Jan. 16, 1911.”

When Foster settled along the Duwamish River, the surrounding area was an unbroken wilderness. Foster was an exceptional man who helped establish the community now encompassed by Tukwila. He established the early schools that became an integral part of what the Tukwila School District is today. He was a respected leader serving in the Washington Territorial Legislature for three decades. The old maple tree serves as a remnant of the Foster homestead and to the legacy of Joseph Foster.

So if you have the chance to glance over or visit the old majestic maple tree, you will see something actually planted by notable pioneer Joseph Foster, whose life helped shape the community and the region.

Pat Brodin is treasurer and past president of the Tukwila Historical Society, which operates the Tukwila Heritage and Cultural Center, 14475 59th Ave. S., Tukwila. The center’s phone number is 206-244-4478 and the email is


History After Hours

The Tukwila Historical Society will host its first “History After Hours” event from 6-10 p.m. Saturday, April 15, at Odin Brewery, 402 Baker Blvd., Tukwila.

The event features author Tom Reese with a presentation about his recently published book “Once and Future River: Reclaiming the Duwamish,” as well as a silent auction to support the Tukwila Historical Society.

There will be food prepared by Odin Brewery and a no host bar offering brews from Odin.

There is no cost to attend, but an RSVP is required by sending an email to or leaving a phone message at 206-244-4478.

A plaque on the Joseph Foster Tree tells the story of Joseph Foster. COURTESY PHOTO


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