Those who have spent time wandering the streets of downtown Olympia may be familiar with Beatty Memorial Park.
But there’s a good chance that walkers have ambled past without even noticing the tiny plot of land, measuring only three inches across.
While the park is tiny, it’s quite famous, said Buck’s Fifth Avenue owner Anne Buck. The little patch of grass can be found on the sidewalk outside of her store, located at 209 Fifth Ave., and people frequently stop to read the park rules or take photos.
“Everybody loves it,” Buck said. “We have tourists come and visit all the time.”
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Recently, the park suffered an injustice, Buck said. At about 2 p.m. Wednesday, somebody stole the brass plaque marking the site.
She noticed the plaque was gone when she went outside to move her car. Buck said she’s not sure why someone would take the marker.
“Why does anyone steal anything?” Buck said. “They had absolutely no reason.”
Taking the plaque is even more disrespectful given that the park serves as a memorial to Mary Lou Beatty, Buck’s Fifth Avenue’s former bookkeeper.
The park was dedicated on May 14, 2002, after Beatty’s death.
“It really is the perfect memorial to her. She was here every day,” said Buck’s employee Roseanne Franciosi.
Buck said Beatty, whom she affectionately calls “Lou Lou,” planted grass seed in the park every year on her birthday. She always joked that the hole in the concrete would be the site of her memorial once she died.
People even leave flowers at the park on occasion, Buck said.
Beatty Memorial Park, like other Olympia parks, had its own set of rules: no rock concerts, no sleeping in the park, no fires, no dogs. Buck said people tend to be respectful of those rules.
“I’ve never seen anybody sleeping in the park, and I haven’t seen any dogs standing there,” Buck said.
The park isn’t, however, an official city, county or state park. Buck takes pride in that – she said that unlike the other downtown Olympia parks, it doesn’t cost taxpayers a lot of money.
For now, the plaque has been replaced with a piece of paper that reads, “The graverobber should be ashamed.” But the plaque will be replaced soon.
“Of course we’re going to replace it,” Buck said. “It would be a shame not to.”