SEATTLE — A local landmark towers 19 feet above the surrounding Ravenna neighborhood. So, what exactly is the story behind the Wedgwood Rock?

Well, first of all, it really doesn't belong here.

This interloper hitchhiked its way into town aboard the Vashon glacier more than 14,000 years ago, during the last Ice Age.

Geologists say its mineral composition matches a location up near Anacortes, 55 miles to the north. It was once surrounded by dense forest and used as a landmark by Native Americans.

Later, it became a popular place for budding mountaineers to learn their craft. Years before he became the first American to conquer Everest, Jim Whittaker summited the Wedgwood Rock.

Locals fought to preserve the natural lands around the rock as a park. They lost. In the 1940's a residential development encircled it, creating one of Seattle's quirkiest landmarks, a stunning geological feature in the middle of an urban setting.

Oh, and don't expect to follow in Jim Whittaker's footsteps. The city has not permitted climbing the Wedgwood Rock since the 1970s.

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