Endangered Property: Alki Homestead

EDITOR’S NOTE: On May 26, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation announced its annual list of Washington State’s Most Endangered Historic Places. The list dates back to 1992, and aims to raise awareness of historic properties that face demolition by redevelopment or neglect. Over the past 17 years, according to the Trust, more than 100 have been nominated by concerned citizens and organizations across the state. The organization also assists historic preservation advocates in developing strategies aimed at removing these threats.

This year’s list includes Curran House (University Place); Alki Homestead Restaurant (Seattle); BF Tabbott House (Bainbridge Island); Bush House (Index); George Carmack House (Seattle); Day Block (Dayton); Old Ellensburg Hospital (Ellensburg); Libbey House (Coupeville); Post-Intelligencer Globe (Seattle); Sand Point Naval Station (Seattle); St. Edward’s Catholic Church (Shelton); Surrey Downs (Bellevue); Vashon Elementary Gymnasium (Vashon Island).

Beginning today, the Index will publish a profile of each endangered property, as compiled by the Trust. Here is what the Trust has to say about the Alki Homestead in Seattle.

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In 1903, Gladys and William Bernard began construction of Fir Lodge. This country estate, located near Alki Point in West Seattle, exemplified the Rustic Style of architecture and stands as an early iteration of the style in the Puget Sound region. Its log structure and river rock fireplace provided a retreat from the hustle and bustle of Seattle and the city’s accompanying growth during the 1890s. Almost immediately after its construction, Fir Lodge became a gathering place, serving as the first clubhouse for the fledgling Seattle Auto Club from 1907-1911. Since 1950, the structure has been home to the Alki Homestead Restaurant. Because of its architectural quality and its association with the development of Seattle, the Alki Homestead Restaurant is a designated city landmark.

In January 2009, the restaurant suffered an electrical fire leaving the interior and portions of the roof damaged. While temporary measures have been taken to prevent additional damage from weather exposure, the timeframe for implementing major repair work needed to stabilize the building is uncertain at this time. Compounding matters is the fact that the restaurant had been for sale for nearly a year prior to the January blaze. Despite this, the owner has publicly stated his intent to restore the building and re-open the restaurant, allowing denizens of West Seattle and other neighborhoods to continue to enjoy the warmth and storied history of the landmark building.

For more information on the Trust, visit http://www.wa-trust.org .

For earlier Index coverage of the Trust, click on the following links:

1. In an old hilltop mansion, a strong voice for preservation (04/14/09) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1528102&more=0 or http://www.wahmee.com/tdi_wa_trust.pdf .

2. Long list of concerns for Washington State preservationists (05/29/08) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1228444&more=0 or http://www.wahmee.com/tdi_jennifer_meisner_qa.pdf .