Historic preservation grant will fund survey of Tacoma's old churches

Historic Tacoma, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Tacoma’s architectural legacy through education and advocacy, announced yesterday it has received a grant to conduct the first ever inventory of Tacoma’s historic sacred places.
The $5,000 grant was awarded by the National Society of the Colonial Dames in the State of Washington.
“We hope this work will provide the means to proactively preserve Tacoma’s sacred places and for more congregations to nominate their structures to the Tacoma Register of Historic Places,” said Historic Tacoma board president Sharon Winters in a statement.
Winters said the grant came out of a year-long effort by Historic Tacoma to work with a dozen Tacoma congregations on historic preservation and their churches. The money will be used to produce a Web publication of the inventory, a walking tour map and brochure, and marketing of an event celebrating local and historic churches.
The grant and the project it will support come at a time when local congregations are facing dual challenges of a decline in memberships and rising costs associated with maintaining their historic churches. In May 2006, the congregation at First United Methodist Church sold its 90-year-old building to MultiCare Health System for $8 million. The church was later demolished to make room for the hospital’s expansion.
This is the second grant the Society of Colonial Dames has awarded to Historic Tacoma. In 2007, the preservation group received $2,000 to fund a pilot restoration project in Castle Hall at the Knights of Pythias Lodge.
Historic Tacoma was formed in 2006 and aims to enhance Tacoma’s built environment, preserve Tacoma’s architectural heritage, educate and inform the community, and conserve sustainable resources.