LPC will review First Baptist Church / Urban Grace historic nomination

The City of Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission is scheduled to hear a presentation Aug. 26 in support of adding the former First Baptist Church building, located at 902 Market St., on Tacoma’s Register of Historic Places.

According to the application, which was prepared by preservationist Caroline T. Swope and the Urban Grace congregation, and submitted to the city’s historic preservation office, the Gothic Revival style building dates back to 1924, was designed by prominent architects Heath, Gove and Bell, and is believed to be the oldest continuously used location for Christian religious services in the city. The building has 53 rooms, including an auditorium which seats 1,250, a banquet hall with a stage which seats 500, a kitchen, nursery room, small chapel, choir rooms, and the pastor’s study. In April 2005, the congregation of First Baptist voted to allow a new congregation to form: ‘Urban Grace – The Downtown Church.’ The congregation remains active today.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the LPC will determine if the age and integrity standards are met. The threshold criteria for Tacoma Register listing indicates (a.) the property must be at least 50 years old at the time of nomination; and (b.) retain integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association such that it is able to convey its historical, cultural, or architectural significance. According to an early review prepared by City Hall staff, the building meets this criteria. If the commission agrees, a public hearing will be held Sept. 23.

The LPC meeting will be held Weds., Aug. 26, at 5:00 p.m. at 728 St. Helens, Tacoma Municipal Bldg North, Room 16.

For more information, visit http://tacomaculture.org/historic/home.asp .

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