Metro Parks Tacoma completes Fort Nisqually Granary Building preservation project

The next time you visit Fort Nisqually Living History Museum at Point Defiance Park, you might notice a signature structure on the site has been carefully restored.

According to Metro Parks Tacoma officials, a project to stabilize and preserve the circa-1850 Granary Building was completed in October.

The Granary Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and Tacoma’s Register of Historic Places. Although it was restored in 1934 and 1984, structural problems that threatened the building, according to the Fort Nisqually Foundation’s Web site.

Metro Parks Tacoma officials report the structure has had many moves and repairs over the years, and has been taken apart and re-constructed repeatedly throughout its life time. Even with routine maintenance, the building lost some of its structural stability. Notably, the walls were moving out of alignment due to time and the gradual downward pressure of the roof.

Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission was briefed on the restoration project last summer.

Visitors today will notice a great deal of work has been done to save the building. According to Metro Parks Tacoma, a new roof system comprised of rafters, collar ties, and newly added steel sub-framing allowed structural engineer BCRA and its contractor to remove the non-historic upright timbers which had been installed for safety purposes. In addition, a new cedar shake roof was installed and a small amount of skip sheathing was replaced due to rot and damage. To prevent future rot and keep away wood-boring insects, a wood preservative was also sprayed onto the building. Finally, rotted window shutters were replaced with six new shutters, and the hardware was refurbished by removing rust and re-painting.

The Fort Nisqually Foundation raised $140,000 for the project, according to the organization’s Web site, and received grant funds from the Ben B. Cheney Foundation, Dimmer Family Foundation, Forest Foundation, Norcliffe Foundation, Pierce County Historic Preservation Fund, and the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation. These monies were matched, in part, by a State Capital Heritage Grant received by Metro Parks Tacoma.

More information is available online here and here and here.