Top Stories 2015 | #4 — Tacoma Musical Playhouse purchases shuttered historic church

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Tacoma Daily Index is looking back at the 10 most read articles among visitors to our Web site in 2015.

In October, the Tacoma Daily Index reported Tacoma Musical Playhouse (TMP) had purchased the nearly 90-year-old, three-story Epworth LeSourd Methodist Episcopal Church building, located at 710 S. Anderson St., in Central Tacoma, with plans to use it as a performance venue known as The Spire (see “Tacoma Musical Playhouse purchases, seeks landmark status for shuttered historic church,” Tacoma Daily Index, Oct. 8, 2015; and “Tacoma Daily Index Top Stories — October 2015,” Tacoma Daily Index, Nov. 2, 2015). The structure was built in 1926 and served its congregation (which dated back to 1889) until this summer, when a final service was held and the building was put up for sale due to the high cost to maintain the building, as well as a decline in membership.

The former church building features stained glass windows depicting biblical imagery and a 1.5-story steeple, according to the landmark nomination prepared by TMP Music Director Jeffrey Stvrtecky and TMP Artistic Director Jon Douglas Rake. The church, which could seat 450 parishioners, became known as the ‘Chapel of the Chimes’ when bells were added in 1944. The Gothic Revival building was designed by architect George W. Bullard, who also designed other landmark Tacoma buildings, including the C.N. Gardener Building (built in 1907, located at 928-930 Broadway Plaza), and the Hunt-Mottet Warehouse (built in 1907, located at 2109 S. C St.).

Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission reviewed and approved the nomination during public meetings in October and November (see “Public hearing Nov. 18 for proposed landmark Tacoma church,” Tacoma Daily Index, Nov. 17, 2015). Tacoma City Council approved a resolution in December adding the building to Tacoma’s historic register (see “City Council vote could make former church building a Tacoma landmark,” Tacoma Daily Index, Dec. 4, 2015; and “Former church building now historic Tacoma landmark,” Tacoma Daily Index, Dec. 9, 2015).

To read earlier coverage of the Tacoma Daily Indexs top stories during 2015, click on the following links:

Todd Matthews is editor of the Tacoma Daily Index, an award-winning journalist, and the author of several books. His journalism is collected online at