VIDEO: Alki Homestead events, restoration updates, parking details, other infoOngoing
This 13-minute video depicts the removal of the Alki Homestead neon sign on Monday, July 18, 2016, for restoration. Story below.
Alki Homestead neon sign comes down from roof for restoration
On Monday morning, July 18, 2016, Alki Homestead owner Dennis Schilling, his son Matt and five-member crew removed the building’s iconic neon sign so that it can be restored as part of the landmark building’s overall renovation and restoration. The removal took just shy of two hours.
The sign restoration will cost $25,000 to $30,000, and the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, which secured city landmark status for the building 20 years ago, helped Schilling in 2015 to obtain a $15,000 grant from 4Culture for the project.
The Alki Homestead, originally called Fir Lodge, was built in 1904. It has been closed since a January 2009 fire damaged a portion of the building’s interior. Schilling and his crew have been restoring the building since he purchased it in March 2015.
The neon sign is being stored temporarily inside the Alki Hometead. (The restoration work will cover up the graffiti with which vandals defaced the lower portion of the sign in late June 2016.)
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Please scroll down for Alki Homestead-related events, restoration updates, parking details and other information, photos and video!
New logs arrive at the Alki Homestead — Aug. 21, 2015, update
Alki Homestead owner Dennis Schilling and his crew work on Friday, Aug. 21, 2015, to receive 17 new logs from Kalama, Wash., to replace rotted logs in and near the southeast corner of the building. (Replacement of the southeast-corner logs was given administrative approval by city landmarks staff in January 2015.) Restoration work on the 1904 city landmark began in the spring and continues through this summer and beyond. The Southwest Seattle Historical Society will provide periodic video updates such as this one.
‘Group Hug for the Homestead’ draws 1,000 students from Alki, Schmitz Park!
The ‘Group Hug for the Homestead’ on Friday, June 5, 2015, attracted 1,000 students from Alki and Schmitz Park elementary schools, plus teachers, parents, local officeholders and the owner of the Alki Homestead, Dennis Schilling. A total of 1,134 peole are shown in the photo. The event celebrated the beginning of the 1904 building’s restoration! To download a high-resolution version of this photo, click on it to get a larger version, then right-click and “save as” on your computer. (Photo by Jean Sherrard, crowd count by Suzanne Hartley)
The above video of the entire event was taken by volunteer Brad Chrisman atop a 26-foot-high lift truck.
What an amazing way to kick off restoration of the Homestead!
For making possible the June 5, 2015, “Group Hug for the Homestead,” we thank:
— For working so hard behind the scenes on this project, members of our Board of Trustees: Marcy Johnsen, president; Tia Hallberg, vice-president; Ron Arant, treasurer; Peder Nelson, secretary; and Bonnie Gromlich, Dora-Faye Hendricks, Kerry Korsgaard, Inez Lindsey, Tasha Miller and Nancy Sorensen.
— For ensuring the preservation of precious places all over the city, including our “Birthplace of Seattle” Log House Museum and the Alki Homestead – the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board and its staff.
— For the event’s sound system, Glenn Cannon and Dave and Jennifer O’Neal of West Seattle’s Live Oak Audio Visual.
— For the scissor lift truck contributed for the event, Jeff Rissolli and Lee Forte of West Seattle’s Pacific Rim Equipment Rental.
— For taking the group photo, high atop the lift truck, volunteer Jean Sherrard, and for taking video of the event, volunteers Brad Chrisman (from the lift truck) and Mark Jaroslaw.
— For on-site coverage of the event, the West Seattle Blog.
— For helping guide everyone into position, volunteers Tasha Miller and Dave Hrachovina.
— For her blessing of the event, Cecile Hansen, Duwamish Tribal chair.
— For leading and representing their students at the event, Alki Elementary School Principal Shannon Stanton and Schmitz Park Elementary School Assistant Principal Liora Minkin.
— For speaking at the event, Seattle City Council member Tom Rasmussen and King County Executive Dow Constantine.
— And for making the restoration possible, the Alki Homestead’s new owner, Dennis Schilling. As the students shouted at the event, “Thank, you Dennis! Thank you, Dennis! Thank you, Dennis!”
How to park at the Homestead: Procedure set for museum visitors
and those who wishing to park on Alki for non-museum purposes
(June 27, 2015 update) Now that restoration work has begun on the city-landmark Fir Lodge/Alki Homestead, a procedure has been established for parking during construction work that will transpire over the next year or two.
We hold an easement for use of the Homestead parking lot. Thus, visitors to our “Birthplace of Seattle” Log House Museum can park free in the Homestead lot during our open hours of noon to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Access is via the alley behind the Homestead lot.
Immediately upon parking in the lot during the open hours, a museum visitor must obtain a parking pass at our museum and return to his or her car and place the pass on the dashboard.
Our staff and volunteers also can park in the Homestead lot during open hours and at other times by displaying a permanent parking pass.
The lot also is available to the general public seeking to park for non-museum purposes. Those seeking parking in the Alki area can park in the Homestead lot for a fee of $10/day.
The funds, which will go to Homestead owner Dennis Schilling, are collected in a locked honor box at the parking lot. Signs posted at the lot explain the procedure and fee.
Spaces will be designated for museum parking (and moved, as needed, to accommodate construction vehicles) so that no matter how many spaces are filled by those who pay for parking, there will be spaces available for museum parking during open hours.
The Homestead parking lot sits one-half block north of the museum. Access to the lot is via the alley behind 61st Avenue Southwest, between Alki Avenue Southwest and Southwest Stevens Street. (The alley entrance from Alki Avenue is between Starbucks and Top Pot Doughnuts.)
Restoration work continues at the Alki Homestead — June 12, 2015, update
Alki Homestead owner Dennis Schilling and his crew work on Friday, June 12, 2015, to prepare new logs and shore up sturdy old logs logs near the entrance in the southeast corner of the building. “When I drill the hole,” Schilling says in the video while screwing in a securement bolt, “that wood is as hard as the day it was put in, if not harder. I think it’s gotten a little harder as it’s gotten older. There’s not a bit of rot — a few checks and cracks, but there’s nothing wrong with this log.” (Replacement of the southeast-corner logs was given administrative approval by city landmarks staff in January.) Restoration work on the 1904 city landmark began this spring and will continue through the summer and beyond. The Southwest Seattle Historical Society will provide periodic video updates such as this one.
Restoration work continues at the Alki Homestead — June 11, 2015, update
Alki Homestead owner Dennis Schilling and his crew work on Thursday, June 11, 2015, to remove rotted logs near the entrance in the southeast corner of the building. (Replacement of the southeast-corner logs was given administrative approval by city landmarks staff in January.) Restoration work on the 1904 city landmark began this spring and will continue through the summer and beyond. The Southwest Seattle Historical Society will provide periodic video updates such as this one.
Restoration work continues at the Alki Homestead — June 10, 2015, update
Alki Homestead owner Dennis Schilling and his crew, including his son, Matt, work on Wednesday, June 10, 2015, to haul out no longer functioning kitchen equipment and other detritus and to build and test an outdoor wooden shelf or sling to hold new logs in position when rotted logs (with blue tape) on the southeast corner are replaced. (The kitchen is not part of the city-landmarked features of the building, and replacement of the southeast-corner logs was given administrative approval by city landmarks staff in January.) Restoration work on the 1904 city landmark began this spring and will continue steadily through the summer and beyond. The Southwest Seattle Historical Society will provide periodic video updates such as this one.
Logs arrive as part of Alki Homestead restoration
Fifteen fir logs arrived in the Alki Homestead parking lot Thursday, May 28, 2015, awaiting use in replacing damaged logs in the southeast corner of the building.
The logs were stored in a trailer that owner Dennis Schilling drove from Mountain Log Homes in Kalama, north of Portland. Each log is about 16-1/2 feet long.
Schilling said work will begin soon on shoring up the interior of the southeast corner of the Homestead to allow eventual replacement of damaged logs that have been marked for several months with blue tape.
In preparation for this work, Schilling’s crew has installed anchor fence to surround the front entrance of the Homestead as a protective measure.
Schilling has been consulting with a structural engineer, and his crew has installed temporary power and begun cleaning out non-landmarked, fire-damaged materials from the kitchen. Soon his crew will measure roof angles in preparation for repair, along with eventual restoration of the iconic Alki Homestead sign.
Come back to this web page for further updates!
Click the photo above to take a 31-second video tour of the Alki Homestead in its heyday, before a fire damaged a portion of its interior in January 2009. At a press conference on March 14, 2015, we announced that builder Dennis Schilling has purchased the Alki Homestead and, under an agreement with our organization, plans to restore the 1904 treasure that is the “mother ship” for our “Birthplace of Seattle” Log House Museum. For more info and media links, see below. (Video courtesy Dennis Schilling.)
Historic press conference: March 14, 2015
[Above is a video of the entire press conference on Saturday, March, 14, 2015, at our museum. Besides Clay Eals, executive director, the speakers were Marcy Johnsen (5:24-6:07), board president; Dennis Schilling (6:14-7:18), new owner; Tom Lin (7:27-9:12), former owner; Chris Moore (9:33-10:57), executive director, Washington Trust for Historic Preservation; Michael Herschensohn (11:03-11:520, council chair, Historic Seattle; Flo Lentz (11:57-13:05), preservation lead, 4Culture; Lynn Dennis (13:20-14:02), CEO, West Seattle Chamber of Commerce; and Tom Rasmussen (14:08-17:14), Seattle City Council member.]
Links to media coverage of the story
[Below is the text of a press release issued at the press conference.]
Builder Dennis Schilling purchases 111-year-old Seattle landmark,
begins work to repair and reopen West Seattle icon after forging
parking-lot agreement with Southwest Seattle Historical Society
WEST SEATTLE, Wash. – One of West Seattle’s most beloved landmarks, closed and dormant for more than six years, has a new owner and is slated to be fully restored.
The 1904 log building, first known as Fir Lodge and for the past 65 years as the Alki Homestead restaurant (famed for family-style chicken dinners), was purchased by builder Dennis Schilling from Tom Lin. The sale closed on Friday, March 13, 2015.
Schilling, who does not know how long restoration will take, is consulting with a structural engineer before taking the first hands-on steps at restoration, and he is studying a variety of uses for the Alki Homestead, including reopening a restaurant there, once it is habitable.
A Mercer Island resident who restored the Shoremont apartment building on Alki Avenue Southwest in 2012, Schilling had entered into contract with Lin to purchase Alki Homestead last December.
A crucial factor in his decision to close the transaction was an agreement he forged with the Southwest Seattle Historical Society to modify the easement the historical society holds for the Alki Homestead parking lot.
The historical society board has agreed that Schilling can use part of the parking lot to build an apartment building of up to six units to help him finance the restoration. The agreement is contingent on Schilling’s restoration of the Homestead guided by the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board.
The agreement leaves the historical society with a scaled-down but sufficient number of parking spaces for use by staff, volunteers and visitors to its “Birthplace of Seattle” Log House Museum one-half block south.
The museum building was constructed in 1904 as the carriage house for Fir Lodge. It has been operated by the historical society as a museum since 1997. Both Fir Lodge/Alki Homestead and the “Birthplace of Seattle” Log House Museum were designated city landmarks in 1996 by the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board.
In January 2009, a portion of the interior of Fir Lodge/Alki Homestead was damaged by an electrical fire, and the building has been closed and dormant since then.
“We are thrilled that the Alki Homestead will be brought to life again,” says Marcy Johnsen, president of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society. “We are grateful that Dennis Schilling has stepped forward to restore this treasure, and we thank everyone who has aided this quest, including the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board, Seattle City Council member Tom Rasmussen and our Alki Homestead coalition partners at Historic Seattle, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation and 4Culture.”
The above video tells the story of our July 4, 2010, “This Place Matters” rally and group photo on 61st Avenue Southwest in front of the Alki Homestead.