Now & Then
Rally and mass photo aim to help restore Homestead Restaurant
Fir Lodge, which for years was the site of the Alki Homestead Restaurant, gained city of Seattle landmark status in 1996. But a fire in 2009 damaged the roof and shut the restaurant down. Now preservationists are rallying to help restore the place, and plan a July 4 mass photo that will be used to campaign for the restoration.
FIR LODGE was built of Douglas fir logs in 1904 for a local soap maker, William J. Bernard, his wife, Gladys, and daughter, Marie. They stayed three years on Alki Point before returning to the city across the bay in 1907. Fir Lodge was built to be rustic, but sumptuously. A good percentage of locals visited it as the Alki Homestead restaurant. It opened in 1950 but began its famous long run in 1960 when Doris P. Nelson bought it. She devised the "family style" chicken-based menu that seemed as righteously American as apple pie, which the Homestead also served. Doris devoted her energy to both her restaurant and the establishment of a home for the Southwest Seattle Historical Society in what was the Bernards' carriage house. Now it is the Log House Museum. After Doris died in 2004, the restaurant kept busy until the roof caught fire in January 2009.
The historical society, which secured city landmark status for Fir Lodge in 1996, is staging a mass photo in front of the now-silent building on July 4 to express continued support for its restoration and preservation. The photo will be used in a poster and distributed widely online. Restoration supporters are encouraged to be part of the photo, and those who do will hold signs that say, "This Place Matters," a catch phrase of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The photo will be taken around 1:30 p.m., after the historical society's annual Independence Day membership picnic, to be held a half-block south in the courtyard of the Log House Museum. Politicos who plan to be in the photo include King County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle City Council member Tom Rasmussen and former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, West Seattleites all.
Check out Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard's blog at www.pauldorpat.com.
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