Southwest Seattle Historical Society Programs
Our "Birthplace of Seattle" Log House Museum is open to the public from noon to 4 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. Visitors explore two exhibit galleries, talk with trained docents and view history videos. Tours are available to school and community groups upon request. We sponsor or co-sponsor many community events. Education trunks and books are available for borrowing by educational institutions or teachers. Our June 6, 2014, unveiling of the restored Admiral totem pole at our museum drew more than 900 children and exemplifies our educational mission.
Our collection comprises thousands of items ranging from photographs and documents to artifacts both small, such as hundreds of decorated paper bags from luminaries created spontaneously and left on Alki Beach in the days following 9/11, and large, such as an original Statue of Liberty replica and original totem pole, both West Seattle icons. The totem pole will be unveiled at our museum on June 6, 2014.
In 1989, we led the successful, grassroots effort to secure Seattle city landmark status for the 1942 art-deco Admiral Theater, which has operated continuously since its repurchase and reopening in 1992. In 1996, we secured Seattle city landmark status for the 1904 log structure called Fir Lodge/Alki Homestead and its companion Carriage House, which has become our museum. Since 2009, when a fire damaged the Alki Homestead, our organization has forged a coalition with Historic Seattle, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation and 4Culture to promote and provide hands-on help to the owner for restoration of the Alki Homestead.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Our "Telling Our Westside Stories" program and exhibit, which brings alive the memories of community elders from interviews conducted by area middle-schoolers and whose traveling version reaches residents at area libraries and schools, focuses on the theme of "Work." This campaign and exhibit will continue in late 2015 with exploration of the ancillary theme of "Home." (The theme of "Land" was explored in 2012 and 2013.)
We also have restored of an iconic West Seattle totem pole that stood from 1966 for 40 years at Belvidere View Point Park. The culmination of this project -- the raising and unveiling -- of the pole at our Log House Museum took place with a huge community celebration on Friday, June 6, 2014, drawing more than 1,300 people. But the work of maintaining the totem pole never will be complete, and we have established a fund to assure the preservation of this treasure in perpetuity.