Donations aid restoration of oldest church building in Port Angeles
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The 1888 former Puget Sound Cooperative Colony Congregational Church at the corner of First and Vine streets in Port Angeles will be remodeled in 2013 on its 125th anniversary. -- Photo by Arwyn Rice/Peninsula Daily News

Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The forest-products company Green Crow and Independent Bible Church have given a major lift to efforts to restore Port Angeles’ first church building.

Each has contributed toward fixing up the landmark structure at the southeast corner of East First and Vine streets in Port Angeles that is now a thrift shop for the housing organization Serenity House.

The building, which has housed professional offices and a bakery in the past, is believed to be the last remaining nonresidential structure built by the Puget Sound Cooperative Colony, said Serenity House Executive Director Kathy Wahto.

Built in 1888 as the Congregational Church, the historic building now houses Serenity Thrift Store, with all profits going to help end homelessness in Clallam County.

The project will repair the roof and restore the historic character of the fašade, Wahto said.

The work is planned to be done in time for a September 2013 celebration of the building’s 125th anniversary at Port Angeles Heritage Days.

The Clallam County Historical Society has agreed to work with Serenity House to organize a rededication of the building.

A permanent historical sign will be installed, commemorating the history of the building as well as the restoration project.

The Green Crow and IBC donations, both made last Thursday, boosted both major elements of the project, which is projected to cost about $45,000, Wahto said.

Chairman John David Crow designated Green Crow’s gift for the fašade improvement portion of the project when he personally delivered a check to the Serenity House office.

With the Green Crow donation, contributions and pledged support from other businesses are planned to meet a 50 percent match required by the city of Port Angeles for a $6,642.50 fašade improvement grant awarded last month, Wahto said.

The city grant and private-sector contributions designated for fašade restoration now total more than half of the $24,000 budgeted for that work.

Charles Smith of Charles Smith Architects has redesigned the entrance, and Serenity House has purchased antique doors, Wahto said.

“The painting is the last thing we will do,” she said.

No dramatic change in color is planned, but some accents will be added, Wahto said.

“The present entrance doesn’t do justice to the building,” she said.

Although the whole facade will be completely redone, the entrance facing First Street will change the most, Wahto said.

A porch will be added, and “the cement is all going to go away,” she said.

Independent Bible Church pledged $5,000 to the roof-replacement portion of the project.

The IBC congregation met in the building as recently as the mid-1960s.

With leadership from Lighthouse Christian Center, roof replacement is being supported primarily by local churches, Wahto said.

“We’re waiting for dry weather [to do] the roof,” Wahto said .

“It doesn’t leak, but it’s been shedding the top layer of shingles on one section.”

First Presbyterian Church was the first to contribute to keeping a roof over the community’s oldest church, with a $2,000 gift.

IBC’s pledge brings the total raised for roof replacement to $14,000, or about 40 percent of the projected $34,451 cost of roof work.

Serenity House had some of those funds set aside that were donated by about 30 community members as a memorial to store founder Sally Garnero.

Serenity House’s Port Angeles thrift store continues to be open for business daily in the old church building, with interior redecoration nearly complete.

Donations of gently used household items, clothing, furniture and more are welcome, Wahto said.

Net sales revenue goes 100 percent to support Serenity House’s 14 housing and services programs serving people who are homeless or experiencing housing crises in Clallam County.

Others wishing to contribute or volunteer to help preserve the church building can phone Serenity House at 360-452-1439.

Last modified: November 19. 2012 6:22PM
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