This weekend is the Mt. Baker Home Tour, an annual event that started in 1971 to showcase the neighborhood’s outstanding architecture. This year, along with six stunning home, the tour also features a 1925 Italian Romanesque-style church.
The Mt. Baker Presbyterian Church is one of the few examples of the Italian/Romanesque Revival-style architecture we have here in Seattle. Architect-buffs will know that this is pretty historically significant because the style of the church is so sparingly simple. It’s basilican plan and simple 85-foot bell tower are consistent with what many northern Italian churches looked like in the Middle Ages. While popular in Italy, it was pretty uncommon in Seattle.
Built in the early 1900s by local firm Albertson Architects (later Albertson, Wilson and Richardson), it was dedicated on March 22, 1925 - and granted Landmark Status in 2002.
The craziest part of all this? It cost $123,000 to construct. Second craziest thing? With the exception of the stained glass windows, the northwest brick patio area, and a back entry area, all the exterior fabric is original.
Brief History of the Church:
- 1902: George M. and Martha Taggart offered up their property at 34th Avenue South and South Horton Street for construction of a church. It was originally intended to be Methodist, as the majority of the neighborhood residents at that time where of that faith.
- 1906: The neighborhood went through a sizable shift from Methodist to Presbyterian, probably because of a popular Presbyterian minister named Reverend Mark Matthews. The two faiths shared the church for a while, until community members and church elders petitioned the Presbytery of Puget Sound to establish a Presbyterian church.
- 1910: The name of the church was changed to Mt. Baker Presbyterian Church
- 1915: The original church location was posing a problem for new Mt. Baker Park residents living on the west side of the ridge. A committee of women canvassed the area, asking for $10 donations to raise money to build a new building. They raised $1,000 in the first week - but the church leaders were still debating whether or not they should actually move or not.
- 1919: New paster Reverand William Major was installed, and he was very much in favor of a new church building. Among other things, there was a growing need for a larger Sunday school space. Major supposedly wanted to the church to be “high on the hill, with a tower that could be seen by all - from across Lake Washington, from over on Beacon Hill, and from all over our Mount Baker Community.”
- 1921: A lot on Hunter Boulevard and S. Hanford Street was purchased by the church. It was at the end of the Rainier Avenue Electric Railroad line at that time.
- 1924/1925: The cornerstone for the new church was laid, and the new building was dedicated.
- 2001: The Nisqually earthquake caused significant damage to the bell tower, and retrofitting took place - to be finally completed in 2003.
If you’re not busy, check out the Mt. Baker Home Tour Saturday December 2, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets can be bought online starting at $35, and the tour begins and ends at the Mount Baker Community Clubhouse.
Mt. Baker Home Tour
2811 Mt Rainier Drive South
Seattle, WA 98144
Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.