Alki Homestead/ Fir Lodge
Address: 2717 61st Ave. S.W.
Date Built: 1903-1904
Original Architect/Builder: Fred L. Fehren
Owner: Tom Lin
Description: This one and one-half story building, constructed of 24” diameter logs, is one of the few historic log structures remaining in Seattle. It represents one of the earliest extant structures in West Seattle’s Alki neighborhood—the “Birthplace of Seattle.”
Building History and Significance:
Fir Lodge, c.1905 / Photo: Courtesy SWSHS/Log House Museum
Constructed in 1903-1904 as a country estate for Gladys and William Bernard, the log house, then known as Fir Lodge, was built overlooking Alki Beach in the remote wooded city of West Seattle. Sold to the Seattle Auto Club in 1907, the house’s setting was incrementally urbanized by the appearance of tourist venues and residential subdivisions. From 1950 until 2009, the building operated as the popular Alki Homestead restaurant. In 1996, the Southwest Seattle Historical Society successfully nominated the building as a Seattle Landmark.
Alki Homestead/Fir Lodge After Fire / Photo:Eugenia Woo
On January 16, 2009, an electrical fire caused damage to the interior and roof of the Alki Homestead, prompting the immediate closure of the restaurant. While the building’s owner made emergency repairs to the roof to protect the interior from further exposure to the elements, a plan to demolish the City Landmark and build a new “ Homestead” and new construction in the adjacent parking lot was proposed in fall of 2009. Because of the landmark’s uncertain fate, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation listed the log building as one of their 2009 Most Endangered Historic Properties.
“This Place Matters” Rally, July 4, 2010/ Photo: Jean Sherrard
In the months after the fire, the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, and Historic Seattle all encouraged the timely rehabilitation of the Landmark property. In addition to directly supporting the work of the grassroots committee that eventually formed in 2009, Historic Seattle has offered technical assistance to the property owner regarding incentives for Landmarks and the Certificate of Approval process with the Landmarks Preservation Board. Historic Seattle has also offered to sponsor a structural assessment of the building to further encourage a path to its successful preservation. On July 4, 2010, the grassroots committee (made up of the previously mentioned heritage and preservation organizations and 4Culture), staged a mass photo shoot in front of the Homestead with a sign declaring, “This Place Matters.” In July 2010 the building’s owner expressed interest in selling the Alki Homestead property.
Alki Homestead/ Fir Lodge Landmark Nomination (PDF)
Landmark Designating Ordinance
MAin2 Blog Coverage
Extensive West Seattle Blog Coverage
Log House Museum Website
Seattle Then & Now
"This Place Matters” Official Photograph and Video
"SLIDESHOW: 'This Place Matters” highlights the historic significance of Alki Homestead"
West Seattle Herald, July 4, 2010
"Alki Homestead owner will sell to save it for $2 million"
West Seattle Herald, July 3, 2010
"Rally and mass photo aim to help restore Homestead Restaurant"
Seattle Times, June 26, 2010
"Homestead Inn owner Tom Lin supports ‘protest’ sentiment"
West Seattle Herald, June 9, 2010
"Alki Homestead Inn owner’s plans delayed by Catch-22"
West Seattle Herald, April 25, 2010
"Alki Homestead Inn's fate decided soon by Board"
West Seattle Herald, December 7, 2009
"Alki Homestead: Decision soon to repair or replace"
West Seattle Herald, October 12, 2009
"Alki Homestead named on state's 'most endangered list"
West Seattle Herald, May 22. 2009
"Homestead won't re-open for at least a year, says owner"
West Seattle Herald, March 25, 2009
"Homestead owner says he will restore the landmark, in time"
West Seattle Herald, March 24, 2009
"Fire damages landmark West Seattle Homestead Restaurant"
Seattle Times, January 17, 2009