Fircrest Chapel and Forest supporters gather at Dunn Gardens

Friday, May 28, 2021

Fircrest Chapel supporters gather at Dunn Gardens
Photo by Lance Young

Last Friday a wonderful group gathered to celebrate and defend the Fircrest Chapel and Forest. It was a beautiful May evening and over 25 garden and history enthusiasts came together to hear about the current challenges facing the historic Naval Hospital Chapel and its surrounding Forest Canopy at Fircrest School in Shoreline.

A legal appeal was filed on Thursday, May 20, 2021 by the Shoreline Preservation Society to the Shoreline City Council to challenge the last decision by the King County (Shoreline) Landmarks Commission. 

That decision was to give back approximately 1/5 of the historic forest which was recently landmarked just in January, to DSHS (Department of Social and Health Services), who implied it wanted an additional parking lot there.

Fircrest Chapel signs at the Dunn Gardens gathering place
Photo by Lance Young

This action would put the Chapel itself at risk potentially by removal of over 30 significant trees at the toe of the hillside where the historic building rests. The Chapel and its forest are potentially at risk from all sides because of possible development plans for new facilities and housing proposals.

The Chapel was built in 1944 during the height of WWII, and envisioned by Captain Joel T. Boone as a place for the injured sailors being treated at the hospital and their families to find a respite in the forest.

The beautiful Dunn Gardens was an inspirational
setting to talk about saving trees. Photo by Lance Young
Commander Boone was ahead of his time in his understanding that the forest has a restorative ability that soldiers returning from battle find curative after the trauma they may have suffered.

It was fitting to have the Garden event at Dunn Gardens because that site is on the National Register of Historic Places, as the Chapel and its Forest are eligible for as well.

The Chapel was the very first freestanding, inter-denominational Naval Hospital Chapel built in America.

It would indeed be an amazing asset for Shoreline to have this place recognized Nationally and SPS believes this should be the goal.

SPS is so grateful to Dunn Gardens and all of the wonderful folks who are supporting us in this effort.

Folks are invited to still donate as they see fit at our website here: www.preserveshoreline.org

--Janet Way



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