Naval Hospital Chapel Landmark Designation

Sunday, March 20, 2022

By Janet Way

It’s official! The Seattle Naval Hospital Chapel has been designated a historic landmark by the Shoreline Landmarks Commission and the King County Historic Preservation Program.

The Shoreline Preservation Society (SPS) received this certificate denoting the official designation.

SPS worked with funding from 4Culture and with historical consultants at Northwest Vernacular, Shoreline Historical Museum, and dozens of other organizations and community members to tell the story of the Chapel and ensure it was properly designated for its unique place in World War II history.

The Chapel was completed on the campus of what is now Fircrest School in 1944, at the Naval Hospital built to treat sailors wounded in the Pacific Theater during the war. 

It is the very first non-denominational, freestanding Naval Hospital Chapel in America. It was built because Captain J.T. Boone, the commander of the base, was inspired by the surrounding forest and believed that patients recovering from their wounds needed a place of respite and beauty to heal. 

The groundbreaking was in June 1943, and it was completed with meticulous local craftsmanship in the neo-Tudor style, with beautiful rustic woodworking and period lighting in the interior.

Naval Hospital Chapel photo by Janet Way

This site is the only remaining example of Shoreline’s contribution to the war effort. And the Chapel is still uniquely inspirational in its wooded setting. The surrounding Forest was also designated a Landmark because of its distinct relationship with the building.

Captain (later Vice Admiral) Boone was also a remarkable part of the story because he was the most decorated medical officer in the history of the U.S. armed services. He received the Medal of Honor for bravery under fire as a doctor during World War I and was awarded numerous other medals, including the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, and Bronze Star. He also served three presidents as their physician.

Shoreline Preservation Society will continue advocating for further designation of the Chapel and Forest on the National Register of Historic Places, for which it is highly eligible.


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