By Marianne Bull
Six privately owned historic homes in the Historic District of Steilacoom will be on view to the public from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 8. The tour, presented by the Steilacoom Historical Museum Association, will feature homes dating from 1858 through 1895. Of these, five were built when Washington was still a territory, and one built just after Washington achieved statehood. All the homes are within the Steilacoom Historic District, which has 30 structures listed and is recognized by the National Register of Historic Sites. There has not been a home tour in Steilacoom for almost forty years.
The tour includes Rolling Hill, built in 1858 by merchant Philip Keach, with its well tended garden overlooking Puget Sound. This home is placed separately on the National Register of Historic Sites and owned by the same family since 1937.
The homes are typical of their time period, including several with Gothic Revival styling, and one early summer home later moved up from the water to it’s present location when the railroad came through in 1912. They were owned by pioneers whose stories describe the beginnings of this region, such as Steven Appleby who was president of the National Bank of Tacoma and was instrumental in situating Fort Lewis on the Nisqually Plain or Wolf Shafer who established a successful brewery in town and later became Pierce County Treasurer.
Prices are $15.00 for Steilacoom Historical Museum Association members, or $20.00 for the general public. Both ticket categories will be available at the Museum, 1801Rainier Street, on weekends in May from 1 to 5 p.m. or on the day of the event at Perkins Park at the corner of Union and Martin Streets. General public tickets will also be available online after May 1 at www.steilacoomhistorical.org. Children under10 are discouraged.
On-street parking is available near all the stops on the tour. Several of the homes are within close walking distance. Steilacoom restaurants and coffee shops will be open during the day, and the Steilacoom Museum with the 1854 Nathaniel Orr Pioneer Home Site will be open from noon to 5:00.
Proceeds will benefit the Steilacoom Historical Museum Association. For further information, please contact the Museum at 253.584.4133.