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Two Beloved old Landmarks make one Great New Museum

Breathes there a Lakewoodian with soul so dead he or she has never shed a single tear (metaphorically, at least) over the fate of the long-shuttered Lakewood Theater? If their recollections go back far enough, the Lakewood is more to them than just a beautiful old building—it’s the source of innumerable fond memories of 25¢ matinees and second-or-third-run features, often accompanied by romantic dramas unfolding in the balcony.

Lakewood Historical Society board members gather at the entryway to the old Terrace Restaurant on January 22, 2019 as property manager Bob Jones presents the Certificate of Occupancy and key to the museum’s future home to Society President Sue Scott.

To see the site of so much past enjoyment standing vacant and moldering now, thirty-five years after the last reel spooled through the projector, its proud spire and stately columns constantly reminding us of the waste of a potentially great public space…well, the thought of it ought to be enough to reduce even the most self-absorbed Seattleite to tears, never mind a native Lakewood son or daughter!

But if appeals to the heart don’t move you, how about one to the stomach? Again, it’s going back a ways, but if ever you sampled the exquisite cuisine served by the Terrace Restaurant…well, think hard enough about that long-gone Duckling a l’Orange or Beef Wellington and the tears should start coming…especially if you’re out driving…especially when you pass the fourth fast-food joint in a single block…!

To renovate and repurpose a restaurant into a museum is a massive undertaking. Shown here, the Fireplace Room, just one of many large spaces opening off the winding corridors for which the Terrace was known.

Well, dry those tears, ignore those stomach pangs, and take heart—new life has come to both restaurant and theater!

The Lakewood History Museum is proud to announce it has moved from its cramped quarters on the opposite side of the Colonial Center into its vast new space incorporating the lobby of the Lakewood Theater and the entire Terrace Restaurant. Look for the big “6114” on what was once the Terrace’s canopy—just to your left facing the theater—that now marks the entrance to the museum.

Just a few of the racks on which the museum’s collection is being temporarily stored. Because of the limited space at our previous location, only a small fraction of that collection has ever been seen by the public—a situation soon to be rectified in our spacious new home.

We’ll be offering free tours on Saturday, September 14th, 2019, 5 to 9 pm—the same day and time as the new Colonial Plaza’s grand opening and ribbon cutting. The museum faces the Plaza, Lakewood’s exciting new public space on Motor Avenue between Whitman Ave and Gravelly Lake Drive. Enhancing this previously somewhat neglected corridor in a manner both pedestrian-and-vehicle-friendly, Colonial Plaza is sure to be the ideal spot for bench-sitting, text-checking, bagel-munching, chatting up friends, bird and people watching, strolling…you name it. When it’s time to move on, you’ll appreciate the improved parking, the wider, freshly paved sidewalks—and (coming soon) some major works of public art.

As you stroll along the Plaza on the evening of the 14th, watch out—party time will be busting out all over! There’ll be dancing to live music from the band “Baking With Julia”, a kids’ karaoke booth, classic cars, a night market, food trucks— all kinds of fun family activities. And whatever you do, don’t forget to round out the evening with a tour of the new Lakewood History Museum—after all, it’s a historic occasion!

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