Vets Restore: Climbing to the Top

King Street Station © 2013 Trevor Dykstra (flickr - architecturegeek)
King Street Station © 2013 Trevor Dykstra (flickr - architecturegeek)

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The first Vets Restore program is now in full swing, as the four veterans continue to attend an intensive summer preservation course at Seattle Central Community College Wood Technology Center. The internship component of Vets Restore is also underway. Every Friday the veterans work on-site at Historic Seattle’s Washington Hall with experienced contractor Rick Sever. The veterans are putting their classroom knowledge to the test, as they experience the ins and outs of true preservation work at this classic Seattle building.

We are also thrilled to announce that a Vets Restore informational video is now complete, thanks to NonFiction Media and other local talent. It features great interviews with preservationists and construction workers, and footage of many building rehab projects throughout King County, including Washington Hall and the newly restored King Street Station.

As a way to expose the veterans to a majestic finished preservation project, and spice up their normal lunch breaks, staff from 4Culture and the King County Veterans’ Program took them on a tour of King Street Station in all of its restored glory. Around noon we met them in the grand waiting room, where we all chowed down and took in the awe-inspiring plaster and tile work of the 1906 gem.

King Street Station © 2013 Trevor Dykstra (flickr - architecturegeek)
King Street Station © 2013 Trevor Dykstra (flickr – architecturegeek)

Our tour-guide informed us that old photographs allowed them to determine every original detail. We saw the beautifully restored windows, and new steel beams (that protect the tower from up to 8-magnitude earthquakes) intersecting the original internal infrastructure. We discovered a room housing all the molds used for the meticulous plasterwork, and began the great ascent through the clock tower.

After climbing 12 large flights of stairs, (which the veterans happily raced up, leaving us in the dust) we reached the resounding highlight of the tour: the top of the clock tower. At varying levels of exhaustion we examined the original clockwork mechanisms, and gigantic translucent clocks before climbing the historic spiral iron staircase to the lookout deck.

Peering over the stadiums, and buildings of Pioneer Square into the distance of Puget Sound, adrenaline levels were high, and the overall success of the trip assured us that future Vets Restore outings are certainly in order.

Interested in finding out more about Vets Restore? Visit our website at www.vetsrestore.org find us on facebook at www.facebook.com/vetsrestore or contact us:

•    Flo Lentz, Preservation 4Culture, at (206) 296-8682

•    Heather Dwyer, Arts 4Culture at (206) 296-8676

Story written by Vets Restore intern, Maura Schlagel