Historical society seeks city money | History raises property values

The Historical Society of Federal Way has helped with the renovations of the Barker Cabin, along with the adjacent Denny Cabin, on South 348th Street. - Mirror file photo
The Historical Society of Federal Way has helped with the renovations of the Barker Cabin, along with the adjacent Denny Cabin, on South 348th Street.
— image credit: Mirror file photo

The Historical Society of Federal Way wants more money from the city.

During the Nov. 29 mid-biennium budget adjustment public hearing, society president Diana Noble-Gulliford thanked the city council for its past support, but said she’d like to see an increase in funding to levels similar to other local cities.

“The society is in need of additional support from the city that would be equal to the support that surrounding cities provide their heritage organizations,” she said. “Examples are City of Auburn: $300,000 (a year). City of Renton: $216,220. City of Shoreline: $63,000. City of Fife: $50,000.”

Noble-Gulliford noted that these amounts do not pertain to capital projects or purchases, but are part of the city budgets. Noble-Gulliford hopes city funding would help the society become a more active organization in Federal Way.

Noble-Gulliford said she’s not aware of any direct funding from the city right now. She said the society gets a small amount of funding from King County 4Culture for maintenance/operations, and that some money comes from the Federal Way Arts Commission. The largest funding source for the society is membership fees.

“The additional support requested is needed in order for the society to provide quality programs and exhibits,” said. Examples of this include reaching out to Federal Way schools with local history resources, hiring an administrator with museum experience or knowledge, completing the restoration of Denny Cabin, maintaining the Steel Lake annex and developing a brochure on historic sites in Federal Way.

Outside of a request for funding, Noble-Gulliford also suggested the city adopt a historical preservation ordinance for historical buildings, homes and properties in the city. When cities do this, she said, those property values increase. This also helps the historical society obtain grant funding from other sources.

With Federal Way Public Schools asking voters to support the rebuilding/remodeling of Federal Way High School, Noble-Gulliford posed a question to the council regarding the community’s collective memory of the school.

“This school was initially built in 1929, and is the city’s namesake. What memories are there, of this school, over the decades? Will it become a new contemporary building, without any trace of the historic building that once stood there?” she asked.

Noble-Gulliford said the historical society had recently created a Facebook page and posted a picture of Denny Cabin, asking people to share their memories of the cabin.

“Local history is personal. It’s not meant to be kept in a file cabinet or locked up in a vault.”

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