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Historical society's old headquarters set for demolition

The Fisher house, once home to the Historical Society of Federal Way, will be demolished.

The Historical Society used the old home, located near Fisher's Pond off 7th Avenue Southwest, for 11 years before moving its operations to the Steel Lake Annex in June. Set atop a small hill and hidden from street-level view, the place is now empty. It's a frequent target of vandalism, parks and facilities manager Steve Ikerd said. Its access points are boarded up, and its condition is considered poor.

Asbestos is present, Ikerd said. The foundation causes the floor to sag, and new electrical and plumbing is needed, said Diana Noble-Gulliford, the society's immediate past president. The stairs restrict wheelchair access and the parking lot is far from accommodating, she said.

"There were a lot of issues in that house that just did not make economic sense to change," Noble-Gulliford said.

The home, located on 14.5 acres, was built by Roy Fisher in 1947, according to the society's timeline. It was constructed one room at a time over an eight-year period while the family lived in a tent, according to the timeline. The Fishers sold the home to the City of Federal Way in 1994.

It served as the Historical Society's first permanent location, said Barbara Barney, the society's administrative assistant. Before locating to the house, the society called several different places home.

"We fought to get into that house," Barney said. "We had been a nomadic type of organization. We didn't really have a home (before the Fisher house)."

The house leaves something to be desired, but the grounds are beautiful, Barney said. A Monkey Pod tree and several hybrid rhododendrons are planted on the acreage.

"My biggest regret is we had to leave behind all the plants that were propagated by Roy Fisher," Barney said.

The city plans to instruct the contractor to save as many of the plants and trees as possible, especially those around the perimeter of the property, Ikerd said.

The demolition project will cost $24,482 including tax. The money will come from the Capital Improvement Projects for major facility rehabilitation fund.

"Unfortunately, tearing it down is probably a good thing in the long run," Noble-Gulliford said.

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