Des Moines’ historic Dining Hall renovations to be unveiled July 1

DH Ribbon Cutting V2

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A grand opening celebration for the Dining Hall, built in 1934 and located in the Covenant Beach Bible Camp Historic District at Des Moines Beach Park (former home to the City’s Senior Services) will be held on Wednesday, July 1, from 4 – 6 p.m.

This hall has been closed since 2002 due to the Nisqually Earthquake and Des Moines Creek flood damage.

Since that time, the City of Des Moines has worked extensively with federal, state, King County and heritage leaders to save, preserve and reopen this iconic building.

The Dining Hall was designed by Marvel Johnson, a former camper and one of the first female graduates of the University of Washington School of Architecture. The Covenant Beach Bible Camp Historic District consists of eight rustic craftsman style camp buildings influenced by Swedish heritage located within the eighteen acre Des Moines Beach Park located at 22030 Cliff Avenue South in Des Moines, Washington. The setting includes Des Moines Creek which opens onto the saltwater beach of Puget Sound, archaeological components, natural features and a system of paths and trails connecting to the Des Moines Marina.

Phased construction projects over an eight year period include: Phase 1 (2008): Structural stabilization and construction of a new steel foundation spanning the creek, lifting the building three feet above the 100 year flood level, disconnection and capping and/or removal of deteriorated building utilities at a cost of $1,207,011; Phase 2 (2011-2012): Construction of ADA access to the building via ramps, decking and the replacement of exterior apron around building at a cost of $476,450. Phase 3 (2012) Modifications to Des Moines Creek with an extensive berm walls, deepening and widening of the creek to keep it within its banks and to protect the Historic District at a cost of $1,241,892 and Phase 3 (2013-2015) Reopening of the Dining Hall and Kaffe Stuga construction to install structural posts, beams and framing, repair dry rot, replace insulation and plywood sheer walls, install a fire suppression system and grease trap, update interior restrooms for ADA access, replace and reconnect utilities, plumbing, mechanical, electrical and HVAC systems, replace flooring, restore windows, replace doors, replace roof, gutters, downspouts, repair exterior siding and trim, add exterior lighting and paint the building at a cost of $1,292,623.

Giving credit to the champions that worked with the City of Des Moines to save this resource by providing matching funds totaling $1,934,000 include: 4Culture, King County Preservation Office, Washington Department of Commerce and Economic Development, Washington Historic Commission and Washington Heritage Capital Fund with leadership by former Gov. Christine Gregoire, State Senator Karen Keiser and State Representatives Tina Orwall and Dave Upthegrove, and King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Giving praise to the people and organizations that advocated tirelessly to save this resource include: Artifacts, Des Moines Creek Basin Committee, Des Moines Historical Society, Des Moines Landmarks Commission, Des Moines Legacy Foundation, Northwest Covenant Church Council, Seattle Southside Visitors Services, Washington Department of Archeology, Historic Preservation, and, especially to the current and past Des Moines Mayor and City Council’s who’s vision for the City is: An inviting, livable, safe waterfront community embracing change for the future while preserving our past. Lastly, this project would not have come to pass with the tireless leadership, dedication and passion of former Councilmembers Carmen Scott and Susan White.


  • Other events that day include the Smoke on the Water Barbecue from 5:30 – 7 p.m.
  • Opening Summer Concert with Joey Jewell and the Swingn’ Sixties Orchestra at 7 p.m.
  • The Wednesday Sunset Farmers Market also open in the Marina July 1, from 3-7 p.m.


3 Responses to “Des Moines’ historic Dining Hall renovations to be unveiled July 1”
  1. AB in DM says:

    So, what kind of food will they be serving in this dining hall Mayor Kaplan???

    $4.2 MILLION taxpayer dollars for some worthless monument to local politicians. Embarrassing. That money would have been better spent protecting the citizens of Des Moines with more cops ! A willful suspension of disbelief of the city’s skyrocketing crime. Totally irresponsible.

    Somebody please explain how this thing is going to actually help the city? These are expensive narcissistic aesthetics for a broke city.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 22

    • Duhhhh Moines says:

      I love how the city council uses this forum to push their bullcrap on the public. Capital project eh? How about put that 4.2 million into a new Boardwalk that can withstand bad weather? Oh that’s right, the council didn’t consider that project because they don’t give a crap about Redondo. They would rather preserve some old ass building that tax payers don’t care about.

      Rate: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  2. Dave Kaplan says:

    AB, the historic Des Moines Beach Park Dining Hall received capital funds. Those are monies that can only be spent on CAPITAL projects, not for salaries and operating expenses. Most of the money came from the state, not from the City. You’re comparing apples and oranges.

    The Dining Hall will be available for public events and private rental.

    Well-liked. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 3

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