PHOTOS: Scenes from Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting at renovated Dining Hall

Late Wednesday afternoon (July 1), local dignitaries, residents and former campers gathered in the sweltering heat for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the newly-restored Des Moines Beach Park Dining Hall, also known as the Covenant Beach Bible Camp.

Built in 1934 and located in the Covenant Beach Bible Camp Historic District at Des Moines Beach Park, the building 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 18-acre Des Moines Beach Park. 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.

Scott Schaefer was on hand and he took these photos (click images to see larger versions/slideshow):











Here’s more info on this project:

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.


3 Responses to “PHOTOS: Scenes from Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting at renovated Dining Hall”
  1. AB in DM says:

    Should you ever enter this monument to profoundly-unwise votes, gaze upon the prominent bronze plaque in the lavish foyer, ponder the poor decisions of the Councilmembers ensconced there and ask yourself: “Could this money have been better spent protecting the citizens of Des Moines against the scourge of citywide crime?”

    Then ask Mayor-Chef Kaplan for an slice of humble pie at his expensive new “Historic” dining hall.

    Bon-apatite’ Des Moines. Elections have consequences.

  2. Kittenfuud says:

    I grew up going to Vacation Bible Camp at Covenant Beach. It IS an historic place. Why someone would leave such an ill-informed comment eludes me. Do you know about Covenant Beach and what it was about? Google. My best friend’s Grandma lived in one of the larger cabins up the road – probably demolished now – she was from Sweden so it made all the Swedish touches real to all friends and family. I took my own kids there in around 2002 and they were renovating it then, putting in playground equipment (I don’t think they had a plan atty that point, the playground disappeared!) But the old buildings were mostly still there. I’m glad I was able to give them a taste of what I experienced in the 60s and 70s. I was even able to show them the overpass waaay into the woods over the creek that probably aren’t there now either! (I admit I was mad that whomever was running the show had turned the Tabernacle into a haunted house though. That’s Holy Ground.) Please, AB in DM, a plaque is a tiny expense compared to what they did renovation-wise. I miss you, Covenant Beach.

  3. Kittenfuud says:

    Oh! I forgot to mention Mrs. Halverson!! What a memory jolt seeing her name on that rolling pin! Thank you so much for that!
    (She said, 4 years after publication

Share Your Opinion

By participating in our online comment system, you are agreeing to abide by the terms of our comment policy.

...and oh, if you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!