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Friday, January 1, 2010

Committee to Save Our Shoreline Historical Museum

Committee to Save Our Shoreline Historical Museum


Co Chairs – State Representative Maralyn Chase & Former Shoreline City Councilmember Janet Way
Vicki Westberg
Elaine Phelps
Jan Stewart
Mamie Bolender
Boni Biery

Dear Friends:

This is an open letter to all who care about saving history in Shoreline and our Historical Museum.

It is becoming clear that a new organization must be formed to stand up for our threatened Shoreline Historical Museum for our communities of Shoreline, Lake Forest Park and North Seattle. It is a Registered Historic Landmark and invaluable cultural asset for our City.

The Shoreline School District is moving forward with their plans to renovate (rebuild) the Shorewood HS and unfortunately the current plan includes no concept to save the museum. Instead they plan to “incorporate the Ronald School for shared use with the Shoreline Historical Museum”, according to their recent newsletter. However, this statement does not accurately represent the situation the museum is in. They are the owners of the building, but since the district owns the property, they are basically being evicted and asked to destroy their current institution and “settle” for whatever space is left.

Simply put, this plan will destroy the Shoreline Historical Museum, which is the cornerstone for our local culture and precedes the existence of the city itself.

This is unacceptable.

So a group is coming together to help publicize and make the case for saving the museum. Our Committee to Save Our Shoreline Historical Museum will garner support from other entities in our region and endeavor to inform citizens about the situation, especially during this immediate timeframe of the School Bond election.

To be clear, this organization is not opposed to renovation of our HS or the School Levy. We are simply opposed to any effort which would displace or undermine our community asset, the Shoreline Historical Museum. We believe these goals are compatible and that the Ronald School and Museum can live beside the Shorewood HS complex in harmony.
Just as the plans for the new Shorewood High School include a performance venue that can be used by the community as part of the Town Center, shouldn't the Town Center also include this "first town center" building? It is important to keep this building and the history it embodies. It was the original town center for Shoreline and the educational value of the building and the museum and it’s “living history” cannot be understated.

We support our schools, our community and especially promoting our local cultural assets in order to promote the economic well being of Shoreline, Lake Forest Park and our region.

We invite you to join us in an effort to preserve our community identity by preserving our history. There is much work to do, but great hope of success if we act now!

If you would like to be a member of our committee, please join us.
Contact us at
206-734-5545 or 206-365-4477, email


Janet Way
940 NE 147th St
Shoreline, WA 98155

Shoreline Historical Museum Facts:

• The Museum has Historic Landmark status
• The Historical Museum has been in existence since 1976
• The museum has received and matched grant funding from many governmental and non-profit entities including: WA State, King County, City of Shoreline, 4Culture and many others for over $1.5 million of taxpayer dollars to date. This figure does not even include the ongoing operating funding, provided by the City of Shoreline and Lake Forest Park.
• The Ronald School was built in 1912 and served as a school building until 1971
• The Ronald School was built on property donated by Judge James T Ronald. He was one of the pioneers who settled the Shoreline area, and former Mayor of Seattle.
• The Shoreline Historical Museum is a vital part of our “Town Center” and represents a crucial part of our local Cultural and Historic identity of Shoreline


  1. What a rare opportunity this would be to show students, in real life, that we do respect our past, by saving this historic building and the history housed inside it as part of their High School campus. I understand that some students have chosen to volunteer at the museum and thus earned community service credit required in our Shoreline district. It's a wonderful opportunity to learn what is involved in preserving the past. This historic structure cannot be replicated at any cost. Make room for history.

  2. Thank you for creating this site and forum to communicate.

    So, I'm not the only one who is NOT finding a clear, straighforward, complete, honest, and reliable answer by the district as to their plans for the Museum and the historic building. Hmmm, what's up with that? There sure is a lot of touting of the obvious huge selling point of cheap building costs. I feel like the district has no heart for history or something. Please, don't let it be so. I do have a heart and a need for learning history and I want my child to have the opportunity to visit such a nice museum on our local history.

  3. How sad to think that you believe we cannot support our children's schools AND the museum. The Bond supports the building of two High Schools which would both be lost if the bond is not passed. The current Shorewood HS plan (which incorporates both the Ronald School building and the museum) is not necessarily the final design as the district has maintained from the start that it will not make a final decision until the museum issue is settled. I have been following this process from the beginning and have wondered from the start why the museum supporters are not seeking a better venue for the Ronald School building. It has been a year since the School District said it could not in good conscience extend the current museum contract - and that entire year has been spent in maligning the School District instead of working on a solution.

    I feel strongly that the original Board that built the Ronald School would be appalled that their building could block improvement of the learning conditions of our students. Let the history of Shoreline show continued support of education and its environment by all of its members - and teach our children how we work together to solve problems instead of undermining one project to maintain another.

    Our children deserve a safe, self-sustaining environment to learn in. I have four children in the school district and know well the problems the various buildings have. We cannot wait to improve them.

    Save our museum - VOTE YES FOR THE SCHOOL BOND!
    Kendahl Adjorlolo, Shoreline mother and voter

  4. In response to the above (Adjor...):

    In trying to stick to the facts: What contract have you seen that would allow the district to bail out of it just because they want to? The only contract I've seen is the quit claim deed which allows for only the museum to continue using the building as long as they want to. And that deed was legally filed. Unless the district's conscience tells them that history is just not as important as getting access to that old historic building no matter what, I don't see any logic to what you are saying.

  5. The discussion and legal analysis can be found at The more I look at the design for Shorewood, the more impressed I am with the way they plan to refurbish the historic landmark - returning it to its original intended use and still allowing space for the museum to use it.

    No one has told me how the museum board plans to address the issues of safety in an aging structure should the Ronald School remain completely untouched...

  6. Dear Kendhl (Adjor),

    I thought I'd weigh in on your questions.

    1. If the School District does the proposed "renovation" they mention in their materials or as they're now suggesting, follows through on the "MOVING the building" proposal, the Ronald School will no longer be a Historic Landmark, as it is now. There are tight guidelines that must be followed in such a restoration. Any major renovation would displace the Museum from the site for at least a year. This would be a major disruption to their programs and the integrity of the building.

    2. The building has already undergone extensive retrofitting paid for by taxpayer dollars and matching funds raised in a capital campaign since 1989. This included repair of many details and also accessibility improvements with an elevator. It has undergone extensive seizmic improvements already, as well. These renovations were adequate for a building which accomodates certain levels of usage by visitors.

    Changing it to HS student use would naturally involve much more extensive, and expensive work. This would also mean the Museum would have to be vacated for probably a year and all of the artifacts would have to be carefully stored. This would also entail great expense.

    I hope these answers address some of your questions.
    Please call the Historical Museum for more details if you wish.



  7. I recommend you buy the old Sugars property and move the museum there. It would be terrific for our city.