Key Peninsula Historical Society & Museum

Restoring the Hall

2016 – Vaughn Library Hall when we acquired it

The restoration of the Vaughn Library Hall is complete except for landscaping and interior displays.  Work started shortly after KPHS acquired it in 2016, and is now in the sixth of seven construction phases.  Our building permit was given a final sign-off on December 12, 2023.


Vaughn Library Hall exterior, 2023

Pre-construction work

  • Building condition: Almost 60 years had passed between the time the Vaughn Library Hall was sold to Harmon Van Slyke and when KPHS acquired it. The building hadn’t changed in shape, size or structure but its appearance was dramatically different both outside and inside.  New exterior siding had replaced a lot of the original.  Most original windows had been removed and new aluminum ones installed in different locations.  Interior walls and ceilings had been added making it look dramatically different from its original appearance.  See the photos below for a taste of what it looked like in 2016.

  • Building cleanup: Each room of the building was full of furniture and other items including many artifacts left from the days when it had been a library and meeting hall. KPHS volunteers spent many work sessions sifting through what was there.  In the end 100’s of artifacts, including many books with “Vaughn Bay Public Library Association” stamped inside, were found and carefully stored for future display.  Additional items not needed were sold and we were able to recycle quite a bit of the remainder.

  • Building analysis: A complete analysis of the building’s structure by a licensed structural engineer revealed that the building was still in generally good condition. Some new foundations and wall repairs would be required but that would not be unusual for a building over 100 years old.  New electrical and mechanical systems would be needed to replace the “knob and tube” wiring and the wood burning stoves.  The original window openings were found and, coupled with historic photos, we are able to match the original’s sizes, appearances and function.  New exterior and interior finishes would be required; luckily enough of the original finishes were found so we knew exactly what to use to restore accurately.

  • Hazardous materials: A full analysis was conducted before restoration work began. Asbestos was found in some of the floor tiles used when it was a residence.  These were abated by a licensed contractor.

  • Pierce County Historic Designation: In 2017, we submitted an application for historic designation to Pierce County. The County Counsel unanimously approved it later that year.

  • Washington State Historic Designation: Later in 2017, we submitted an application for historic designation to Washington’s Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP). This was unanimously approved in March 2018.

  • National Historic Designation: When we received state historic designation we were told by DAHP officials that we should apply for national historic designation once we complete a good portion of the restoration. They feel confident that, with enough of the building restored, we would have no problem being placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

2019 – Restoration work begins

Construction Status

We have divided the construction to restore Vaughn Library Hall into phases in order to complete the project in the most cost-effective way and to help focus fundraising. 

The re-roofing of the Hall was able to be delayed.  The existing asphalt shingle roof, while not historically correct, was fairly new when we acquired the Hall.  KPHS determined to re-roof the Hall a couple years after all else was completed and under a separate building permit.  This will allow us time to raise the additional funds.

We have completed Phases One to Five wherein we rebuilt foundations, repaired and finished the building’s exterior, installed new mechanical and electrical systems and finished all interior framing and finishes.  This was the scope of our building permit. 

Phase Six, exterior landscape and hardscape + interior displays, will start spring 2024 and Phase Seven, the new roof, will hopefully be done in 2025.

 We are currently completing Phase Six.

  • Phase One: Make structural repairs to the building’s foundations and exterior walls / roof. Install wall insulation.  Make the building secure and weathertight and install new exterior doors and windows.

  • Phase Two: Install historically accurate exterior finishes plus the new electrical service.

  • Phase Three: Finish the library room and open it to the public.

  • Phase Four: Complete all remaining interior framing in the building. Finish electrical system & install mechanical system

  • Phase Five: Complete all remaining work, mainly finishes, in order to secure final approval and sign-off of our building permit.

  • Phase Six: Install exterior walkways & landscaping + all furniture, equipment and display materials.

  • Phase Seven: Install an historically accurate shingle roof

Built by RH Tech LLC.