History of Mukilteo’s first church preserved

By Sara Bruestle | Mar 05, 2014
Courtesy of: Mukilteo Historical Society This photo from 1908 is of the congregation of Mukilteo's first church, which still stands on Park Avenue.

The first church of Mukilteo still stands on Park Avenue, though it’s now technically a salon.

The non-denominational church at 731 Park Ave. built about 110 years ago is now the Park Avenue Salon & Spa.

Owners Chris and Brenda DeForest shared the history of the first church of Mukilteo at the Mukilteo Historical Society meeting on Feb. 13.

“I view this as a landmark building in Old Town,” Chris DeForest said. “Anytime I see (old) pictures of it, I’m just amazed. It’s hard to believe the fact that the building has survived all this time.”

The church was built circa 1903 and served as a place of worship to Christians of all denominations, as well as for town meetings and celebrations. Around 1913, the church became the Church of the Nazarene.

Other churches were soon built in the blocks around the Nazarene church – the Mukilteo Presbyterian Church built in 1907, then St. John’s Catholic church in 1919 and the Christian Missionary Alliance Church in 1915.

The building stayed the Church of the Nazarene until about 1975, when the congregation relocated to Lynnwood.

After the church closed, the building was repurposed as a business center. An apartment was added to the top floor. Since then, it housed an artist studio, hair salon, massage parlor and more.

In about 1978, the building was purchased by Dave Titus, who remodeled it and re-named it the Titus Building. His sign is still there, left by the DeForests as a link to the past.

“When he got the building, he did a lot of repairs to it,” Chris DeForest said. “I think he saved the building from a really bad fate.”

When Titus died, his sister inherited the building in his will. She kept it until she too passed away.

Ron and Rita Spelhaug, who owned Spelhaug Appraisal, bought the building from the state in 1990 and operated their business there for seven years.

That’s when the DeForests bought the church in 1997. They opened the Park Avenue Salon that year.

“I always thought it was such a cute little building,” Brenda DeForest said, who is a hairstylist. “Clients coming in will say ‘Oh, I just love this building.’ They come here just because they want to get their hair done here.”

The DeForests have renovated and restored the building from top to bottom, keeping the appearance of the church as unchanged as possible, as a way to preserve the history.

“The building was in disrepair when we got it,” Chris DeForest said. “It was in really rough shape. It had wiring and plumbing issues, the roof leaked and there was a lot of powder post beetle damage.

“It’s been a huge source of pride with what we’ve been able to do with the building.”

For example, the DeForests restored the original siding because all of it came from Mukilteo’s Crown Lumber Co. more than 100 year ago.

They also had an old pew from the Nazarene church turned into the waiting bench at the salon upstairs, and have kept all of the original windows and two stained glass pieces. One piece is in the foyer ceiling and another is in a directory box, next to the Spa on Park Avenue on the first floor.

The old steeple from the church is on display in the top apartment, where the DeForests reside. It was replaced in 2000.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.