One need look no further than the many street signs bearing the names of area pioneer families for indication that the rich history of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley remains all around us. This is especially true at Dungeness, the original county seat and where some of the oldest buildings and historically significant places in Clallam County are found.
The public is invited to explore that history firsthand on the Dungeness Historic Homes Tour from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, June 18.
The self-driving tour, sponsored by the Museum & Arts Center in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley, features guided tours of six historical homes, barns and structures in Dungeness, as well as five additional points of interest.
Featured tour locations include the Henderson House (ca. 1880), Eberle Barn (ca. mid-1920s), Cline House (ca. 1892), and its accompanying barn (ca. 1934), and the Wheeler-Cays Barn (ca. 1947), which was converted into a home in recent years. Groveland Cottage, which was moved from its original location at New Dungeness in the early 1900s by area entrepreneur and builder Charles Franklin Seal and now a bed-and-breakfast, also is featured on the tour.
Owners of the featured tour locations and MAC volunteers will host visitors at each locale, providing historical information and assisting in guided tours of each structure. In addition, refreshments will be served on tour day at the historical Dungeness Schoolhouse, which was built in 1892 and also is a featured tour location.
Tickets for the one-day tour are now available at the MAC Exhibit Center, 175 W. Cedar St. in Sequim. Tickets purchased in advance are $15 for adults and $5 for children aged 12 or younger. Brochures that include a driving map and location details will be provided at the time of ticket purchase. Proceeds from the tour support continued MAC events and programming.
Tickets also may be purchased on tour day at each featured location via cash or check for $18 for adults and $5 for children. Credit cards will be accepted only at the MAC Exhibit Center, which will be open on tour day. Transportation for the tour is not provided.
“There is just so much charm in this house. I love the kitchen with the red floors and yellow walls,” new Sequim resident Christine Holm said of the Henderson House, which her family is renting for the month. “We’re from Irvine, Calif., where all the homes are cookie-cutter and about the same. It was so nice to come here and see a house that has character and is all its own.”
That same sentiment is what drew Charlie and Barbara Steel to purchase the fully-restored 1892 Cline House and its accompanying 74-foot barn about three years ago. In that time, the couple has taken an active approach to learning about the history of the property, as well as that of the Cline family, and has begun implementing plans to convert the barn into a home.
Charlie Steel said the exterior look of the barn will be maintained, with the addition of a shake roof, while inside the renovations include building a calligraphy studio, workshop and living quarters.
“To me, it’s like a cathedral. It’s such a great space,” Barbara Steel said of the barn, which was the site of community barn dances and sporting events. “You have to admit, for a barn built in 1934, it’s in phenomenal structural shape.”
In addition to the tour of Dungeness homes, the MAC plans to develop several additional history-related tours in the next few years, said MAC Executive Director DJ Bassett. Event planning is under way to hold a Sequim-Dungeness Valley cemetery tour in the fall and research has begun on developing one or more maps for historical tours through Sequim.
“We’re doing the Dungeness tour because it’s a great time of year and it’s a great time in our local history to see these historic buildings from the inside out,” Bassett said. “But it’s not just about the structures. It’s an opportunity to talk to some of the descendants of the earliest pioneers and get glimpses into the lives of the pioneers who settled here and helped shape this area.”
Those interested in helping develop future history-based tours, including conducting historical research and/or having one’s property featured on a tour, are asked to contact MAC research manager Tim Thompson at 681-2257 or email@example.com.
Through its many engaging educational programs and events, and rotating local history and featured art exhibits, the Museum & Arts Center in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley continues its mission of serving as the steward of Sequim’s cultural heritage. For more information, call the MAC Exhibit Center at 683-8110 or visit the MAC website at www.macsequim.org.