First United Methodist Church

Status: Saved!

Year Listed: 2003

Location: Seattle, King County

The 1907 Beaux Arts First United Methodist Church is the only historic church left standing in Seattle’s downtown commercial core. While eligible for national, state, and local landmark status, the church has successfully fought such designation at the local level.

There are times we simply fall in love with buildings and cannot help ourselves. Such was the case for Kevin Daniels and First United Methodist Church in Seattle. Looking to capitalize on valuable land prices, the congregation sought to sell their half block downtown, with the goal of constructing a new church elsewhere scaled to meet their needs. Advocates in turn sought local landmark status for the historic sanctuary to stave off demolition, but state Supreme Court rulings prevent such listing without owner consent.

Recognizing demolition as imminent, Kevin worked with local elected officials, congregation members, and advocates to return trust to the process and ultimately purchase the site. After waiting patiently through the recession, Kevin and his team re-introduced the historic house of worship at a gala event last fall. Now a dynamic events venue, The Sanctuary stands in the heart of downtown as a truly heroic success story.