The Port Townsend Meditation Center came into existence when the founders discovered a building that matched their desire for a quiet, somewhat removed, yet still-accessible location.
Building 409, standing on the hill and surrounded by the trees of Fort Worden State Park, in Washington, was originally built by the Army to to serve as a warehouse for the batteries that stood in defense of the Puget Sound in the first decade of the 20th Century. Sometime during the 1950’s the building was given to the Navy who made some modifications and turned the storage space into a theater and entertainment venue.
When the entire fort was taken over by the State Park system in 1973 the area was designated as an historic district, and ‘409’ was listed as a building of interest. Since that time it has stood empty, under its hundred year slate roof, only occasionally entered by both vandals and bats. The windows and doors were covered with plywood but not until after they had been destroyed.
The ceiling of 1950’s acoustic tiles has fallen in. The floor of asbestos tiles is intact except for a two by two section in the very middle where the only roof leak has caused some buckling. The walls are graffitied and broken. The plumbing all removed. The wiring stripped. The loading dock rotted away. The foundation piers compromised. The siding dilapidated.
And yet, the building is basically sound.
You will see, from the gallery of images, that there is much work to do. But with the dedication of volunteers and the generosity of those who have already started to donate funds, we have begun the restoration of the building’s health, with an ambition to transform the space into a place of peace, meditation and learning.
We need, first, to clear out what is there, the bat guano, old drywall, ceiling panels, broken glass, unuseable studwalls, and a partially rotted sill beam. We need to insulate, re-wire electrics, repair windows, re-plaster, paint, rebuild the entire interior. We also need to restore the outside to the appearance it had when the first builders left it. This means repairing the siding, rebuilding windows and doors, replacing the loading dock and stairs, replacing the roof flashing, and painting. Because there has not been water or electric to the building for roughly fifty years all the sources of supply have to be rebuilt as well. Some of this work can be done by volunteers while much of it requires professional contractors.
We are planning a large main hall that can seat between 40 and 50 people on meditation benches along the walls, a smaller meditation room for up to eight people, an office, bathrooms, access for disabled, and a small kitchen. If you can contribute to the rebuilding project in any way please use the ‘Contact Page’ to reach out – or simply make a donation via the button below.