On a spring day in 1991, twelve like-minded citizens of Quilcene sat at school lunchroom tables where they discussed honoring the unique history of the Quilcene area. They also wished to preserve the memory of native peoples and early European and Asian settlers. They decided to form a museum. Officers were chosen and commitments made for financial contributions.
In short order, local philanthropist and founding member, Eileen Worthington, donated a piece of land for the museum site. The Presbyterian Church sold a structure for $1.00 to become the museum building. Professional Quilcene house movers, John and Jeff Monroe, moved the building down the street to the corner of Columbia and Center Road. A two-year period of volunteer work by charter members and many community volunteers made the Quilcene Historical Museum ready for dedication on another spring day in 1993.
Families from the area generously donated artifacts, photographs, family histories and documents. Very quickly the museum outgrew its space. The volunteer board authorized a building addition and with funds from Jefferson County, the local community and in-kind contributions of materials and labor, the museum added new space. That addition, now the inviting entrance to the museum, provides space for research and reference materials as well as meeting space for museum business.
In July 2011, nearing the end of her life, Eilleen Worthington offered the museum a two-year purchase option to buy her home, the 1892 Victorian Mansion, the 1915 barn, two outbuildings, and ten acres, some bordering the Little Quilcene River. Thus began a Five Phase project called Worthington Park.
In 2013, the Quilcene Historical Museum purchased the Worthington Mansion, historic barn, several outbuildings, and ten acres. The project’s purpose was to save a rapidly deteriorating but culturally and historically important private residence and restore it as a community asset.
Worthington Park is now a beautiful multi-use facility owned by the Quilcene Historical Museum. It features ten acres of property including wide grassy meadows, unique fruit trees, a pond, a large part of the Little Quilcene River bank, an historic mansion, a vintage barn, and the Linger Longer Outdoor Theater.
Please visit www.WorthingtonParkQuilcene.org
The Museum’s Worthington Park project has, with other new community organizations, played a major role in fostering a significant increase in community revitalization and the start of several small businesses in Quilcene.
In January 2014, the Hamilton-Worthington House was given Washington State and later National Historic Trust historic designation. The Hamilton-Worthington mansion is the only remaining house of its size, integrity, and cultural relevance in rural Jefferson County.
Saving the Hamilton-Worthington House
Flash to the present in Summer 2016… With the hard work and dedication of passionate volunteers, the 5-Phase Worthington Park project is heading for the finish line. The new campaign,”Event Ready: Let’s Finish the Mansion!” promises to do just that, with even more help from our friends. Can you join us?
Quilcene Historical Museum Annual Report
Quilcene Historical Museum Board of Directors
Chair: Mari Phillips
Vice-Chair: Cleone Telling
Secretary: Larry McKeehan
Treasurer: Marty McCullough
Tim Van Berkom