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Monday, January 28, 2013

History of St. Luke's Memorial Episcopal Church


St. Luke's, an exact replica of an English country church, was built in 1882-83 by Charles B. Wright as a memorial to his wife, Susan and beloved daughter, Kate. First constructed on a downtown Tacoma street, the church served as the pro-cathedral for the Missionary Diocese. In 1883 the Tacoma Daily Leader described the building as "the handsomest and costliest edifice for public worship in Washington Territory."

In spite of its auspicious beginning, St. Luke's went through sad days in the 1920's, finally closing in 1926. Sold to Dynamite Dunn's construction company in 1933, the deteriorating structure was spared the wrecker's ball when the Reverent Arthur Bell and Bishop Lemuel H. Wells, rector of St. Luke's in its early days, instigated a plan to move the abandoned building stone by stone to its present site in Tacoma's north end. After more than twelve years of faithful labor, the church was re-constructed in 1947.

Tacomans now enjoy many legacies resulting from the outreach work of St. Luke's bishops, rectors, and parishioners, among them Tacoma General Hospital, Annie Wright School, Faith Homes and the Tacoma Hospice Program.

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