The building in the 1950s, before undergoing remodeling. Photo courtesy Key Peninsula Historical Society

The Vaughn Community Church building has a new owner, after having been offered for sale, off and on, since September 2002, at an initial asking price $30,000 above the final sale price. This last time on the market, it took only six days to locate a buyer.

The ownership transfer took place on Oct. 30, 2006; new owners are Russel A. and Kristi M. Stockdale of Woodinville. Most recently listed at $750,000, and sold on a warranty deed for $761,000, the 1.66-acre parcel has 152 feet of low-bank waterfront, and carries a “religious” universal use code within R-10 zoning.

According to a previous church member, original donors of the land upon which the church is built intended the site to be used for religious-based purposes into perpetuity. The church membership is moving to a new location and eventually, a new building. The actual church site and existing building are now under private ownership. The building was involved in a fire last year, after which time church services had to be held at a different location.

In a telephone interview, Russel Stockdale said an architect has been hired to see what can be accomplished with the existing structure, as it has been severely smoke-damaged from the sanctuary fire. The blaze was so hot, he said  the upholstery melted from chairs at the other end of the church, and a computer in the balcony also melted.

The building, recently damaged by fire, has a beautiful view of Vaughn Bay, and has been used for many community celebrations. Photo by Frank Slater

Expressing both delight with their purchase, and surprise that it occurred so fast, Stockdale said, “(My wife and I) are extremely deliberate people. It’s not like us to look at a property one day and just a few days later, buy it. But when we first saw Vaughn Bay, we knew that was where we wanted to find a place to have a family retreat.” They like everything about their purchase — the community, the neighborhood, the bay itself.

Stockdale says they had been thinking about a gathering place for their extended family for some time. Originally from University Place, where his parents and siblings still live, he “crossed the bridge many times” during his childhood, and was familiar with the Gig Harbor/Key Peninsula areas. Kristi Stockdale’s family is Seattle-based. The couple does not anticipate a move to the peninsula, and will be using the site for family celebrations and gatherings.

Themselves Christians, the Stockdales are pleased to know the proceeds from their purchase are going to the Vaughn Community Church “to further their plans.” They acknowledge the history of the property and the special place it holds in many hearts; their plans are that it continues to be a place where many happy memories are fondly recalled as it is transformed into a private family retreat.

Church officials could not be reached before deadline.

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