St. Nicholas Church

Status: Watch List

Year Listed: 2013

The first settlers of Gig Harbor were predominantly of Croatian origin, were fishermen, and were Catholic, thus construction of a Roman Catholic Church was an early and important goal of the community. In late 1913, a half acre of land was purchased for $300. The money to build the church was raised through donations collected from the canneries and fishermen’s supply houses. By Easter Sunday 1914, the first Mass was celebrated. Situated on the hillside overlooking the harbor, the old church building has a prominent architectural presence that signifies faith for the town. It is the only intact historic church left in the city, and it has a strong association with area residents. In 1958, the parish expanded significantly in order to accommodate the growing community, adding a new church building, administrative offices, and other parish facilities. Presently, plans are under consideration to expand and/or upgrade the 1958 complex, and it is anticipated additional parking on site will be required. With the 1914 church building boarded up due to health concerns stemming from mold, parishioners and community members have expressed a deep concern for its future. In the absence of clear communication about the fate of the historic church, there is fear that demolition is being considered as a possible course of action.