History Matters! Consider Planned Giving!

History Matters! Consider Planned Giving!


Help us to preserve the History of Puyallup for the next generations through planned giving. Leaving a legacy is a great way to use the present to invest in the future of Puyallup’s history. A good way to accomplish this is to designate the Puyallup Historical Society at Meeker Mansion as a beneficiary for a portion of your retirement plan, estate planning, life insurance, will, cash gifts or as a charitable bequest. These funds will guarantee our ability to preserve and protect the history of Puyallup.

For information regarding the various options involved in planned giving and/or tax benefits, please contact your financial advisor or you may also contact us at (253) 848-1770.

If you should decide to include us as part of your planned giving, please let us know as we want to recognize your lasting tribute to the Puyallup Historical Society at Meeker Mansion and for helping to secure Puyallup’s history for the future.

Anonymous donor from Massachusetts issues ‘challenge grant’ for Meeker Mansion

Anonymous donor from Massachusetts issues ‘challenge grant’ for Meeker Mansion

fundraising newspaper excerpt


A few days before Christmas, a message was left on the Meeker Mansion’s answering machine.

It was from a Massachusetts resident who was interested in making a donation to support the ongoing project of restoring the artwork on the mansion’s ceilings — but it wasn’t just any donation.

The donor, who asked to remain anonymous, proposed a “$500 challenge grant.” For every donation up to a grand total of $500, she plans to match.

“It’s the first time someone has approached it that way,” said Andy Anderson, president of the Puyallup Historical Society Board of Directors. “I was pretty excited.”

While a current resident of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, the anonymous donor grew up in Tacoma and is familiar with the Puyallup area, she said in a phone interview with The Puyallup Herald. Her friends and family still live in the South Sound, and she just so happened to be visiting them in October while professional art restorer Sally Hopkins was also working on restoring the ceiling of the Meeker Mansion billiard room.

She read more about the restoration project in a story published by The Herald on Oct. 25.

“I really think that the restoration is essential,” she said. “You have to preserve your culture because (if you don’t) there will be nothing to pass on to the next generation. Whoever decided to build (the mansion), they were inspired to bring European tradition to Ezra (Meeker)’s home in a little town on a river.”

The donor moved to Cape Cod in the 1980s and was pleasantly surprised by how much-preserved history there was in comparison to the Pacific Northwest.

“I actually walk on the land that the pilgrims walked on and it’s given me such a different sense of history,” she said.

In Massachusetts, she helped restore the Crosby Mansion, which was built in the 1830s by Albert Crosby, several decades before Meeker Mansion was built in 1890.

When she returned from visiting her family in Tacoma in the fall, she continued to think about the Meeker Mansion restoration project.

“I had (the article) on my desk for a while and thought, I’d like to see that decorative work continue and that I’d make a donation,” she said.

That’s when she gave the mansion a call.

“I said, ‘Well, have you ever done a challenge?’ and apparently, they haven’t — so we’re having a lot of fun doing it this way,” she said.

The donor is planning another trip to Puyallup soon and is looking forward to seeing the restoration project progress. Anderson said the project is an ongoing one and will take another $35,000 to complete.

“We are very grateful for her support and her enthusiasm for preserving the community treasure that is the Meeker Mansion,” Anderson said. “I’m confident our generous donors will meet her challenge and more.”

Donations may be mailed or hand-delivered to the Meeker Mansion at 312 Spring St., Puyallup, WA 98372.

For more information, call 253-848-1770 or email ezra@MeekerMansion.org.

Allison Needles: 253-597-8507

Published in The News Tribune January 2, 2018

Meeker Mansion Highlighted on the Travel Channel

Meeker Mansion Highlighted on the Travel Channel

fundraising history News

See a news segment done by KIROTV that highlights the Meeker Mansion, the episode on the Travel Channel and the Puyallup Historical Society’s hope for support from the Legislature.


You can also watch the episode on the Travel Channel, “Witchfinder General” which first aired Thursday, March 24th. Ezra Meeker, the Meeker Mansion and his trek across the Oregon Trail are in the last segment of the episode.  If you have a cable subscription you can watch it online here: https://watch.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/mysteries-at-the-castle/

Mysterias at the Castle, Ezra Meeker, Oregon Trail

Fundraising campaign for new paint job

Fundraising campaign for new paint job


Painting project gets a boost

With home ownership comes the constant need to improve and protect the investment.

The Meeker Mansion, located at 312 Spring Street in Puyallup, is no different. The 17-room mansion was completed in 1890, and Ezra Meeker and his wife lived in the building for 20 years. Following Mrs. Meeker’s death in 1909, Ezra moved out and the mansion was used as a hospital, later a retirement home, and most recently as a critical care nursing home before the Puyallup Historical Society at Meeker Mansion received the home as donation in 1970.

Since 1970, the historical society has worked diligently to restore the home to its condition in 1891, the year after the Meekers completed it. This proves to be challenging act for volunteers, as the organization has no records of what the home used to look like, except for three letters Meeker wrote describing it. As part of the restorative and protective process comes the need to maintain the home. The latest maintenance project the organization is starting involves repainting the entire exterior of the building.

Walking around the exterior, exposed wood and chipped paint line the ornate Victorian architecture, which could mean potential damage to the inside of the home, if not repainted soon.

“Every so often, like it or not, you have to paint the outside of the house,” said Bob Minnich, Meeker Mansion and Puyallup Historical Society president. “It doesn’t matter how much work you do inside, if you don’t protect it with a good roof and keep the paint in good shape, you’re going to risk losing all of that.”

With the Meeker Mansion coated in lead paint, the painting project costs add up quickly. In order to reduce financial impact to the organization, the society launched a campaign to help raise money for the project. The last time the building was painted in 1994, the project had a price tag of $16,000. Nearly 20 years later, that amount has increased substantially in order to comply with lead paint laws.

With passage of time and increases of salaries, the society estimated the cost of the project to be around $21,000, Minnich said.

“When we got bids (in cooperation) with the new (lead paint) law, the high bid was $135,000,” he said. “What they interpreted the law to mean is completely encasing the house in metal scaffolding and drape plastic over that so no dust could leave the house. We think that was an extreme interpretation of the law.”

While the initial bid was on the high side of the abatement spectrum, the society has adjusted its budget estimate to run between $50,000 and $60,000.

“We’re at the point now that we have to paint the house; we can’t put it off any longer,” Minnich said. “We may be forced to paint the house a portion at the time, but it may be more economical to paint the whole house at one time. It depends how successful we are at fundraising. We’ve got to do it, and it’s going to be expensive.”

An account is currently set up for donations, and donations already total about $7,000. As money is collected during the fundraising campaign, it will go toward painting the house. Minnich is hopeful that if more money is raised, the organization can set out to find a matching grant.

While the project is expensive, the payoff is protecting one of Puyallup’s best assets for generations to come.

“This is the finest thing in Puyallup,” he said. “It deserves restoration and protection.”

How you can help: The historical society has established a special fund where all monies received for the purpose will be deposited.  

To make a donation via postal mail, please send a check to the Puyallup Historical Society at Meeker Mansion, PO Box 103, Puyallup, WA 98371.  Please make a notation, House Painting, on the memo line.

To make a donation online, click here.


By Heather Derosa
Staff writer / February 25, 2015

This article was originally printed in the Puyallup Herald.