Memory of Federal Way Old Pioneer Buildings

Do you ever have a moment where something triggers an adventure to investigate your childhood? Pickup an object and you are transported to the past. The place you went to is still close by and one day there it is. The address is just around the corner. Temptation to see it right now is great. The stop light turns and you are in the parking lot.  A wrong turn that turns into the right one takes you back.

Federal Shopping Way – first shopping center in Federal Way, WA

That was me. I had a place in mind from the early 1960s. Childhood memories of stopping at a place to peek into old buildings and see old log cabins that were from ages long ago. The 1890s lured my mom to take us there. Perhaps it was how my grandparents lived since they were Washington pioneers. She never told me why but we came back to this place many times.

That thing that trigger this was a white button with red lettering.  I found it in my quest to find Seattle Worlds Fair items. It was tied to taking a rocket in the space race at a place called Santa Land. You see at one time a man dreamed of a special shopping mall with an amusement park in it. It was called Federal Shopping Way.  Now long gone. Lost to bad business deals honest and crooked. Rotted away until the land became so valuable that a strip mall was built in its place.

Clock Tower at Federal Shopping Way

Around the back of the building I went, by the loading docks I drove. To the end of the store row and the street exit I went. There on that corner once stood Old Line Historic Park. This was the place of trees and vintage times preserved in a small park.

Gone… I knew it was gone even when I found the little button. A lingering memory or rumor taunted me that they had been saved. I swear I had seen them at a park or in the trees one day knowing what they were. Not taking time to know that was them or remember where that memory was lost in the grid of life.

Today site of Old Line Historic Park – 312th & 14th So Federal Way

Digging around I finally found it. Two of the old buildings were saved by the Historical Society of Federal Way. They spent a lot of cash and volunteers hours to dissemble them, preserve their being and then rebuild then again at West Hylebos Wetlands Park.

There are long documented articles about them if you are inclined to read about what and how this all happened plus more history than you can want.  These are courtesy of Historical Society of Federal Way:

Denny Cabin History

Barker Cabin History

Federal Shopping Way and Old Line Historic Park

Weeks later I pulled up to the park and there they were. Denny Cabin was on the left up next to the parking lot.
She had been painted and been given a lot of care.

Denny Cabin in 2017 Federal Way – built in 1889 in Seattle

The saviors of this building had also put together a museum quality informational sign.

I took a few other pictures and found some old photos for your comparison.

Back of Denny Cabin


Denny Cabin on Queen Ave Seattle
Denny Cabin side view 2017

Then the old cabin I remember as a child running around and inside was next. It was rebuilt slightly off the parking lot and looked amazing!  Here is how the two look from my car in the parking lot.

West Hylebos Wetlands Park restored vintage cabins
See how lovely it looks? Here is how it was before the Hisortical Socity saved it.
How about a flashback to how it looked when I was a kid. Can you imagine how we loved going here and playing in buildings. Today they are protected but back then they were wide open and we investigated, dreamed of a past time and imagined playing house there. Today this would be considered poor but then it was strong to survive, scrimp and save in life.


Federal Way has done a good job of creating the signage.


Drum roll… here is what the cabin looks like today

Barker Cabin 2017  at Federal Way – built in 1883
back side of Barker Cabin



Side of the cabin – small window one can peek in

Memory found and completed. Such satisfaction. History is there for those that seek it. Get up and dig for it.


    • Ahhhhh – you know how much work it takes to do a historical
      piece. I appreciate your comment knowing you do such good work yourself. Thanx!!

  1. I don’t suppose you might have any old photos of the post offices in Federal Way?

    Please contact me one way or t’other!

    Thanks in advance!


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