One of my favorite places to go walking is the St. Edward State Park (a map). It is a large (316 acre) undeveloped park of mostly trails, and has the last undeveloped waterfront on Lake Washington.

It also has a large historic building that had been the St. Edward Seminary of the Catholic Church. Boys entered during high school on the path to becoming priests.

The building is a poured concrete building that was constructed in 6 months by the same builder that built Northgate Mall (Seattle), the first indoor shopping mall in the United States.

20110205_edward_tour0 I have often thought it would be very cool to see the inside of the building, and look out from the tower.

20110205_edward_tour1 However, this time I saw a new sign on one of the entrances indicating severe response to unauthorized entry. That was not in my mind, but it made entry seem all the more remote.

And then I realized that I had never asked if I could be taken inside. So I went to the ranger office and asked if they ever had tours. "Not really, but... Well, why don't you take him on one now?" So the ranger gave me a full tour!!

20110205_edward_tour2 The main floor was certainly the most elegant section. This was the central entrance and hallway intersection. Down the far hall is classrooms.

20110205_edward_tour3 Like this old science lab.

20110205_edward_tour4 They stored various things in others ones - like these remaining furniture pieces. (Most of the furnishing had been sold by the church before the state bought the facility.)

(I only had my iPhone with me, so apologies for some poor picture.)

20110205_edward_tour5 The other end from the classrooms was the refectory (the dining room).

20110205_edward_tour6 It is one of the most beautiful rooms, and is sometimes rented for small events. Due to modern building code restrictions (there are deficiencies in fire sprinklers, egress, etc) this large room is only allowed to hold 49 people. However, sometimes it is rented for events like wedding receptions.

20110205_edward_tour7 The primary stair case is hidden from the hallway by doors. This is not surprising because it goes up to what was private living areas.

Several movies have shot in this stairwell. Apparently the horror theme movies like it for the great camera angles as characters run the stairs.

20110205_edward_tour8 Above was a study room. Some of the rangers live in the building, so now it is a fantastic play room for their young children.

Through the far-right doors...

20110205_edward_tour9 was the library. All the shelves (as well as the interior doors) are mahogany.

Out through the middle shelves is the main long hallway

20110205_edward_tour10 It leads to a floor of dorm rooms, and there are two more floors like this above. The room weren't big - maybe 9 x 12 ft - but they housed three boys. Notice the sink in the room.

20110205_edward_tour11 There was one bathroom on a floor. They had the most beautiful veined marble in them.

20110205_edward_tour12 There were problems in the building, however. The roof drains are iron pipes that run inside the walls of the building. Through time, many had leaked inside the wall, and some of the rooms had suffered.

20110205_edward_tour13 The access to the tower was from the top floor. A spiral staircase went up two more floors.

20110205_edward_tour14 The tower was pretty big up top with good views out four directions.

There was a 36-in bell that the church had tried to remove before the property was sold. However, it wouldn't fit through the tower openings. I got to ring the bell. It didn't sound too bad, but it seemed to me that rust fuzzed the sound slightly.

20110205_edward_tour15 The building roof is tile that has become brittle. Whenever the rangers go out onto the roof to do maintenance, they simply expect to break and then replace some tiles. Notice how the gutter is inside the wall line? The building has also had water damage when tiles became broken, or the gutters became clogged.

20110205_edward_tour16 The view toward Lake Washington.

It is really too bad the weather was cloudy because the view of the Olympic Mountains is excellent from here.

20110205_edward_tour17 Finally, the ranger took me down to the kitchen off the refectory. Cooking was done by nuns that were housed in a separate wing.

They were quite a vertical organization there! They had their own butcher shop, bakery, laundry, barber shop, and maintenance shops. A lot of the equipment was still there.

20110205_edward_tour18 They were heating the building. This surprised me. But then, there was some living quarters in the building, and heat would preserve the building by keeping it dry inside.

The two very big boilers had once heated the place with coal. Now this one was run on gas, and the other one could be run on heating oil. They were in a big room full of color coded pipes. The equipment had been modernized and looked to be in good order.

20110205_edward_tour19 This tour made my day! I really enjoy urban exploration like this.

Afterwards then, I walked the park loop down to the lake and back up. It is a very beautiful place!