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One stone for man, a chimney for mankind

On March 5, mason Cal Martin, background, and Pat Emel place the last stone in the Emel House chimney restoration project at Scenic Beach State Park.  - Photo by Rogerick Anas
On March 5, mason Cal Martin, background, and Pat Emel place the last stone in the Emel House chimney restoration project at Scenic Beach State Park.
— image credit: Photo by Rogerick Anas

“So Mrs. Emel you wanna rock,” Calvin Martin of Seabeck asked Pat Emel before placing the last stone in the rebuilt chimney of the historic Seabeck home.

A small ceremony was held Wednesday at Scenic Beach State Park’s Emel House to mark the project’s end.

The chimney, originally built in the early 1900s from ships’ ballast, separated from the house in the Nisqually Earthquake of 2001. The fireplace was useless until this week.

“He left all the stepping stones my children used to climb out of the window and scare me to death,” Emel said as she eyed Martin’s work. She lived in the house in the 1950s and 1960s and said the fireplace was more ornamental than functional

“He definitely put it back together the way it was,” she said.

A group of about 30 watched as Emel and Martin placed the heart-shaped stone into its

mortared niche.

Martin, who went to school with Emel’s daughters, has spent the past four and a half months rebuilding the 26-foot chimney “one rock at a time with care.”

The house has been heated by a wood stove in the kitchen and a small oil heater in the dining area making it a little less than cozy for special events.

Wednesday, however, a fire danced in the new insert and people could warm themselves from the chilly morning.

The chimney project was funded through FEMA and with Washington state funding.

Martin used about 6.5 tons of rock and 12 tons of concrete and blocks on the chimney.

The Emel family bought the house in 1911, which was remodeled in the 1920s with a new fireplace.

Emel watched as Martin spread mortar on the stone and likened it to frosting a cake.

“It’s been fun to do,” Martin said. When he took apart the structure, Martin found a horseshoe and a moon snail shell in the masonry.

When Emel’s father-in-law died, the community requested Washington State Parks buy the property. It is used primarily for special events such as weddings.

The Seabeck Community Club, which holds meetings at the house has also repaired the building when needed.

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