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Architect’s daughter didn’t like fly saucer visitor center

Post by Jeff Mayor / The News Tribune on Dec. 1, 2008 at 11:48 am with No Comments »
December 1, 2008 11:48 am

I got a call the other day from Frances Gagnon, an 81-year-old Gig Harbor resident.

She read some of my recent coverage of the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center at Mount Rainier National Park. Gagnon said her father was a consulting architect for the old visitor center.

Her father, John McGuire, was part of the Tacoma architecture firm of

McGuire and Muri that helped design the spaceship-style building that welcome visitors from 1966 until September. The firm of Whimberley, Whisenand, Allison & Tong of Honolulu also worked on the design.

Gagnon said her father was a staunch Democrat and a supporter of Sen. Scoop Jackson. Those connections helpd his firm land the Mount Rainier job.

Even though she is still proud of her dad’s connection to the visitor center, Gagnon admitted she wasn’t a fan of the design.

"It didn’t blend with the old atmosphere of the lodge and the mountain. I didn’t think it blended with the Northwest feel," she said. "I told my that Dad that. He knew what the public thought."

With the old visitor center now being torn down to make way for additional parking spaces, Gagnon said she will miss the views from the building’s observation deck.

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