Found in Tukwila, a house for the ages and a place to tell a UFO story

For 105 years the Craftsman house has stood mostly unchanged, built at a time when Seattle was more into gardens than jets and Tukwila was just a year old.

Gina and Jack Tucci stand in the dining room of their Riverton home

There’s a house in Riverton that’s perfect for someone who’s into history and UFOs.

For 105 years the Craftsman house has stood mostly unchanged, built at a time when Seattle was more into gardens than jets and Tukwila was just a year old.

It’s that timeless charm that attracted Jack and Gina Tucci, along with fulfilling a very specific wish list that many homes they looked at just couldn’t do.

And, then there’s that vision Jack offered to Gina in an email while they were still dating: He could see them, retired, sitting in their rocking chairs on a broad porch, together.

“I was so charmed by that,” Gina said.

Ever since, they’ve been looking for that porch. They found it in fall 2013 on South 128th Street, among similarly historic homes and new ones.

“We fell in love with it,” said Gina of the 3,000-square-foot home, still with much of its original interior woodwork and built-in cabinets, a big backyard and a place for Jack to refurbish a bus.

They told their good friend Scott Schaefer about finding their perfect house. They were surprised to learn it was his perfect house, too – to make a movie about UFOs called “The Maury Island Incident.”

Unbeknownst to the Tuccis, after an exhaustive search Schaefer settled on the house, which was for sale at the time and empty, for interior shots for the movie. The movie was set in the 1940s and he was having trouble finding a house that retained the look and feel of 70 years ago. He had found it in Tukwila.

“We used a great old ‘farmhouse’ in Tukwila that was like stepping into a time machine,” he said.

The Tuccis want to slowly return the grand old house to its original grandeur. Luckily, no one covered all the house’s personality by putting paint on the wood, for example. She just wishes someone hadn’t painted the brick fireplace.

Electric wiring was added after the house was built, evident in the stylish wooden runners in the living room ceiling that house the wires. An outhouse gave way to an indoor bathroom. There’s one upstairs and at some point the den was turned into a bathroom just off the dining room, which Gina says seems “a little odd.”

Original built-in cabinets adorn a wall in the dining room and one in the kitchen. The original lath and plaster is under elegant wallpaper in the living room.

They’ll do their renovation deliberately, not knowing what’s hidden inside a wall.

“We haven’t tackled any major project yet because we have to put it in the correct order,” Gina says.

Jack says he finally convinced Gina they needed to do the upkeep on the exterior first, replacing worn cedar siding and repainting. Inside, they’ve talked about creating a farmhouse kitchen.

Schaefer used the back porch off the kitchen for the front porch for a key scene in his movie (There’s a screening Feb. 11, see below). That’s where the “Man in Black” (played by actor Allen Fitzpatrick) stood, watching protagonist Harold Dahl (played by actor Tony Doupé) through the window in the door.

Dahl claimed he saw six flying discs near Maury Island on June 21, 1947, while on his boat. The Man in Black (remember the 1997 movie?) was at his doorstep to take him to breakfast in Tacoma to convince him through threats to keep quiet.

Schaefer used a small entryway for the telephone and other rooms in the house for filming.

Jack and Gina are continuing to learn the history of the house. It’s likely the first owner was a merchant at a business in Riverton’s busy commercial area.

“We own our own little corner of history,” Gina said.

They hope others will come behind them to preserve Tukwila’s historic homes.

“I really do see us as kind of preserving a piece of history and hopefully attracting other people to do that, too.”

SCREENING TO BENEFIT DES MOINES HISTORICAL SOCIETY

A full screening of the locally produced UFO film “The Maury Island Incident” to benefit the Des Moines Historical Society is 7 p.m. Wednesday night, Feb. 11, at Mount Rainier High School in Des Moines.

The film will be preceded by a special presentation from screenwriter Steve Edmiston titled “J. Edgar Hoover and the Maury Island Incident,” and following the screening, Director Scott Schaefer will host an audience Q&A.

“The Maury Island Incident” is a 30-minute film that tells the forgotten tragic story – taken directly from declassified FBI documents – of Harold Dahl’s June 21, 1947, UFO sighting near Maury Island, and the first reported “Man in Black” encounter that happened to him the next day.

The movie – which was shot in Des Moines, Burien, Tukwila and off the shores of Maury Island – had its world premiere at the Big Island Film Festival, and its North American premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival.

It has also screened at the Port Townsend, Burbank, Local Sightings, International Family, Tacoma and Gig Harbor Film Festivals, where it won an Audience Choice Award for “Best Narrative Short.”

The film was also awarded the competitive Washington FilmWorks Innovation Lab funding during production, and special episodes premiered as IndieFlix’ “first original series” in August 2014.

Directed and produced by Scott Schaefer from a script by writer and producer Steve Edmiston, it features Seattle-area actors Tony Doupé, Allen Fitzpatrick, John Patrick Lowrie, David S. Hogan and many others.

Tickets are available online at  for $10; proceeds benefit the Des Moines Historical Society.

Mount Rainier High School is located at 22450 19th Ave. S., Des Moines.

 

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