Iconic South Sound building is coming down

TANGLEWOOD ISLAND, Wash. -- A Northwest icon is being reduced to rubble and the folks doing the demolition didn't have the permits to do it.

The lighthouse and lodge at Tanglewood Island, next to Fox Island in Pierce County, has been a fixture in the community for 70 years, and some residents are angry it's being torn down.

"So it was quite a shock to see they were actually going to tear it down rather than try to attempt any kind of restoration efforts," said Fox Island resident John Ohlson.

During its heyday, the place was known as Camp Ta-Ha-Do-Wa. It was a private outdoor compound for boys with indoor activities in the huge iconic lodge. In the late '70s it was sold and was used for private celebrations and events.

But for the last decade it's been empty. Tanglewood Island was bought by a few private landowners, and the lighthouse has fallen on hard times.

"When the tide comes up it floods the bottom floor about three feet of water, so everything is just rotten," said Fox Island resident Nick Brown.

The island's owners want to tear down the building, but Pierce County officials say the group doesn't have permits and put a "stop work order" on the project.

"Some folks are angry because the permitting process was circumvented by the landowners," Ohlson said.

Despite several attempts to list the buildings, neither the lighthouse nor the lodge are not on the historic preservation register, and just four landowners are responsible for them.

"It hurts to see it go down but it's old and it's going to hurt someone if they go in there and it falls obviously," Brown said.

Pierce County officials say the homeowners have just now filed for a permit, but they'll likely face stiff fines and stiff environmental restrictions before they can continue with the demolition.