2017 MOST ENDANGERED PROPERTIES

The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation announced its annual list of Most Endangered Places in the State of Washington on Saturday, May 20th. The announcement came during the organization’s Vintage Washington event, held at the St. Edward State Park Seminary Building in Kenmore. The Washington Trust held its Vintage Washington event this year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the organization’s Most Endangered List, announcing the 2017 List as part of its Preservation Month activities. 

2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the Most Endangered Historic Properties List. Since 1992, the independent, nonprofit Washington Trust for Historic Preservation has used the list to bring attention to over 160 threatened sites nominated by concerned citizens and organizations across the state. The Washington Trust assists advocates for these resources in developing strategies aimed at removing these threats, taking advantage of opportunities where they exist, and finding positive preservation solutions for listed resources.



Beverly Bridge
Beverly, WA

The Columbia River is a defining feature of Washington State, but it also serves as a challenging barrier for cross-state travel. The construction of the Beverly Railroad Bridge, completed in 1909, was part of the westward expansion of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad and a major engineering feat of its day. By 1980 the route was closed, but due to its significance, the Beverly Bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Today, the Milwaukee Railroad route has been converted to the John Wayne Pioneer Trail – part of an effort by conservation, recreation, and preservation advocates to create a statewide greenway trail system. The Beverly Bridge is the pivotal missing piece that would connect east and west. Advocates would like to see the bridge transferred from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources to Washington State Parks and rehabilitated to complete the cross-state recreational trail.

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Cascade Workers' Cottages
Seattle, WA

In the last decade, Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood has transformed into a tech and biomedical hub. As full city blocks are built out for both office and housing needs, buildings constructed a century ago are vanishing or being consumed by development. Three workers cottages dating from 1911, collectively referred to as the Cascade Workers’ Cottages, are nearly all that remains of the years when Seattle’s Cascade neighborhood was evolving into an early industrial hub for the city. The three cottages have been combined into one building and alterations over the years have ultimately rendered the structures ineligible for local landmark designation. Advocates believe, however, that the cottages do still convey the early history of the Cascade neighborhood and are crucial to retain. The struggle to balance new development without erasing the past remains ongoing in South Lake Union. 

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Valley Schoolhouse
Valley, WA

Valley, Washington’s “Little White Schoolhouse,” as it is known by locals, was built in 1916 as an annex for the original 1905 schoolhouse on the property. A brick schoolhouse was built in 1917 and expanded in 1926, but of the three historic buildings, only the annex remains. The schoolhouse served the school district in a variety of capacities through the years, but is currently vacant. District officials nonetheless hope to see it preserved and have offered to shift funds allocated for demolition toward relocating the building to a new site, provided there is a viable community plan for its rehabilitation and future management. Initial plans to save the building have been approved. While all parties are optimistic, there is still a lot of work to be done around fundraising and programming to ensure that the schoolhouse is preserved and successfully integrated back into the Valley community.

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Parlor Car #1799
Clinton, WA

Built as an extra fare car, Parlor Car #1799 operated from 1901 to 1941 along the Northern Pacific Railway. With its decorative glass windows, fine interior veneers, and intricate inlays, Parlor Car 1799 represents the Golden Age of rail travel in the US. The car was converted for use as a beach front cottage on Whidbey Island after its decommissioning in 1941. The owners, now wishing to redevelop the land, have generously offered the car to the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie. The museum has secured partial funding to relocate the car, but permitting issues involving shoreline development remain to be sorted out, creating uncertainty surrounding the project. The goal is to relocate the car sometime in 2017 to the museum. Once securely moved to the museum facility, restoration of Parlor Car #1799 will begin in earnest.

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Scottish Rite Cathedral
Tacoma, WA

The Scottish Rite Cathedral is a rare and early example of poured concrete architecture in Tacoma and dates from 1922. Designed by the acclaimed Tacoma architecture firm Sutton, Whitney and Dugan, the building’s style defies easy categorization. It anchors a prominent corner lot across from Wright Park in Tacoma’s historic Stadium District and has served as a fraternal hall, an events venue, and a church. The Scottish Rite Cathedral represents a larger issue of concern witnessed in urban areas across the country. The current congregation is unable to maintain the building and due to the high land value, a prospective developer plans to tear it down in the name of increased density. To complicate matters, religious-owned properties are exempt from local preservation ordinances in Washington State, clearing the path for demolition. 

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Weyerhaeuser Corporate Campus
Federal Way, WA

The Weyerhaeuser Corporate Campus was a joint effort between architect Charles Bassett of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, landscape architect Peter Walker, a founding partner of Sasaki Walker & Associates; and George Weyerhaeuser. The campus was recently purchased by a developer who has expressed interest in preserving the headquarters building, but is moving forward with plans to develop portions of the surrounding acreage. Local residents are concerned that the massing and scale of proposed new construction will overwhelm the site, adversely impacting the balance of the built and natural landscapes that lend such significance to the site. Advocates are also concerned for the future of the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden and the Pacific Bonsai Museum, two distinct and significant cultural resources also on the property. Due to its exceptional historic and architectural significance, particular care must be taken with any new development. New buildings must be sensitive to the original design philosophy of the campus, which emphasized integration with the landscape and environmental sensitivity.

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