40 for 40: Chelan County
Your Trust in Chelan County

By Kris Bassettprevious story | next story | all stories

Chelan County Courthouse, Wenatchee 

Holding the honor of being three hours from most anywhere in the state, the Wenatchee Valley is truly the heart as it sits amongst the hills alongside the Columbia River. Chelan County, with its spectacular mountain lake, brings visitors from far and wide to enjoy the many activities and scenery. The history in north central Washington cities and their environs is rich in pioneer living, timber, mining, and agriculture. Historic downtowns are vibrant, and great mansions and monumental properties are among the mix that makes memories. Chelan is also culturally enriched with Indian tribal sites of the Wenatchi and earlier nomadic tribes, notably the Clovis, who left troves of artifacts in the hills of the valley on their travels when the continents were still connected at the Bering Sea.

More honors are awarded to the center of the state with the city of Wenatchee being one of the first Main Street cities accredited in Washington. The Downtown Association was incorporated in 1986 and the city of Chelan was designated a Main Street City in 2008. Further, both have hosted the RevitalizeWA Conference a number of times and received accolades from participants and supporters for demonstrating the preservation and vitality of their downtowns. Wenatchee’s program is one of only a few in the state that have received the Great American Main Street Award (2003) -- a highly competitive national honor!
The Washington Trust has been involved both directly and indirectly with assistance to specific properties such as the three-story, turreted Wells House in Wenatchee and the Kirkland Cutter-designed St. Andrews Episcopal Church in downtown Chelan. The Trust has provided emergency funding for repair work and consulting with property owners and local preservationists in the cities and counties across North Central Washington. Grants from the Valerie Sivinski Washington Preserve Fund have been awarded for adaptive re-use projects to former schools, theaters, and churches. Connections have been established with local preservationists and political leaders to assist with courthouse projects. Larry Hibbard and Kris Bassett have served on the board from Chelan and Wenatchee respectively, giving many years of support in the name of the Trust to encourage owners about the importance of local preservation and the importance of local historic properties to the state and nation. Larry is an architect and also owner of Chelan’s historic Ruby Theater, and Kris, Wenatchee’s first historic preservation officer, now heads preservation efforts at Wells House. Both served on the board and Trust committees for many years and continue to be called upon for local issues.
In today’s world of high tech, making and keeping connections with local citizens is even more important. But whether it’s a face to face meeting with a property owners or citizens group, representing local or state issues, the Trust has had a strong presence in north central Washington communities.

Wells House, Wenatchee 

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Chelan                   Ruby Theatre, Chelan 

This story is part of a series celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation. This story highlights many of our programs and shows just how much need there is for strong preservation connections across the state. If you would like to support our work and spur more positive outcomes for Washington's historic resources, please consider making a special gift to the Washington Trust to support the advocacy work we do. Continuous stewardship is needed to protect that irreplaceable legacy for future generations – we appreciate and look forward to your ongoing participation and support.

Here's to 40 more years of saving places that matter across Washington! Please sign up for our special weekly e-newsletter to recieve stories like this in your inbox all year long.

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