40 for 40: Island County
Your Trust in Island County

By Kristen Griffin and Sarah Steenprevious story | next story | all stories

In the early 1970s, local citizens organized to halt a housing development slated for Ebey’s Prairie on Whidbey Island. The effort became a balancing act – to find a way to preserve a cherished and historically significant cultural landscape, without sacrificing the needs and future of a working rural community. Believing that people and partnerships could work together make it work, Congress established Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve in 1978.

The Washington Trust has been one of those partners, always ready to step in with programs that help the Reserve meet its mission. Some examples:
  • The Trust has provided grant support to the Island County Historical Society and Museum, a key partner in preserving and interpreting the Reserve’s history and a contact station for Reserve visitors.
  • The Trust hosted its first ever Discover Washington: Youth Heritage Project in the Reserve, a four day program connecting young people and heritage with activities ranging from historic preservation to exploring cultural landscapes.   
  • The Trust nominated the Haller House, a rare and untouched Territorial Era residence, to its 2013 Most Endangered List to help generate support for its preservation. Listing helped inspire the creation of Historic Whidbey, a non-profit group that continues to work to secure the house’s future.
  • Twenty one of the Reserve’s significant barns are listed on the Washington State Heritage Barn Register, making them eligible for a special rehabilitation grant program that is supported by the Washington Trust.
  • Last but not least, the Trust contributes to the success of the Reserve’s Ebey’s Forever grant program, lending advice and technical expertise to this local grassroots effort. Now in its 6th year, the grant program has helped ensure the preservation of nearly 50 significant structures in the Reserve, making it one of the most successful programs of its kind in Washington State.
Happy 40th Washington Trust and thank you for being a partner of this very special place! 

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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