Yakima Valley Transportation Lines

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 1992

Location: Yakima Valley, Yakima County

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, people were lured to Washington’s Yakima Valley to grow apples on 5-10 acre orchards which promised to produce wealthy independence in “the home of the prize red apple.· Private and public irrigation projects created hundreds of thousands of acres of fruit and by 1929 Yakima County had the largest number of bearing apple trees in all of Washington’s 39 counties and had become the statewide leader in apple production. Yakima County has ranked first in national apple production since 1930.

In order to get all of those apples to market, the Yakima Valley Transportation Company (YVT) built a 48-mile-long electric interurban railroad between 1907-1913. The line, started by local Yakima County people, stretched far west of Yakima and north to Selah. In 1908 it was bought out by the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company (today the Union Pacific). Over its lifetime there were 16 streetcars, six interurban passenger/express cars, three electric locomotives and Line Car A used to repair the wires. Passenger service lasted until 1947 and was brought back as a limited tourist operation in 1974. Electric freight operations continued non-stop until 1985 when Union Pacific decided to abandon the YVT.

By that time, it was the last authentic turn-of-the-century interurban electric railroad in the United States still operating. I remember the yellow electric locomotives hauling refrigerator cars of apples to market. The abandonment by the Union Pacific saw a donation of some of the YVT to the city of Yakima, but the following years saw removal of the YVT rail lines and involvement of the Washington Trust to sound the clarion call for its preservation before it was all gone. In 1989, the YVT was listed on the Washington Trust’s “10 Most Wanted” list, a precursor to our Most Endangered Places list. Thankfully, it has been saved, and in 1992 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1994, the late Les Tonkin, an architect and former president of the Washington Trust, devised a total restoration plan for the YVT.

Today the historic belt-operated shop/carbarn, powerhouse substation, and live of the original 48 miles of track remain connecting the cities of Yakima and Selah. Now more than a century old, the YVT is being operated by the non-profit passionate volunteer group Yakima Valley Trolleys and is passing on the love of the trolley to younger generations.

Leonard Round Barn

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 1992

Location: Pullman, Whitman County

Early in 1992, the Trust began offering assistance toward saving the T.A. Leonard barn built near Pullman in 1917. Barn preservation was a growing concern statewide, and this was one of Washington’s few remaining round barns – and a unique design within that small typology. With their self-supporting roofs, smaller amount of wall space, and circular feeding and cleaning methods, round barns were briefly believed to be more efficient and modern, and less expensive to build. The Leonard Barn, documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey in 1985 (photos and drawings), is unusual for its exceptionally high roof, wooden rather than concrete base, and large number of windows.

Placement on the Trust’s Most Endangered list in 1992 brought additional local as well as statewide attention to the Leonard barn. The owner wanted to re-roof it and make it more structurally secure but lacked funds. Board members Kit Garrett from Spokane and Don Heil from Pullman, along with executive director Becky Day, met with the owner to tour the barn and offer help publicizing its challenges. The next year, the Trust proudly granted $5000 won through the LU Cookie Company’s “Restore What’s Gone Before” campaign to re-create the missing cupola, the first step in sealing out the elements.

Still, it took many years to assemble funding for fully rehabilitating the barn, which  remained on the Most Endangered list until 1996. The major renovation completed in 2001 included repairs to the beams, windows, and floors, shingle replacement, and fresh paint. The Leonard Barn is recognized in the Oxford World Vernacular Encyclopedia.

Fire Bell Tower

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 1999

Location: Port Townsend, Jefferson County

Port Townsend’s Fire Bell Tower is a 75-foot wooden structure built in 1890 to hold a 1,500 pound brass bell and the city’s then-new $900 fire engine. The ringing bell rallied the community to fight fires, and provide a coded signal as to the location and severity of the blaze using a system of alarm boxes. The bell tower was also used for fog soundings for the ferry dock below until the early 1960s.

The tower was threatened in 1950s and 1970s, but in both instances funds were raised to restore the structure. The tower was threatened again by collapse in 1990s, and the Washington Trust assisted with the Most Endangered Places listing in 1999 and a 2001 Valerie Sivinski Fund grant. This led to the 2003 restoration by the Jefferson County Historical Society and City of Port Townsend.

Read more from our “40 for 40” featured story from the Washington Trust’s 40th anniversary in 2016.

Pearl Little Site

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 1995

Location: San Juan Island, San Juan County

The Pearl Little archaeology site is well known in many Washington Slate preservation circles and was identified as an important site as early as the 1940s. The site is one of the few off-reservation sites to be continuously occupied by Native Americans until recently. The Pearl Little archaeological site was placed on the Washington Trust’s Most Endangered Places list in 1995 when then board member Nancy Larsen brought the property to the Washington Trust’s attention.

In 1996, the Lummi Tribe and local activists worked together with the San Juan County Conservancy to purchase and preserve the site, and the Washington Trust offered assistance with negotiating a settlement among all interested parties. In the following six years, the site and the land parcel were bought and sold by different investors, and eventually San Juan County put a moratorium on the creation of new subdivisions. In 2001, the Pearl little site was removed from the list as the moratorium would protect the location from development.

Since then, new owners of the property have shown good stewardship on the land parcel by working with all parties to make sure that significant elements of the landscape are preserved.

Read more from our “40 for 40” featured story from the Washington Trust’s 40th anniversary in 2016.

Tsagaglalal “She Who Watches” Petroglyph

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 1993

Location: Horsethief Lake State Park, Klickitat County

In the Spring of 1993, vandalism at one of the world’s most famous rock art sites motivated the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation to take action in Klickitat County. The petroglyph and pictograph known as Tsagiglalal, or “She Who Watches” had been damaged and the Trust placed it on Most Endangered Properties list. Not long after this event the US Army Corps of Engineers and Washington State Parks stepped in to protect the site.

Later in 1993, the rock art was removed from the Most Endangered Places list and is now protected with restricted access through guided State Park Ranger tours. Tsagiglalal, as the Wishram Native American community refers to this rock art, is in nearly every book on the subject around the world. Edward Curtis photographed it and published it as part of his 1910 volume on Native American lifeways. The oral history about this particular rock art panel is rich and clearly ties the local Native American communities to the land. Historic resources like this one are considered sacred by Native Americans, and their vandalism is taken very seriously by those communities and the preservation-minded public as well.

To many, these are not just ancient sites but also have meaning in today’s world and can teach all of us valuable lessons about respecting the land and its resources, including the historic resources. This particular stretch of the Columbia River was noted time and again by early explorers like Lewis and Clark and David Thompson, and even Edward Curtis later, as a very important location where many Native Americans would gather to trade and interact socially. In fact, archaeological evidence throughout this region shows proof of trading that dates back millennia.

For tour information, please go to the Columbia Hills State Park website.

Sunrise Lodge

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 1992

Location: Mount Rainier National Park, Pierce County

Completed in 1931 in just six weeks, Sunrise Lodge at Mount Rainier is a stunning example of rustic architecture, often called “Parkitecture.” Despite its popularity today, the National Park Service had sought to demolish the Lodge in the past, actively planning for its removal in the late 1980s. These actions prompted the Washington Trust to include Sunrise Lodge on our Most Endangered List in 1992, the inaugural year of our Most Endangered Program. Over the next four years, the Washington Trust, working with the Washington State Historic Preservation Office, opposed demolition while supporting efforts to require state review of any proposed action.  In 1996, a letter of understanding was signed between the NPS, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the SHPO to allow “review of demolition.” This effectively prevented the NPS from carrying out its demolition plans. Sunrise Lodge still stands today.

Read more from our “40 for 40” featured story from the Washington Trust’s 40th anniversary in 2016.

Seventh Church of Christ Scientist

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2007

Location: Seattle, King County

In 2007, congregants of the 7th Church of Christ Scientist on Seattle’s Queen Anne hill, grappled with the reality of diminishing membership rolls coupled with increasing maintenance costs for their historic sanctuary. The congregation chose to sell to a developer with plans to construct four single-family homes, prompting inclusion in the Washington Trust’s Most Endangered List. As structures owned by religious organizations are exempt from local landmark ordinances, the developer placed responsibility on the congregation for demolishing the historic church prior to acquiring the property. But neighbors appealed the demolition permit, allowing time for the Washington Trust, through an agreement with the congregation, to seek a buyer interested in preserving the building. Fortuitously, this coincided with the Seattle Church of Christ’s search to find a permanent home for its growing congregation. The rest is history: the Seattle Church of Christ enjoys a robust congregation and is a proud steward of the historic sanctuary.

Reard Freed Farmstead

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2001

Location: King County

Built in the 1890s, the Reard Freed Farmstead is the most intact example of a 19th century farm complex remaining on the Sammamish Plateau. It was in danger of demolition due to the creation of a large housing development.

Snohomish County Courthouse

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2002

Location: Snohomish County

“The Mission Building would retain most, if not all, of its current uses and be retained in its present condition” was the conclusion of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Snohomish County campus redevelopment project. However, seismic concerns are also noted, and rehabilitation is viewed as a necessary step for keeping the building in long-term, active use. Without a firm commitment by the County to address these concerns, this property is still endangered.

Our Lady of the Assumption/St. Urban’s Church

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2004

Location: Lewis County

Originally known as Our Lady of the Assumption, this tiny church now referred to as St. Urban’s, is one of three mission churches established in the Cowlitz Mission by the Catholic Church. St. Urban was a German/Swiss community, which at one time possessed a small store, a grange hall, a school, this church, and a cemetery. Built in 1891 with the help of several pioneer families, it is the only remaining structure of the original community settled by the Ruther, Meier, Waller, and Bremgartner families. The lovely interior still contains relics and framed documents dating back to 1891 and the early 1900s. Original statues and stations of the cross all remain, as well as a pump organ in the choir loft.

Ellensburg Depot

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2004

Location: Kittitas County

In 1910, the Northern Pacific Railroad built this handsome brick and sandstone depot for passengers, freight, and mail coming through and into the town of Ellensburg. For 71 years it served as a primary point of entry into the Kittitas Valley until 1981, when the last passenger train pulled away. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the grand depot played an integral role in the history of Kittitas County and in the lives of the men and women who built Ellensburg.

Dorsey Bulding

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2004

Location: Columbia County

The Dantzsher Building—commonly known as the Dorsey Building—was built around 1895 and is the cornerstone of Dayton’s Downtown Historic District, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Over the past 100 years and more, the building has housed a tailor and millinery shop, drug store, lounge, and lodging on the second floor. The tailor shop became the first local telephone company office in Dayton.

B Reactor, Hanford Site

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2004

Location: Manhattan Project National Historical Park, Benton County

B Reactor is the world’s first full-scale plutonium production nuclear reactor. It was constructed in only 13 months, from October 1943 to September 1944, and became operational under the supervision of pioneer physicist Enrico Fermi. B Reactor is widely recognized as the building that gave birth to the Atomic Age and one of the most stunning technological advancements of the 20th century. Located at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Hanford Site, B Reactor was the first of nine reactors built on the reservation as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project initiated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Plutonium extracted from B Reactor was used in the Trinity Test—the world’s first nuclear explosion, in Alamogordo, New Mexico—as well as the “Fat Man” bomb the United States used against Japan in World War II.

The story of Hanford’s B Reactor was once one of the most secure secrets imaginable, but today it is a well-known historic site. Yet, as clean-up efforts at Hanford began in 1989, B Reactor’s future was uncertain. Questions persisted over which structures, if any, should be saved given the high levels of contamination. Some debated the value of saving any buildings the vast majority of the public might never see. The Washington Trust sought answers to these questions by including the B Reactor on the 2004 Most Endangered List. The listing coincided with a federal study to consider the addition of Manhattan Project sites to the National Park System. The Washington Trust advocated for this, along with the B Reactor Museum Association, Department of Energy decision-makers, Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, and then-Representative Doc Hastings. Completed in 2008, the study recommended including the property in a new Manhattan Project National Historical Park, allowing B Reactor to be removed from the Most Endangered List. In December 2014, legislation sponsored by Senator Maria Cantwell was passed to create the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. Park planning remains underway, but the public can already tour the B Reactor and see its intact control room and exhibits.

Read more from our “40 for 40” featured story from the Washington Trust’s 40th anniversary in 2016.

William O. McKay Ford

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2005

Location: King County

Sited at the busy intersection of Westlake Avenue and Mercer Street, several buildings make up this historic car
dealership. Built in 1922, the two-story terra cotta structure at the center of the block initially housed William O. McKay’s Ford auto sales and garage business. In 1925, the more ornate, one-story, terra cotta showroom building at the corner was built for McKay’s Lincoln sales and service. The richness and detail of the terra cotta ornament found in the 1925 building make this structure one of Seattle’s finest examples of terra cotta cladding

Roslyn Old City Hall and Library

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2005

Location: Kittitas County

The Northwest Improvement Company originally constructed the Roslyn Old City Hall & Library as a recreation and social hall in 1902, when it was known as the Roslyn Athletic Club. The company’s coal miners and their families enjoyed the bowling alley, swimming pool, ball courts, and community gathering area contained within the modest wood frame structure. In 1918, the City of Roslyn acquired the property, and it has been the seat of local government since then.

Camp Yeomalt WPA Log Cabin

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2005

Location: Bainbridge Island, Kitsap County

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) constructed this log cabin in 1935 as a federal relief project. In 1938, the local Boy Scouts of America chapter purchased the cabin and for the next 50 years operated it as Camp Hopkins. It also served as a recreation hall for soldiers during World War II. In 1987, the Bainbridge Island Parks & Recreation District acquired the property, which became known as Camp Yeomalt. Currently, the original log cabin is closed to the public due to its deteriorated condition.

Washington’s Historic Barns

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2006

Washington’s barns are historically significant for their association with broad patterns of agricultural history and community development and as examples of distinct architectural styles and methods of construction. Over 50 barns across the state are currently designated as local landmarks or listed in the National or State Registers.

LaFramboise Farmstead

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2006

Location: Yakima County

Located on land originally owned by the Moxee Land Company, the farmstead consists of four buildings: an 1885 church; a 1902 farmhouse and a c. 1902 barn; and a c. 1910 storage shed. By 1897 the church had been converted into a blacksmith shop. Antoine LaFramboise, a French-Canadian immigrant, began working in the shop that year and later purchased it, eventually constructing the additional buildings on the site. The National Register listed LaFramboise farmstead remains in the family today.

Howard S. Wright House

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2006

Location: Everett, Snohomish County

Located in Everett’s Grand District, the Howard S. Wright House has been described as a fine example of the Classic Box. Howard S. Wright, founder of the Howard Wright construction company noted in the Puget Sound region and beyond as the main builder for the Seattle World’s Fair buildings, including the Space Needle, built the house in 1905.

By 1961, the house had been divided into eight apartments. A fire destroyed the roof in 2002, and fighting the fire caused water damage throughout. It was nominated in 2006 and the next year, Bill Belshaw, a local resident and board member with Historic Everett, purchased the house and rolled up his sleeves. Belshaw completely restored and updated the house, turning it into five condominiums. The house was listed on the Everett Register of Historic Places in November of 2012.

Once neglected, historic Everett house shines again” – HeraldNet, Novemebr 20, 2012

Downtown Mount Vernon

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2007

Location: Mount Vernon, Skagit County

Located in the heart of Skagit Valley, Mount Vernon is a charming community with a rich collection of historic resources.  These resources include a downtown that boasts an intact streetscape of historic commercial buildings and fraternal orders providing the city with a truly unique sense of place.  This downtown core offers the National Register-listed Lincoln Theater, a historic square symbolic of the city’s origins featuring intact examples of false-front architecture, and commercial buildings decorated with ornate terra cotta.

Unfortunately, Mount Vernon had some difficult choices to make to insure that predicted 100-year flood levels would not threaten its future. To address future floods, the city developed a master plan which called for the removal of some historic resources and in 2007, the Washington Trust for placed the core downtown area on its Most Endangered Places list. As part of its compliance with state and federal laws, the city undertook a survey of downtown resources and entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation in 2008. While some resources were lost in the construction effort, much of the core historic streetscape is intact and thriving.

Read more from our “40 for 40” featured story from the Washington Trust’s 40th anniversary in 2016.