Last August, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation and the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) announced grant awards for 14 historic rehabilitation projects for Third Places throughout the state. Two of the projects, Thorp Mill and Aerie Ballroom, have completed the rehabilitation work for which they were awarded grant funding.

The Thorp Mill in Thorp (pictured above), constructed in 1883, survives with all its original machinery intact. Serving as an educational museum that interprets the agricultural history of the region, Thorp Mill also provides meeting space for the local community. A full replacement of the roof to match the work done on the annex in 2013 was completed to reduce fire threat and weather damage to the interior machinery.

The Aerie Ballroom in Centralia, formerly a Fraternal Order of Eagles aerie, built in 1926, has served as a main gathering space for area proms, martial arts and ballroom dance classes, and family events for most of its life span. The roof was significantly deteriorated and replacement involved the installation of new sheathing, shingles, and some portions of flat roof membrane, allowing it to continue to serve its community.

Third Places Grants are administered by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation under contract with DAHP, through the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants Program with federal funds from the National Park Service. The grants are designed to support the rehabilitation of historic properties and foster economic development in rural communities by funding capital preservation projects for historic sites used as Third Places.