Point Hudson

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2003

Location: Port Townsend, Jefferson County

Located adjacent to what is now downtown Port Townsend, local Indian tribes used the Point Hudson area long before Captain Vancouver’s party came ashore in 1792. The site as it currently exists began in 1934 as a U.S. Quarantine Station. Today it’s a tourist attraction and a boaters’ safe haven. The site is home to the Wooden Boat Festival, restaurants, a moorage, small businesses, a bed and breakfast, and private residences. The Port of Port Townsend has owned the property since 1956 but has leased it to private management until last year. In 2003, Port officials approached the City of Port Townsend seeking demolition permits for all but three of the buildings on the site, citing prohibitive costs to bring the buildings up to code. The Port backed off on plans for demolition, and the City and local preservationists are working with the Port to seek alternatives for compatible new development and re-use of existing historic structures.

Read more about Point Hudson.

Jefferson County Courthouse and Tower

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2003

Location: Jefferson County

The Jefferson County Courthouse, built in 1892 on a bluff overlooking the town and visible to all, symbolized the city and county’s prosperity in the late 19th century heyday of shipping and logging. The massive Romanesque brick, sandstone, and terra cotta building is still being used for its original purpose. A thick coating of sealer was applied to the exterior masonry in the 1970s, but it is unreinforced and therefore unable to withstand a large earthquake. Of even greater concern than the courthouse is the clocktower, which due to its high, exposed location, is significantly overstressed by wind loads. Approximately $1.35 million in grants and appropriations have been raised for repair and maintenance of the tower and courthouse, but the estimated budget for strengthening the tower alone is $3 million. The urgency of the project remains.

Hyer Farm

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2003

Location: Sequim, Clallam County

The nationally listed Hyer farmhouse, barn, and outbuildings represent an intact and well-preserved slice of early 20th century rural architecture in Washington state.

The Hyer Farmstead near Sequim was placed on the Most Endangered Places list in 1994 because of demolition threats due to the re-routing and expansion of Highway 101. The truly stellar collection of early 20th century farm buildings, considered at the lime to be one of the best surviving rural properties on the Olympic Peninsula, included the farmhouse, barn, and water tower—all placed on the National Register in 1994.

The farm was purchased in 1997 by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) for the Highway 101 bypass and put up for sale with the condition that its historic character be preserved. For several years, Clallam County intended to buy the property but never signed the purchase agreement. In 2003, WSDOT put Hyer Farm up for public auction, with the historic restrictions in place. The bid opening on May 14th revealed that a local buyer was the successful bidder. The new owner then proceeded to work on farmhouse rehabilitation, seek funds for preservation of other buildings on the site, and work towards an overall agricultural use.

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

First United Methodist Church

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2003

Location: Seattle, King County

The 1907 Beaux Arts First United Methodist Church is the only historic church left standing in Seattle’s downtown commercial core. While eligible for national, state, and local landmark status, the church has successfully fought such designation at the local level.

There are times we simply fall in love with buildings and cannot help ourselves. Such was the case for Kevin Daniels and First United Methodist Church in Seattle. Looking to capitalize on valuable land prices, the congregation sought to sell their half block downtown, with the goal of constructing a new church elsewhere scaled to meet their needs. Advocates in turn sought local landmark status for the historic sanctuary to stave off demolition, but state Supreme Court rulings prevent such listing without owner consent.

Recognizing demolition as imminent, Kevin worked with local elected officials, congregation members, and advocates to return trust to the process and ultimately purchase the site. After waiting patiently through the recession, Kevin and his team re-introduced the historic house of worship at a gala event last fall. Now a dynamic events venue, The Sanctuary stands in the heart of downtown as a truly heroic success story.

Rookery, Mohawk, and Merton Buildings

Status: Lost

Year Listed: 2003

Location: Spokane County

The Rookery (1933), Mohawk (1915), and Merton (1890) buildings sat on one block in the heart of downtown Spokane. The Merton, former home of the Spokane Spokesman newspaper, was part of the rebuilding effort following the Great Fire of 1889. The terra cotta-ornamented Mohawk housed Dodson’s Jewelry, a longtime Spokane merchant still extant in another location. The Rookery served as Spokane’s premier example of Art Deco terra cotta artistry. These properties were mostly vacant and were demolished in 2004.

Elks Building

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2003

Location: Tacoma, Pierce County

The 1916 Beaux Arts-style Elks Building, which looms over Commencement Bay at the northern edge of Tacoma, is a contributing primary building in the Old City Hall Historic District and was built was when fraternal organizations were integral to the community. The Elks building sat empty and deteriorating for decades and in 2003 it was nominated as a Most Endangered Place because the owner threatened demolition. The public’s response was swift and the City of Tacoma prevailed in court, which ended the immediate threat. But the building remained empty, continuing to deteriorate.

In October 2009, McMenamins purchased the building and after some delays, construction finally began in 2017. The reimagined building weaves together art, local history, and their signature interior style and includes 45 guest rooms, multiple bars and restaurants (including al fresco dining on Tacoma’s iconic Spanish Steps), a music and events venue, and much more. The project cost totaled $34.5 million and utilized both federal and state historic tax credits. The McMenamins Elks Temple opened to great fanfare on April 24, 2019, and after sixteen years on our list, we can finally call one of Tacoma’s architectural treasures officially saved!

Old Tumwater Brewery

Status: In the works!

Year Listed: 2003

Location: Thurston County

Tumwater, Thurston County

The six-story Italianate brick brewhouse, erected in 1906 by Olympia Brewing Company’s original owner, Leopold Schmidt, is Tumwater’s best known landmark. Part of Tumwater’s New Market Historic District and listed on the national and state registers of historic places, the Old Brewhouse is vacant and in deteriorating condition. Bricks have detached from the building and are unstable. Wooden roofs have collapsed, and water damage is widespread. Owner SABMiller Brewery has announced it will close its entire plant in July 2003. It is unclear whether the 1906 building will be closed, demolished, or left in its present state. The City of Tumwater supports a public-private partnership for restoration and adaptive re-use of the Old Brewery. Discussion of such a vision continues between the City and prospective developers, but no resolution has been reached.

Shelton Gymnasium

Status: Lost

Year Listed: 2003

Location: Shelton, Mason County

The Art Moderne style, reinforced concrete Shelton Gymnasium was constructed as a high school gym in 1939-40, designed by prominent northwest architect Joseph Wohleb, and used for that purpose until 1974. The entire high school complex was been torn down except for the gym, which for many years stood as a reminder of the community’s hopes as it shook off the Great Depression. Although it was eligible for both state and national registers, the building was not listed.

After allowing significant deterioration by neglect, the Shelton School Board announced in 2003 that it was considering demolition. The public reacted by forming The Friends of the Shelton Gymnasium, which began efforts to save and revitalize the gym. The School Board acquiesced to the public interest but voted to allow just nine months for the Friends to raise one million dollars and propose a revitalization plan. The Washington Trust immediately joined in the effort, placing the building on its 2003 Most Endangered Places list.

With support from the Washington Trust, the Friends nominated the gym to the National Register, completed a historic structures report, a feasibility study, and an estimate of rehabilitation costs. The Friends also employed legal steps to prevent demolition, but were unable to overcome the Board’s predetermined decision. The Shelton Gymnasium was demolished in May 2005.

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

Ritzville High School

Status: Lost

Year Listed: 2003

Location: Ritzville, Adams County

The original Ritzville High School was constructed in 1910. In 1927, the old structure was incorporated under a new facade and two wings were added on either side. Although listed on the local and national registers, in 1982 the building was condemned when a new high school was built; it remained vacant until 1992 when it was gutted to create an assisted living facility. That project was never completed, leaving an eyesore with a leaking roof, an exposed, accessible interior, and poorly maintained grounds which constituted a potential fire hazard. The building was demolished in August 2013.

Five Mile Schoolhouse

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2003

Location: Spokane County

The Five Mile Schoolhouse, formerly known as the Sky Prairie Schoolhouse, was built in 1937 by the federal Works Progress Administration. It’s a classic two-room, two-story brick schoolhouse, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. Closed after 1969, it was used as a storage facility by the Mead School District. The property was neglected, with windows boarded. The school is now owned by the State of Washington. Five Mile Schoolhouse is a community gathering place and a potential space for all types of art, educational, recreational, and public/neighborhood activities. The schoolhouse reopened in 2006 after the building was remodeled. It is now home to the Mead Education Partnership Program, an alternative school that combines home schooling with time in the classroom.