Granary Building

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2008

Location: Bellingham, Whatcom County

The Granary Building stands as a key part of Whatcom County’s early chicken and egg cooperative movement.  In the fall of 1915, a group of farmers formed an association that ultimately led to the organization of the Washington Cooperative Egg and Poultry Association.  By 1920, Whatcom County’s chicken population exceeded every other county in the West except one in California.  Today, the Granary Building creates a distinct silhouette in downtown Bellingham’s skyline and is architecturally notable as an agricultural building form co-existing within an urban/industrial working waterfront setting.

Through the 1930s and 1940s, the Bellingham waterfront saw major commercial activity and in 1963 one of the world’s largest paper companies, Georgia-Pacific, took over the pulp and tissue mills on the Whatcom Waterway. In its heyday, Georgia-Pacific’s Bellingham operation included the state’s largest ethanol distillery, a research lab and a chlorine plant. At one time, 1,200 local people were employed by Georgia-Pacific, but the industry slowly went into decline, finally closing its doors in the 2000s.

After the closure of the pulp mill, the Port of Bellingham purchased the site and began an extensive environmental cleanup. The City committed to long-term investment and agreed to build new streets and services to the site, dedicating land for public parks, waterfront trails and ecological restoration. The Port and City have partnered to develop a Heritage Trail Concept which includes recommendations on how to showcase historic icons remaining from Georgia-Pacific’s pulp and tissue mill. In 2013, the Port entered into an agreement with Harcourt Bellingham LLC. to develop the Downtown Waterfront area and as of 2019, completed projects include the restoration of the historic Granary Building and Waypoint Park.

The Granary is now a six-storey over basement retail & office building, renovated and modernized after having been abandoned for years. Conversion of the historic grain elevator, which began in 2015, was the first building to be renovated by Harcourt Developments.

Bettinger House

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2008

Location: Snohomish County

William & Ina Bettinger built this Queen Anne-style house in 1917.  As one of the older houses in the downtown core of Edmonds, the structure is identifiable for typical Queen Anne details such as multiple gables, a wraparound porch, fish-scale shingles, and decorative woodwork.  The house is considered eligible for the local register.

Kapus Farmstead

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2008

Location: Clark County

Settled in the 1880s, the Kapus Farm evokes the feeling of an early-twentieth century farmstead, and is unique as one of the few relatively intact complexes of farm buildings remaining in Clark County.  The farm retains the 1888 farmhouse, but most of the structures on site date from circa 1929 when a live-in carpenter was employed to modernize the farm.  During this time, he remodeled the farmhouse and constructed a water tower, garage, and outhouse, all of which remain at the site.  The water tower is especially unique being a four-story, wood-frame structure with a gabled roof still housing the original 2,500-gallon wooden water tank

Washington Hall

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2008

Location: King County

Built in 1908 by the Danish Brotherhood, Washington Hall first served as a settlement house and a fraternal hall, connecting Danish immigrants with tools for starting anew in America and keeping them linked to their social and artistic heritage.  From the 1910s, the hall also hosted other populations in Seattle’s Central District, including African American, Jewish, Filipino, Japanese, Croatian, Korean, and Ethiopian.  Since 1973, it has served as the headquarters for the Sons of Haiti, an African-American Masonic lodge.  Over the years, entertainers and artists such as Duke Ellington, Billie Holliday, and Jimi Hendrix have appeared at Washington Hall.  The building also has architectural significance as the only known fraternal hall designed by prolific Seattle architect Victor Voorhees.

Historical Commercial Fishing Net Sheds

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2008

Location: Pierce County

Next to the fishing vessels themselves, net sheds represent the most important architectural by-product of the commercial fishing industry for Gig Harbor.  Croatian immigrants began to settle in the area around 1900, establishing Millville, one of the harbor’s first towns, along the western shore.  With commercial fishing as the predominant industry, easy access to land for loading and unloading gear was essential.  Modest docks built on wood piles developed along the waterfront with, in many cases, the family home constructed behind these net sheds.  In addition to workplaces, these simple wood piers and covered structures served as gathering places for skippers, crews and their families.

Murray Morgan Bridge

Status: SAVED!

Year Listed: 2008

Location: Pierce County

Dominating the Tacoma skyline when it was built in 1913, the Murray Morgan Bridge, known then as the 11th Street Bridge, played a key role in the city’s urban development by linking downtown to the waterfront and the industrial tide flats.  Designed by renowned bridge engineers Waddell and Harrington, the bridge is remarkable for the height of the deck, the overhead span designed for carrying a water pipe, and its construction on a grade.  In addition, the bridge plays a prominent role in Tacoma’s social history, serving as the setting for gatherings and labor disputes, including a violent strike in 1916, just three years after completion.  In 1997, the bridge was renamed after Murray Morgan, a noted Washington historian.

Nuclear Reactor Building

Status: Lost

Year Listed: 2015, 2008

Location: King County

Following World War II, nuclear engineering programs proliferated at universities across the country, including the University of Washington (UW). Retaining a competitive Nuclear Engineering program, however, required construction of a research reactor. Designed in 1961 by The Architect Artist Group, known as “TAAG”, the Nuclear Reactor Building was a unique collaboration between the architectural and the engineering departments of UW.

Efforts to save the building from demolition in 2008 culminated in the nomination of the building to the Washington Heritage Register that same year and the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. Though younger than the minimum of 50 years that is generally required for listing, the Nuclear Reactor Building (constructed in 1961) was placed on the National Register of Historic Places because it demonstrated exceptional importance with its association with significant historic events, embodying the characteristics of the Modern Movement and representing the work of prominent Northwest architects. The building was also placed on the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2008 Most Endangered Historic Properties List. The earlier advocacy efforts involved the Friends of the Nuclear Reactor Building (consisting mainly of University of Washington students), Docomomo WEWA, Historic Seattle, and the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.

In the Fall of 2014, the University unveiled plans to construct a new Computer Science and Engineering II Building on the site, which would require demolition of the Nuclear Reactor Building. Because of the building’s significance and the seriousness of the threat, the Nuclear Reactor Building was re-listed on the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of 2015 Most Endangered Places. In late 2015, Docomomo WEWA submitted a landmark nomination to the City of Seattle. The University of Washington, claiming it was not subject to they City’s Landmark Preservation Ordinance because it was a state agency, filed a lawsuit against the City of Seattle and also named Docomomo WEWA in the suit. The Washington Trust and Historic Seattle also joined the lawsuit as intervenors.

Preservation advocates lost the first round of legal proceedings in King County Superior Court. On April 14, 2016, King County Superior Court Judge Suzanne Parisien issued an order granting the University of Washington its motion for summary judgment in its lawsuit against defendants City of Seattle and Docomomo WEWA, and intervenors Historic Seattle and the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation. Although advocates continued to try to slow the demolition process, UW moved forward and the Nuclear Reactor Building was demolished on July 19, 2016. Despite the loss of the building, the fight to protect other historic buildings on state-owned university campuses continued on.

The City of Seattle appealed the King County Superior Court decision and the case was elevated to the Washington State Supreme Court. The almost decade-long fight to protect historic resources at the University of Washington has culminated in a State Supreme Court ruling in favor of preservation advocates in the case—University of Washington vs. City of Seattle, Docomomo WEWA, Historic Seattle, and the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation. On July 20, 2017 the State Supreme Court of Washington issued its opinion—a precedent-setting unanimous decision—holding that the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance applies to property owned by the University of Washington. The Court ruled that the University of Washington is a state agency that must comply with local development regulations adopted pursuant to the Growth Management Act.

The Supreme Court win won’t bring back the Nuclear Reactor Building (may it rest in peace), but it can help save other properties owned by UW in the future and may serve as an important precedent for future cases regarding historic properties across the state. Universities not only manage their campuses, but they also own properties in downtowns areas in the hearts of Washington communities small and large.

Even though the building has been lost, we are honored to accept, along with our advocacy partners Docomomo WEWA and Historic Seattle, a Docomomo US Modernism Award of Excellence in Advocacy.