Group lists Washington's 'endangered' properties - Includes Hyer Farm in Sequim



SEATTLE - The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation has released its list of Washington's 10 most endangered properties. Included on the list of properties, which were nominated by concerned citizens and organizations, are the First United Methodist Church in Seattle, the Olympia Brewery in Tumwater, the Shelton Gymnasium in Shelton, and the Rookery


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 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. Early this year, 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. Future plans for the property remain uncertain. (from Washington Trust for Historic Preservation website)

block in Spokane.

The Washington Trust began the annual list in 1992 to call attention to and rally support for the preservation of threatened historic resources in the state. The Trust says the buildings and sites on the list are representative of the kinds of threats historic places throughout Washington face, including lack of funding, development pressures, poor planning, or neglect.

The 1907 Beaux Arts First United Methodist Church is the only historic church left standing in Seattle’s downtown commercial core. The church was recently listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's annual list of 11 Most Endangered Places.

First United Methodist has plans for a 37-story office tower, which in combination with the adjacent Rainier Club’s plans for a health club and parking spaces to be incorporated in the new building, paves the way for demolition of the historic church building.

Historic Seattle is just one of the groups that has been working with the church to try and come up with a plan to preserve the building.

"Historic Seattle has been working to find a mutally acceptable solution," says preservation advocate Heather Macintosh. "It's going to have to focus on something that is financially equitable. "
Church officials say they have simply outgrown the present building, and need a new building that can support their homeless ministry, as well as offer financial security in the future.

Macintosh says Historic Seattle has developed the Sacred Sites Initiative, which acknowledges both the architectural and community significance of historic religious buildings.

Because of the constitutional separation of church and state, there is very little public aid to historic churches, so Historic Seattle has done a survey of all religious Seattle buildings built before 1935, to help identify which might need help the most.

"Churches spend more on human services than themselves, so they fall apart," says Macintosh.

The plan is to provide small grants to churches to help them maintain their buildings.

Brewery was built in 1906

The entire plant is scheduled to close in July, and it's unclear whether the 1906 building will be closed, demolished, or left in its present state of disrepair and neglect. The City of Tumwater supports a public-private partnership for restoration of the Old Brewery.

Discussions continue between the city and prospective developers, and Washington Trust Executive Director Lisbeth Henning is encouraged by the City's involvement.

"We want to put sites on the list that already have some local support," she says. "Because the city is so involved I'm optimistic."

Gym is eligible for state, national registries

The Art Moderne style Shelton Gymnasium was constructed as a high school gym in 1939-40 and was used for that purpose until 1974. Although eligible for both state and national registers, the building is not listed.

The Shelton School District is working with a citizens’ task force to determine future options for the gym and to find ways to raise funds for its rehabilitation.
Henning says a possibility is that the gym will include part community use, part school use.

Next month, the school board will be presented with a proposal to fund a feasibility study, which would include an historic structures report, an assessment of programming needs, and an architectural and engineering analysis of the structure by consultants experienced in preservation and rehabilitation.

The list

First United Methodist Church - Seattle

Olympia Brewery - Tumwater

Shelton Gymnasium - Shelton

Photo courtesy Wash. Trust
The Rookery, Mohawk and Merton buildings - Spokane
The Elks Building -Tacoma

The Rookery, Mohawk and Merton buildings - Spokane

The Hyer Farm - Sequim

The Jefferson County Courthouse clock tower - Port Townsend

Point Hudson - Port Townsend

Old Ritzville High School - Ritzville

Five Mile Schoolhouse - Mead

Citizens can nominate properties, which are then reviewed by the preservation committee. Properties selected for the 10 Most Endangered List receive the Trust’s assistance in developing support to remove the threat of demolition or neglect.

Resource Links
Washington Trust for Historic Preservation

Historic Seattle


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