Seattle, Washington: The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation is seeking nominations to its 2015 Most Endangered Historic Properties List. Nomination forms may be obtained through the Trust’s website at www.preservewa.org.
Washingtonians enjoy a diverse collection of historic and cultural resources found throughout the state. Historic buildings and sites significantly contribute to the heritage and vitality of Washington while enhancing the quality of life in small towns, large cities, and across rural areas. Yet each day, these resources face a variety of challenges, including lack of funding, deferred maintenance, neglect, incompatible development, and demolition. Inclusion in the Most Endangered List is an important initial step in highlighting these threats and bringing attention to those historic resources most in need.
Historic properties selected for the Most Endangered list receive advocacy support and assistance from the Washington Trust. While the focus is to remove the immediate threat facing historic properties, raising awareness of preservation issues in general remains a programmatic goal. Through proactive partnering with local organizations and concerned citizens, the Washington Trust’s Most Endangered List program has resulted in many high profile success stories across Washington since its establishment in 1992.
Past case studies demonstrate the effectiveness of inclusion in our Most Endangered List. The Green Mountain Lookout is located near Darrington, in a section of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest designated as the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Originally constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933, the US Forest Service completed restoration of the Lookout in 2010. The agency promptly faced a lawsuit alleging they had violated the Wilderness Act during the restoration process. The courts agreed. Facing a court-ordered mandate to remove the Lookout, local advocates sought legislative relief. With support from the Washington Trust and other partners, the community’s tireless, multi-year efforts paid off, as President Obama signed into law the Green Mountain Lookout Heritage Protection Act in April 2014. The Lookout will remain atop Green Mountain, serving as a destination for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
The Enchanted Valley Chalet located in Olympic National Park provides an example from our 2014 Most Endangered List. Over the course of several years, the meandering channel of the Quinault River worked to undercut the chalet’s foundation, leaving the structure precariously cantilevered over the riverbed. While Park officials debated dismantling the chalet, which sits within a designated Wilderness Area, a dedicated handful of organizations and local advocates with deep ties to the area urged for the structure to be relocated away from the river while remaining in the valley. After determining relocation would not pose a significant environmental risk, Park officials contracted for the chalet to be moved approximately 150 feet away from the river. Although long-term plans have yet to be finalized, the chalet presently remains at home in the Enchanted Valley.
Communities are encouraged to take action when the historic fabric of their neighborhoods, main streets, rural landscapes, and beloved parks are threatened. Through our Most Endangered List, the Washington Trust offers support with preservation efforts aimed at resolving these preservation challenges.
Nominations to the Trust’s 2015 Most Endangered Historic Properties List are due on Monday, January 12, 2015. The 2015 List will be announced at the annual RevitalizeWA Preservation and Main Street Conference held in May as part of the Washington Trust’s Preservation Month programming.
Those interested in nominating a resource are strongly encouraged to contact Cathy Wickwire, Operations Manager with the Washington Trust, prior to submitting a nomination. For more information on the Most Endangered Historic Properties List, including a nomination form, please visit the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation website at www.preservewa.org/Nomination-Process.aspx.