2008 Washington State Endangered Historic Properties — Greyhound Bus Station

On May 27, Washington Trust for Historic Preservation representatives were in Tacoma to announce its annual list of Washington State’s Most Endangered Historic Places. The list dates back to 1992, and aims to raise awareness of historic properties that face demolition by redevelopment or neglect. Over the past 16 years, according to the organization, Washington Trust has placed nearly 100 threatened sites nominated by concerned citizens and organizations across the state. The organization also assists historic preservation advocates in developing strategies aimed at removing these threats.

This year’s list was presented during a press conference on the bridge deck of the 95-year-old Murray Morgan Bridge, which was one of seven endangered historic properties for 2008.

Since June 2, the Index has published a profile of each endangered property, as compiled by Washington Trust.

Here is what the Washington Trust had to say about the Greyhound Bus Station in Olympia.

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The North Coast Lines, a consolidated bus company, built this signature Art Moderne building in downtown Olympia in 1937. At the time, Olympia was on the main highway system for the state and the North Coast Lines established what they described as the “newest, most modern bus depot in the entire Northwest.” It provided a significant link in the transportation system, strategically sited along downtown’s Sylvester Park, mirroring the Old Thurston County Courthouse/State Capitol Building, the Olympia Hotel and other significant buildings. It stands today as a contributing building within the Downtown Olympia National Register Historic District.

The historic structure is threatened by redevelopment. In 2002, Greyhound initiated plans to relocate its operations adjacent to a proposed expansion of the Intercity Transit station five blocks away. While earlier financial woes halted the proposal, efforts to expand the Intercity Transit station to serve as Olympia’s transportation hub have since been revived. Should Greyhound move to the new facility, the current facility would likely be sold.

Indeed, offers to purchase the site have been presented to Greyhound with, it is believed, the intention of demolishing the Art Moderne gem. Local zoning allows a more intense use of the parcel and while demolition and redevelopment of the site would be reviewed by the Olympia Preservation Commission, there are no demolition controls.

For more information, visit http://www.wa-trust.org .