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 Old Granary Building in Bellingham.
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The Granary Building stands as a key part of Whatcom Countys 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 Countys chicken population exceeded every other county in the West except one in California. Today, the Granary Building creates a distinct silhouette in downtown Bellinghams skyline and is architecturally notable as an agricultural building form co-existing within an urban/industrial working waterfront setting. The Granary Building has been determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Port of Bellingham currently owns the building, along with over 200 acres of property along Bellinghams waterfront containing numerous additional structures that until recently served as operations for the Georgia-Pacific Corp. Intending to redevelop the entire site the Port released a Draft Environmental Impact Study (DEIS) in January of 2008. Each of the three redevelopment schemes presented in the DEIS assumes removal of the Granary Building. Of the thirteen buildings at the site identified as potentially eligible for historic designation, the DEIS assumes that all but one would be removed. Recently, the Port distributed a Request for Proposals soliciting a consultant to assist in developing mitigation strategies for any adverse affect redevelopment may have on historic structures, including the granary. Fearful of losing the identifiable granary building along with nearly a dozen other historic structures, concerned residents of Bellingham are beginning to actively advocate for the preservation of these structures and for a measured analysis of how it might be adaptively reused as an economically viable project.
For more information, visit http://www.wa-trust.org .