Endangered Property: Carmack House

On May 26, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation announced its annual list of Washington State's Most Endangered Historic Places....

EDITOR’S NOTE: On May 26, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation announced 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 17 years, according to the Trust, more than 100 have been 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 includes Curran House (University Place); Alki Homestead Restaurant (Seattle); BF Tabbott House (Bainbridge Island); Bush House (Index); George Carmack House (Seattle); Day Block (Dayton); Old Ellensburg Hospital (Ellensburg); Libbey House (Coupeville); Post-Intelligencer Globe (Seattle); Sand Point Naval Station (Seattle); St. Edward’s Catholic Church (Shelton); Surrey Downs (Bellevue); Vashon Elementary Gymnasium (Vashon Island).

Last week, the Index began publishing a profile of each endangered property, as compiled by the Trust. Here is what the Trust has to say about the Carmack House in Seattle.

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For nearly 13 years, this Jefferson Street residence in Seattle’s Squire Park neighborhood was home to George Washington Carmack. Credited with staking the first major claim of the Klondike Gold Rush, Carmack’s gold discovery and subsequent boosterism helped spark the mobilization of thousands headed to the Yukon to strike it rich and led to Seattle’s first major economic boom. In addition to the building’s association with Carmack, the house, constructed in 1902, is a rare regional example of the Shingle Style — an architectural style popular on the east coast but much less common in the west.

Vacant for the last few years, the house has fallen into disrepair and been subject to vandalism. In addition, the property is for sale. Adjacent to an institutional medical center, existing zoning allows for a much more intensive level of development than the existing single family house, making demolition the likely course of action for a new owner. Despite this, the Carmack House retains a high degree of integrity, a fact acknowledged by the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board when a majority of board members voted to designate the structure as a city landmark at a recent meeting. Even with landmark status, the future of the Carmack House is uncertain. Plans to relocate the house to a nearby vacant lot and implement a comprehensive rehabilitation program are in the works, but as yet no agreement has been reached.

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

For earlier Index coverage of the Trust, click on the following links:

1. In an old hilltop mansion, a strong voice for preservation (04/14/09) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1528102&more=0 or http://www.wahmee.com/tdi_wa_trust.pdf .

2. Long list of concerns for Washington State preservationists (05/29/08) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1228444&more=0 or http://www.wahmee.com/tdi_jennifer_meisner_qa.pdf .

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The Index has a blog. Visit us at http://i.feedtacoma.com/TDI-Reporters-Notebook/

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