Endangered Property: Vashon Gym

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 Vashon Gym on Vashon Island.

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Built in 1919, the wood frame gymnasium is reputed to be the largest and one of the most historic non-agrarian structures on Vashon Island. Vashon’s first high school was constructed at the site in 1912 and soon thereafter was consolidated to serve elementary students; the gymnasium was constructed to meet the needs of the expanding school. Having outlasted several subsequent school structures (the last of which was demolished in 2004), the gym stands as the last physical connection to Vashon’s early schools.
The Vashon Island Parks District recently received a state grant to develop athletic fields at the location of the gymnasium. The project requires removal of the gymnasium and in October 2008 the Vashon Island School Board, which currently owns the site, voted to demolish the gym. Potentially eligible as a King County Landmark, the hope is that the gym can be relocated to a different area of the site and integrated as a viable component of the proposed recreational fields.

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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/