Open Houses this weekend for historic sites competing for preservation grants

Five historic properties in Tacoma and Pierce County competing for a share of $1 million in grant dollars from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express will open their doors this weekend to visitors. The sites include Titlow Park Lodge, Spanish Steps, Johnson Farm / Anderson Island Historical Society, Orting Soldiers Home / Garfield Hall, and Skansie Brothers Net Shed.

Launched in 2006, Partners in Preservation is a program in which American Express, in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, pledged $5.5 million over a five-year period toward preserving historic places throughout the United States. American Express has already allocated $2.4 million in preservation grants, which has allowed recipients to make significant progress in achieving their preservation goals.

In this partnership, American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation seek to increase the public’s awareness of the importance of historic preservation in the United States and to preserve America’s historic and cultural landmarks. The program also seeks to inspire long-term support from local citizens for the historic places at the heart of their communities.

There are 25 sites in the Puget Sound region asking for the public’s vote at until May 12. Winners of the voting contest will be guaranteed funding for critical preservation projects.

For a complete list of the 25 sites, visit . For more information, visit .

This weekend’s open houses are free and open to the public. The historic properties include:

8425 6th Avenue, Tacoma
Open House May 1: 12 – 3; May 2: 12 – 3
Special Events: May 1: Camp games, crafts and fun; exhibits on Titlow Park history; refreshments and drawings for free camp registrations; May 2: Residents are invited to share memories and stories about Titlow; exhibits on Titlow Park history; drawings for free lodge and picnic rentals.

South 7th Street & Commerce Street, Tacoma
Open House May 1: 12 – 2; May 2: 12 – 2
Special Events: May 1 & 2: Continue a time-honored Tacoma tradition with a “before” picture taken on the Steps and learn about the rehabilitation of the Spanish Steps and adjacent Elks Lodge.

9306 Otso Point Road, Anderson Island
Open House May 1: 11 AM – 3; May 2: 12 – 4
Special Events: May 1: All farm buildings open to the public; docents at major buildings from 12 – 2; AIHS 35th year celebration and Partners in Preservation kickoff begins at 12; free popcorn, hot dogs, desserts, door prizes and hay rides throughout the day; May 2: All farm buildings open to the public, docents on-site.

1301 Orting-Kapowsin Highway, Orting
Open House: May 2: 12 – 3:30
Special Events: May 2: Food, fishing and a veteran meet and greet.

3207 Harborview Drive, Gig Harbor
Open House: May 1: 10 – 4; May 2: 12 – 4
Special Events: May 1: Live music and entertainment; Netshed tours and artifact displays; Storytelling, and net-mending contests.

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For earlier Tacoma Daily Index coverage of the Spanish Steps, click here:

Tacoma’s Spanish Steps to vie for $125K historic preservation grant (04/15/10) —

Tacoma moves closer to Spanish Steps rehab (04/01/10) —

The Notes of Spanish Steps (09/30/09) — and

Momentum continues for Spanish Steps rehabilitation (07/27/07) —