Make Your Nominations for Most Endangered Historic Properties

When the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation called for nominations to its Most Endangered Historic Properties List for 2012, it seemed like Old City Hall was a shoe-in. Imagine our surprise to find that it only made the “Watch List.” Well, here’s your chance to try to change that – or to nominate another Tacoma property for the list:

Washington Trust Announces a Call for Nominations to the 2013 Most Endangered Historic Properties List

Seattle, Washington: The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation is seeking nominations to its 2013 Most Endangered Historic Properties List. Nomination forms may be obtained through the Trust’s website at

Statewide, threats to historic resources include demolition, neglect, incompatible development and insensitive alterations. These challenges, along with many others, impact properties across Washington that significantly contribute to the heritage and vitality of our state while enhancing the quality of life in small towns, large cities and across rural areas. Inclusion in the Most Endangered List is an important initial step in advocacy campaigns intended to bring attention to significant historic resources.

Historic properties selected for the Most Endangered list receive support and technical assistance from the Washington Trust. While the focus is to remove the immediate threat facing historic properties, raising awareness of preservation issues in general remains a programmatic goal. Through proactive partnering with local organizations and concerned citizens, the Washington Trust’s Most Endangered List program has resulted in many high profile success stories across Washington since its establishment in 1992.

Numerous case studies demonstrate the effectiveness of inclusion in our Most Endangered List. Harborview Hall, located on the Harborview Medical Center Campus in Seattle, represents such an example. Last year, the Art Deco mid-rise faced demolition in order to clear space on the medical campus for a paved plaza. In partnership with local advocacy organizations, local government and elected officials, and neighborhood representatives, the Washington Trust supported a public process enabling interested parties to submit redevelopment scenarios for the structure. To date, officials are working with a developer on the feasibility of rehabilitating Harborview Hall and integrating it with the mission of the surrounding medical campus.

Communities are encouraged to take action when the historic fabric of their neighborhoods, main streets and rural landscapes are threatened. Through our Most Endangered List, the Washington Trust offers support with preservation efforts aimed at resolving these preservation challenges.

So, what deserves a nomination?

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Justus Rathbone

Tacoma’s magnificent, intact, and historic 100+ year old Pythian Temple, 924-6 Broadway.  Built and owned by Commencement Lodge #7, whose current membership is largely historic and community-minded Brothers and Pythian Sisters, without more actual membership (very reasonable dues), a low, declining membership count would force the Lodge to close, endangering the future of the building.  Far from being a secret society, the building, used for various public and private events throughout the year,  is a real asset to the community and a historic treasure.  Rent from wonderful tenants help pay for bills and upkeep, but a few more members on the books would help guarantee its survival.  Relatively little effort for huge gain.

December 15, 2012 at 8:21 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Gerry Sperry

In 2011 I succesfully nominated Old City Hall to the <span class=“caps”>WTHP</span> Most Endangered Properties List where it will remain until it’s status is clarified. The induction ceremony occurred in front of Old City Hall in the spring of that year. I submitted the official form after intensive research and photo documentation. Because it is privately owned and steps have been taken to alleviate some of the most serious deterioration, nothing more can be done until threats to it’s infrastructure become more imminent. The writer for Exit 133 suggests that a new nomination of Old City Hall can improve it’s status or chances for survival as a historic property with enhanced recognition by <span class=“caps”>WTHP</span>. Not true. All that can be done to save it now is being done until such a time as state and local laws are changed to allow for a more proactive intervention. Perhaps if the article writer were to become a member of Historic Tacoma he can learn be more knowledgable about complexities of historic preservation vs. private ownership and what it really means for a property to be on the <span class=“caps”>WTHP</span> Watch List. To be on the Watch List is to be a Most Endangered Property. There are many other worthy candidates for Most Endangered Properties: don’t waste time or energy re-submitting Old City Hall.

December 15, 2012 at 9:00 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Old Gray/Barlow… d’oh, too late.

Thanks for nothing Washington Trust.

December 15, 2012 at 10:25 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Tim Smith

The Columbarium at Oakwood Cemetery with its 5,000+ piece stain-glass dome. As for Old Bray/Barlow…Historic Tacoma definately taught us something about the complexities of historic preservation.

December 17, 2012 at 9:55 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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