Testimony in Olympia opposing SB 5805 bad school district preservation idea!

Here is our Olympia testimony opposing Senate Bill 5805 which if passed would authorize the board of the Seattle Public School District, the only school district in the state with over 50,000 students, to decide on its own whether or not to adhere to the provisions of the city of Seattle’s landmark preservation ordinance.

January 11, 2018

The Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee

SB 5805 – 2017-18: Position of the Queen Anne Historical Society

SB 5805 – 2017-18 (Sponsored by Senators Reuven Carlyle and David Frockt): Concerning the application of landmark or historic preservation regulations with regard to school district property in school districts with more than fifty thousand students.

The Queen Anne Historical Society vehemently opposes SB 5805. It is a broadside attack on the quality of life in our neighborhood and a serious threat to the protection of our historic built environment. Although we could tick off many reasons for our opposition to the bill, an example says it best. …Continue reading “Testimony in Olympia opposing SB 5805 bad school district preservation idea!”

Bleitz Funeral Home: Inside and Out.

The Landmarks Preservation Board (LPB) designated the Bleitz Funeral Home at 316 Florentia St. a city of Seattle landmark earlier this year. During the preparation of the nomination the developers supported the nomination of the 1921 portion of the building, hoping the LPB would not stand in the way of demolishing the 1989 west side addition. They succeeded there. Now they are faced with convincing the LPB of the need to replace most of the original windows.

The Queen Anne Historical Society’s Landmark Preservation Committee toured the building inside and out on Wednesday, November 22, 2017. The interiors have been completed gutted with the building stripped out on all floors to the concrete walls. Only the wooden floors and a north south row of studs on the first and second floors remain. As is often the case in buildings whose interiors haven’t been landmarked, the views are the interior’s most interesting features. To the north, the building hovers over the Lake Washington Ship Canal and the Ship Canal Trail that ends just below it at the Fremont Bridge. The view to the north includes the passing ships on the canal and the dramatic (soon-to-be-illuminated) opening and closing of the bridge. The view across the canal to historic (and modern) Fremont is also quite nice. To the east, the vista takes in the George Washington Memorial Bridge (Aurora Bridge) and sweeps across Lake Union, Capitol Hill and the University District. Jacob J. Bleitz showed prescience in siting his funeral home. He understood the value of a great location even in the business of dying. …Continue reading “Bleitz Funeral Home: Inside and Out.”

Two new landmarks: Bressi Garage and the Coliseum

Castle at Tarascon; among France’s first landmarks; designated in 1840.

Introduction

Visiting the south of France on a lazy day in August, I rode my bike past the Tarascon Castle on my way to the European festival of basket weaving. Occupied for the first time in 1435, the castle is one of the best preserved in Europe. In 1840, it was among the first buildings in France to be designated a landmark. In 177 years of landmark protection, only its use by the German army during WWII ever put it at risk of demolition. In fact, precision bombing of the bridges on the Rhone River by American pilots in June 12, 1944, purposefully dodged French landmarks like this one. Now, thanks to the recent landmark designation of the Bressi Garage and the Seattle Coliseum, they will share a long life with the castle at Tarascon.

Bressi Garage

Known to us as Pottery Northwest, this wonderful survivor of Queen Anne’s early automobile age is now protected. The Landmarks Preservation Board identified both the exterior and the truss system supporting the roof, effectively an interior feature, as protected elements. The nomination prepared by Artifacts, a Tacoma preservation firm, did not dwell on the significance of Pottery Northwest tenancy. It also minimalized the importance of the successful suit filed by community activists at Sacred Heart Church, which lies between Bressi and the Century 21 World’s Fair site, stopped the fair’s ‘taking’ of all the land from Second to First avenues for the 1962 event. …Continue reading “Two new landmarks: Bressi Garage and the Coliseum”