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Water takes a toll on the Floyd in Stanwood

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STANWOOD -- Water has damaged a wall of the historic Floyd Norgaard Cultural Center in downtown Stanwood, and it's going to take a lot of money to repair.
It's money -- about $70,000 -- the Stanwood Area Historical Society doesn't have.
The Floyd, as the three-story building on 102nd Avenue NE is nicknamed, was built in 1903. There have been additions over the years, such as a newer annex housing an industrial kitchen and storage space. The building also received a fresh coat of paint, and the siding was re-caulked in the past 10 years.
Otherwise the Floyd is largely unchanged since it was built: horizontal wooden siding (known as "shiplap") nailed to studs. There is no insulation, no vapor barrier or other waterproofing. And the weather is taking its toll on the south wall.
Water seeps in around the windows and through the joints, caulking between the slats is disintegrating. Inside, the plaster is cracked in places and paint is peeling and buckling. Murals dating from the early 20th century are chipped. After a storm, volunteers sometimes find puddles on the hardwood floors inside.
Repairing the damage will mean removing the siding, installing insulation and a vapor barrier, then reinstalling the siding -- or installing new siding if the old siding is too corroded to save.
Bids on the work have so far come in around $70,000, said Dan Lien, who is on the board of trustees.
A letter sent to historical society members and friends has so far raised a little more than $10,000.
Lien said that while the leaks were first noticed about a year ago, they've grown severe this fall.
There's no outside evidence of mold or rot in the support beams, but they won't know for sure until they start removing the siding.
The Floyd was owned by the Odd Fellows in the early part of the 20th Century, then from 1939 by Ed and Marie Bryant, who ran the hardware store across the street and stored farm tools and equipment in the large main hall.
The Bryants deeded the building to the Historical Society in 1996, and it sits on the society's small "campus" of buildings in Stanwood's downtown. The Floyd was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.
Lien said the Society has launched a general capital campaign to raise money for various needs. The hope is to raise $200,000 from a mix of donations from individuals and organizations as well as state or federal grants.
But repairing the Floyd has now become an emergency project. Raising that first $70,000 has taken priority.
The Floyd is rented on an almost weekly basis. Its 3,312-square-foot main room serves as the venue for receptions, parties, exhibits and concerts. The third story houses an exhibit of fashion and design from the early 20th Century.
"The hall is really well used by the community," Lien said.
The other big-ticket item on the Historical Society's list would be to build a garage to house the society's collection of antique cars. Lien estimates that project would cost $100,000.
Some, like the 1923 Ford Model T that Lien drives in parades and a horse-drawn buggy, are housed on site already, while a few others are parked at a farm outside town.
But saving the Floyd has become the society's top priority. The Historical Society plans to start the work as soon as it has enough money.
"Let it go too long, the frame could get rotten and the whole thing will be in jeopardy," Lien said.
Chris Winters: 425-374-4165;
How to help
Donations to the Stanwood Area Historical Society can be mailed to: Stanwood Area Historical Society, P.O. Box 69, Stanwood, WA 98292. For more information, call 360-629-6110, send email queries to, or visit the society's website:
Story tags » Historical SitesStanwoodSnohomish County history

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