High tea has higher purpose to aid historic preservation

History lovers, here’s your chance to return to a genteel past. A fancy tea is planned for Mother’s Day weekend in one of Everett’s most magnificent old homes. While celebrating the past, tea drinkers will be helping a future historian.

The Historic Everett High Tea, scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. May 11 at the Hartley Mansion, is a fundraiser for the preservation group’s programs and the Margaret Riddle Historic Preservation Scholarship.

“It’s a first,” Historic Everett treasurer Inger Hutton said of the event that will include teas, dainty sandwiches, salad and sweets served on vintage dishes.

Along with a silent auction, the tea will include a talk by Roberta Jonnet, whose grandmother lived in Everett in 1910. That’s the year the Hartley Mansion was built. The neo-classical style house on Rucker Avenue was built for Roland Hartley, an Everett mayor who in 1925 became Washington’s governor.

Tea organizers have found “fabulous china dishes and teapots” at Goodwill, Hutton said. “It’s going to have a very eclectic look,” she said. Among auction items will be artwork, jewelry and Depression glass.

A hat contest is part of the afternoon, for those brave enough to don the finery of bygone days.

Andrea Tucker, Historic Everett’s vice president, said the group is working this year on the Lowell neighborhood’s 150th birthday celebration. Also being planned is the 2013 Historic Home Tour, scheduled for September.

And applications are being accepted for this year’s recipient of the Margaret Riddle Historic Preservation Scholarship.

The 2012 winner of the $1,000 scholarship was Michelle Van Meter, an Everett High School graduate. Historic preservation is among her studies at Tulane University in New Orleans, Tucker said.

Riddle worked more than 30 years as a history specialist at the Everett Public Library before retiring in 2008. Historic Everett established the scholarship in her name specifically for students aiming at work in preservation, archiving, architecture or other history-related fields.

“I did feel honored to have it named after me,” Riddle said Thursday. She has written many essays about Snohomish County history for the Seattle-based HistoryLink website, including a cyber tour of the Everett waterfront.

Riddle also continues her involvement with the Snohomish County Women’s Legacy Project, which tells stories of women who made significant contributions to this community. The project Riddle helped launch years ago is still collecting stories through the League of Snohomish County Heritage Organizations.

She applauds volunteers who work on historic preservation, but Riddle hopes the scholarship fosters careers. Riddle is encouraged that after she retired from the Everett Public Library, her position was filled. The library has two history specialists, David Dilgard and Lisa Labovitch.

“Volunteers are wonderful. We also need to keep alive the idea that you pay people to do this. It’s very important to encourage students,” Riddle said.

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460, muhlstein@heraldnet.com.

High tea to help Historic Everett

The Historic Everett High Tea will be 2 to 4 p.m. May 11 at the Hartley Mansion, 2320 Rucker Ave., Everett. Proceeds will benefit the Margaret Riddle Historic Preservation Scholarship and Historic Everett programs. Cost is $50, or $40 for Historic Everett members. A limited number of tickets available at: www.brownpapertickets.com/event/349631 or by calling Andrea Tucker, 425-870-6699.

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