EVERETT — Everett Public Schools’ historic Longfellow building has been named one of the “most endangered properties” in the state.
The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation released its annual list of those properties last week.
The Longfellow building, 3715 Oakes Ave., was designed by architect Wesley Hastings and built in 1911. It was used as a school and later as an administration building for the school district.
It’s strongest claim to fame, however, is to former U.S. Sen. Henry M. Jackson.
“That’s where Scoop went to school,” said David Dilgard, a historian with the Everett Public Library. “The family home is just a couple blocks away.”
The Washington Trust is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to draw attention to historic buildings and properties in the state that for one reason or another are threatened.
“It could range from imminent demolition to inappropriate maintenance,” said Chris Moore, the executive director of the trust.
In the case of the Longfellow building, the school district has tried without success to sell it to a group that will preserve the historic architecture. The district only received one proposal, which was deemed not viable.
The district’s original intent was to raze the building and build more parking on the site, which serves the adjacent Memorial Stadium and other athletic facilities.
The building now is mostly vacant, used for storage and occasional police and fire training exercises. The district estimates that it spends $78,000 per year keeping the electricity, heat and security system running.
The district has also estimated it would cost $7.8 million to bring Longfellow up to current code for a commercial building. The building and its 2.3-acre lot is worth somewhere between $1.1 million and $1.4 million, however.*
Dilgard said that while the Longfellow building is fairly typical for commercial architecture of that era, it’s a sturdy building that’s survived two major earthquakes. He still hopes that some creative solution to saving the building can be found.
For example, Queen Anne High School in Seattle was turned into a condominium complex, and Everett High School was restored and is now one of the best examples of Beaux-Arts architecture in the state, Dilgard said.
Moore said that the intent of the listing is to call attention to and garner support for local efforts to preserve endangered properties.
“All preservation is local,” Moore said.
“I think there is a heritage component as well that I think school districts need to consider in their decision-making,” he added
Other buildings on the endangered list this year include the Robert Morris Earthwork sculpture in SeaTac, the More Hall Annex (the “Nuclear Reactor Building”) at the University of Washington’s Seattle campus, the Masonic Home of Washington in Des Moines, St. Ignatius Hospital in Colfax and the Lincoln School in Port Townsend.
Correction, May 19, 2015: Everett School District’s Longfellow building sits on a 2.3-acre site and is estimated to be worth between $1.1 million and $1.4 million. The acreage and value were incorrect in an earlier version of this story.