The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar


HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.


Published: Tuesday, December 3, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
In Our View/Coupeville's Haller House


Trying to rescue history

In the Pacific Northwest, history falls away. The farther West, the more removed from old Europe, the more artifacts and historic properties feel ancillary. The future (look at our architecture and urban planning, good and ill) is now.
Historical amnesia comes at a cost. A couple miles south of Everett's Legion Park, a project made possible by FDR's Works Progress Administration, stood the old city dock. More than a century ago, immigrants disembarked, pouring into the City of Smokestacks. It's also hallowed ground for organized labor as site of the 1916 Everett Massacre. Today there's zero acknowledgement -- let alone a plaque -- to mark the bloodbath that took seven lives.
Saving historic buildings is a tough go. Over the years, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation has listed endangered sites in Snohomish County that were subsequently demolished. These include the Scottish Rite Temple and Hewitt block (listed in 2001, razed in 2002); and the Collins Building (listed in 2004, "deconstructed" in 2011.) If you want to get rid of a building, Everett preservationists joke, make sure it's on the National Register of Historic Places (a separate, more elite designation, which included the Collins Building.)
The state's endangered list is not a death sentence in Island County. Preservationists formed Historic Whidbey in part to purchase and restore Haller House in downtown Coupeville, which made the list this year. The home was built in 1866 by Col. Granville Haller, a veteran of the Mexican-American War who was stationed in the 1850s at Fort Dalles in Oregon. During the Civil War, Haller commanded Gen. George McClellan's headquarters' guard in two campaigns. During the Battle of Fredericksburg, he was accused of disloyalty and later separated from the army. Haller then did what folks have done for generations. He rambled West and shed his own history.
Haller thrived in the Pacific Northwest, becoming a successful businessman and investor. He demanded and received a court of inquiry, which in 1873 found him innocent of the disloyalty charge.
Historic Whidbey, which includes volunteers such as Lynn Hyde, the historian at Ebey's Landing National Historical Preserve, is crafting a sustainable business plan to convert Haller House into an historic-house museum. The vision loops in the adjoining Raphael Brunn House, built in 1859 but modernized, to serve as a commercial property to generate income to underwrite operations. If it comes together, Haller House would complement local attractions such as Ebey's Landing and the Island County Historical Museum.
There's a history-minded seller, but Historic Whidbey still needs to raise $40,000-50,000. Here's a legacy Northwesterners can't afford to let fall away.

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

loading...

Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor: jbauer@heraldnet.com

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer: cmacpherson@heraldnet.com

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor: npattison@heraldnet.com

Josh O'Connor, Publisher: joconnor@heraldnet.com

Have your say

Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to letters@heraldnet.com, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we wonít ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at cmacpherson@heraldnet.com or 425-339-3472.

HeraldNet Classifieds