Whidbey Island sites make endangered places list

Two historic structures on Whidbey Island — the Coupeville Wharf and a 19th century log cabin near Langley — have been added to the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation’s Most Endangered Places list.

The trust created the list in 1992 to bring attention to threatened buildings, sites and historic places in the state. While circumstances may vary, each building on the list is deemed to face difficult odds for survival, whether that be due to the threat of demolition, incompatible development, or a lack of access to needed funding.

The new Whidbey additions were made May 18, at the trust’s annual Vintage Washington event.

The log cabin was only recently discovered. It is located near Langley, on the south end of the island, and was found when property owner Marian Myszkowski began demolition of a condemned building on her land.

The cabin was revealed when the outer shell of the building was torn down. Currently, little is known about its provenance or original function, but it is estimated to date from somewhere between the 1850s and the 1880s, from the earliest years of Whidbey Island’s white settler history.

Upon the cabin’s discovery, Myszkowski halted demolition and contacted the South Whidbey Historical Society to let them know about the unexpected find. One of the society’s volunteers, retired historian, cultural resource specialist and Washington Trust board member Kyle Walker, has taken on the project of investigating the cabin’s origins.

In the meantime, the structure has been named to the Most Endangered Places list to raise public awareness of its existence and funding to ensure its survival.

Much more is known about the second new addition, the Coupeville Wharf. The wharf was built in 1905 for passenger travel and the import/export of products between Whidbey Island and the mainland.

It is currently owned by the Port of Coupeville and is part of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve. The trust says the biggest threat to the wharf’s survival is climate change.

As a 120-year-old wooden structure situated directly over the water, the wharf is affected by rising sea levels and increasingly frequent king tides. According to local government projections, the wharf will be flooded by the year 2050 if it remains as is today.

The Port of Coupeville hopes to save the structure by raising it — a project that will cost $5 million.

The Washington Trust has named the Coupeville Wharf to the list of Most Endangered Places to support the Port of Coupeville in finding funding and to draw attention to how climate change threatens the state’s historic resources.

IMAGE CREDITS

Washington Trust for Historic Preservation

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