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University Place house listed among most endangered

Post by Matt Misterek / The News Tribune on May 26, 2009 at 4:58 pm with No Comments »
May 26, 2009 4:58 pm

Curran Apple Orchard house

The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation has just put out its list of most endangered historic properties for 2009, and one structure from the South Sound is on it: The Curran Apple Orchard house in University Place.

The TNT has previously written about the 1952-designed house, the work of esteemed Tacoma mid-century-modern architect Robert B. Price.

Now local activists trying to save it from the wrecking ball have gotten a boost from the state historic trust organization. The design is special, according to the state group …

But what sets it apart, and provides the agricultural connection, is the setting: The house is situated within an orchard providing a unique example of early western Washington apple horticulture. This combination deems the property eligible for listing in the Washington Heritage Register, and if listed, would be the first Price-designed resource to achieve such designation.

University Place gave local preservationists until this spring to come up with a plan to save the structure from demolition. Next steps for the Curran House will be discussed during a City Council study session on June 8 at 7 p.m., according to city officials.

After UP became a city in 1995, it took control of Curran park from Pierce County, and the house was rented out. It has sat vacant for more than a year.

The city has said it would cost $125,000 to renovate as a residence, and even more to convert it to a public-use building.

There are several other endangered properties on this year’s Washington Trust list, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer globe and the old Vashon Island school gym.

The attention that comes with making the list is no guarantee of salvation. In Tacoma, for instance, the Japanese Language School was torn down in 2004 and First United Methodist Church in 2007.

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