JeffCo Historical Society announces esteemed preservation award winners

Leader news staff
news@ptleader.com
Posted 12/25/20

A dozen projects were recently selected as winners of 2020 Mary P. Johnson Historic Preservation Awards, according to an announcement by Jefferson County Historical Society executive director Shelly …

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JeffCo Historical Society announces esteemed preservation award winners

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A dozen projects were recently selected as winners of 2020 Mary P. Johnson Historic Preservation Awards, according to an announcement by Jefferson County Historical Society executive director Shelly Leavens.

The awards have been given annually since 1978.

“Two projects received the Mary Johnson Award for historic preservation to the Secretary of Interior’s Standards, and 10 projects received certificates of merit,” she explained.

The awards provide an opportunity to honor individuals and groups who have worked to preserve or restore traditions, stories, or structures in Jefferson County, Leavens said. Structures may include residential, commercial, or public buildings.

“I’m very pleased with all of the restoration projects that are underway here in Jefferson County and particularly in Port Townsend,” said Craig Britton, Historic Preservation Committee chairman.

“I was not surprised to see 13 nominations,” he added. “The committee toured or viewed the sites individually (in keeping with pandemic restrictions), all of which were meritorious, including two that were worthy of the prestigious Mary Johnson Award.”

This year’s awards went to the Quilcene Museum for the restoration of the 1892 Worthington Mansion and Port Townsend Vineyards for restoration of the 1885 C.F. Clapp Building at 725 Water St.

The mansion, former home of the Worthington family, has been completely restored by an all-volunteer team in the past eight years. It features a French Second Empire Mansard roof finished with 9,000 cedar shingles. Each shingle needed to be individually coated with finish, and set on a rack to dry.

All 17 rooms on three floors have been fully restored with every detail accounted for, including hand-crafted trim and period hardware.

Also, the space is now ADA accessible and usable as an event center.

There have been 32,000-plus volunteer hours invested – including preservation expertise, local artisans, craftspeople, and construction.

The C.F. Clapp Building — formerly a grocery, athletic club, dance club, and art gallery — was in fact first restored by the namesake to these awards, Mary P. Johnson and her husband Harry, in the early 1950s. This second full restoration of the building by Port Townsend Vineyards opens the space up to the public with the Vintage Wine Bar and Plaza.

Winners of certificates of merit were also announced, including the Friends of Swansonville for ongoing and valiant efforts toward the restoration of the 1903 Swansonville Church, the last remaining historic community building in Port Ludlow; artist Aaron Asis, Washington State Parks, and Centrum for the Fort Words project; Washington State Parks, the Friends of Fort Worden, and Zan Manning for the Chinese Gardens Interpretive Trail project; Erica Bauermeister for “House Lessons: Renovating a Life;” the city of Port Townsend for its work to underground the overhead power lines in the Downtown Historic District; Mari Phillips for “her tireless efforts in preservation of Quilcene history”; the Artful Sailor at 410 Washington St. at Point Hudson for “preservation of traditional sailmaking heritage”; Malcolm Dorn for further preservation of the 1927 Pearsons Gas Station at 1031 Lawrence St.; Rafael Urquia for preservation work at the O.C. Hastings House at 1135 Lawrence St.; and Bryan Varteresian for restoration of an 1880s Victorian cottage at 331 Van Buren St.

The awards are named after Mary P. Johnson, who moved to Port Townsend in 1958 and spearheaded the burgeoning efforts to preserve and restore Victorian buildings. Johnson worked at a personal and political level to create her vision for Port Townsend as a historic arts center and was a leading force in cultural, community development, and restoration activities.

Johnson and her husband, Harry, restored the Bartlett House and the Clapp Building. The Bartlett House was one of the first houses in Port Townsend to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. She also founded the Summer School of the Arts, which was a precursor to Centrum.

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