Worthington Mansion closer to event center

Posted 7/10/19

Reservations are not yet being taken, but the Quilcene Historical Museum wrapped up the month of June by celebrating the strides they’ve made in turning Worthington Mansion into a public facility, while also looking ahead to how much work they have left.

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Worthington Mansion closer to event center

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Reservations are not yet being taken, but the Quilcene Historical Museum wrapped up the month of June by celebrating the strides they’ve made in turning Worthington Mansion into a public facility, while also looking ahead to how much work they have left.

Christine Satterlee, one of the board members of the museum, was serving food and beverages to guests in Worthington Park June 29, as she explained how the Jefferson County Hearing Examiner approved the Worthington Mansion’s change-of-use application, to convert it from a single-family residence into an events center with overnight lodging.

Satterlee noted the May 28 hearing drew 26 attendees, out of which 13 people spoke. She noted that all of the presenters, as well as all but two of the 77 letters submitted, were in favor of the change of use. Of the two remaining letters, one was from the county, pointing out the Worthington Mansion would need sidewalks and other features to complete its transition to an events center, while the other was from the house’s next-door neighbors, seeking to ensure fencing would be installed between their houses.

Fellow board member Carol Christiansen acknowledged that several steps would need to be taken before the Worthington Mansion could begin operating as an events center, from the installation of a parking lot to a septic system, but she joined her colleagues in taking pride in how much the former home has been renovated to date, and looked forward to its future of taking in guests.

“Rather than running it as a bed-and-breakfast, we’re looking at renting out the entire mansion at once — four bedrooms, living room, media room, kitchen and library,” said Christiansen, who also sees opportunities in having the house’s kitchen serve as a “catering kitchen,” where food could be prepared, but not cooked.

Ellen Jenner is the granddaughter of William Worthington, whose family moved into what had been the Hamilton home in Quilcene for 15 years before Worthington took possession of it in 1907. While other museum board members served refreshments outside, Jenwner reveled in the renovations that had been made to her family’s mansion while accompanied by board secretary Larry McKeehan.

“These window sills leaked all the time when I was a child,” Jenner said. “We had to get towels during rainstorms, and even as a child, I couldn’t see how this house would last.”

The sills have since been made literally better than new, and while the original wood was figured maple that had been harvested on site, the replacement cedar has been cut and painted to look like the original figured maple.

Jenner recalled how the original roof likewise “leaked like a sieve,” necessitating its replacement with a more conventional gabled roof, but the museum’s renovations have restored the original style of the roof, in addition to removing a basement that Jenner always regarded as ill-considered.

“The water table was so high that the basement was always leaking, too,” Jenner said. “You had to walk across wooden planks just to get to the washer and dryer.”

McKeehan gushed over the quality of the period furniture the museum has been able to install in the mansion, which decor expert Allan Kollar proudly pointed out ranges from 1890 through 1930, covering the Victorian era and the Arts and Crafts movement.

“It’s not just going to be a showroom,” Kollar said. “Our goal is to educate people on history.”

McKeehan looks forward to seeing the staircase to the third-floor attic widened, but with the house still short of required public amenities such as ADA-compliant bathroom facilities, the museum board is still figuring out how much money they’ll need to raise to proceed to the next stage of the mansion’s change of use from private to public space.

“We’re debt-free as of now, but we’re still getting estimates for the work ahead,” Christiansen said. “As a private residence, the Worthington Mansion didn’t need a parking lot or a septic system or an ADA bathroom, but if it’s going to serve the public as an events center, those are necessary.”`

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