PORT TOWNSEND — The list of prize winners ranges from a cottage to a 128-year-old mansion, with a book and a public art project in between.
The Jefferson County Historical Society has announced the 2020 Mary P. Johnson Historic Preservation Awards: 12 in all, with a pair of top awards and 10 certificates of merit.
Heading the lineup are the transformations of 19th-century edifices: the Quilcene Museum’s Worthington Mansion and the C.F. Clapp building, a former dance club — among other things — at 725 Water St.
Jens and Karle Coppenrath of Port Townsend Vineyards turned the ground floor of the Clapp building into the Vintage, a spacious spot for parties big and small.
The 1885 structure has steel girders reinforcing the brickwork, so if an earthquake hits downtown, the Clapp will stand, awards committee chairman Craig Britton said.
“People had a lot of ideas about what we should do with it,” Karle added.
“Having spent 25-plus years in this town, what’s important is a sense of community, and preserving that outside space as a gathering space,” she said.
With the onset of the pandemic, the plaza, with its fire pits and heaters, is the only place with seating.
“When this is all over, we’re going to have a great time here,” inside and out, Karle said.
The Worthington Mansion, meanwhile, is the fruit of some 32,000 hours of volunteer labor, said Quilcene Museum spokesman Brian Cullin.
The project began in 2011; then came the French mansard roof, the handicap-accessible ramp and the remodeling of 17 rooms on three floors.
The mansion could be the site of the Mary P. Johnson Historic Preservation Awards ceremony come spring, and in fall 2021, the Quilcene Museum board hopes to start renting it out for weddings and other events.
Hundreds of volunteers made over the Worthington, and the result is “unbelievable,” Britton added.
Also noteworthy is an 1880s-vintage Victorian cottage at 331 Van Buren St. Bryan Varteresian’s restoration won him a certificate of merit, Britton said, as it’s an example of how a home in bad shape can be saved from demolition.
Port Townsend has about 600 Victorian houses, Britton said, many of them cottages like this one.
The historic preservation awards are a way to affirm people’s investments of time, money and passion. The honors come with no prize money, although Britton hopes other community members will find inspiration among them.
The rest of the certificate of merit winners are:
• The Friends of the Swansonville Church, who are restoring the 1903 building in Port Ludlow.
• Aaron Asis, Washington State Parks and Centrum, whose temporary public art project appeared this fall at Fort Worden and is still online at FortWords.com.
• The Chinese Gardens Interpretive Trail at the edge of Fort Worden State Park, created by the Friends of Fort Worden, Washington State Parks and Zan Manning.
• Local author Erica Bauermeister, whose memoir “House Lessons: Renovating a Life” tells the story of rescuing a trash-filled 1909 home in Port Townsend.
• The city of Port Townsend for its work to place underground the power lines in the downtown historic district.
• Mari Phillips, who helped found the Quilcene Museum and served for some three decades on its board.
• The Artful Sailor, at 410 Washington St., a business devoted to preserving traditional sailmaking heritage.
• Rafael Urquia, who advocated preservation work at the O.C. Hastings House, now offices, at 1135 Lawrence St.
• Malcolm Dorn, who invested in further preservation of the 1927 Pearson’s gas station, now home to Finistere Provisions, at 1031 Lawrence St.
Anyone can nominate a project for a preservation award, Britton said. Information can be found at JCHSmuseum.org under the Education and Programs link.
There was a time when Britton saw too much “demolition by neglect,” as he put it.
“There’s a surge in restoration,” it seems now — one he delights in witnessing on his walks around town.
Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected].