Grants enable renovation of historic Reard House
August 22, 2013
By Mackenzie Ciesa
The Reard House has long been an iconic representation of the farming families that once inhabited Sammamish, despite its change in ownership and location throughout the years. However, thanks to the efforts of the Sammamish Heritage Society and the awarding of two grants, the symbolic farmhouse is undergoing renovations to preserve its rich history.
The historic house, built in the late 1800s, was originally was part of a 40-acre farm that later became a housing development. The farm was in the process of being placed on the National Register of Historic Places when most of it was destroyed as part of demolition for the new housing development. The house, however, was saved, and was eventually sold in 2001 to Buchan and Lozier developers. It sat on blocks until June 2012, when the Sammamish Heritage Society raised enough funds to move it.
The heritage society is behind the renovations of the Reard House. Though it receives support from the city of Sammamish, King County and the Washington Trust, along with private donors and volunteers, the society is the sole group responsible for the bulk of the renovation project.
Though many are in favor of preserving the historical icon, project manager Mary Moore said that initially there was some opposition and doubt directed toward the project and the society.
“The biggest challenges were convincing members of the community, and some City Council members, the importance of historical recognition and the importance of the Reard House in a city that, essentially, is trying to build itself on the pastures and farms of a very rural area,” Moore wrote in an email.
“The same area that, because of its pastoral beauty … drew these folks to Sammamish in the first place. Some folks want a shiny new town and felt that the Reard House was too ugly and insignificant as part of the master plan for Sammamish. … [the historical society] feels that it is essential to have a symbol of Sammamish’s past, non-glamorous and all,” Moore added.
The society has already made progress in the renovation efforts of the farmhouse. So far, the house has been given a new foundation and a new roof, along with restoration of the original windows and front door.
Moore says that the new grants awarded to the society will be used to cover the cost of the new front porch – which was removed in the original move of the house in 2001 – and the interior electrical and plumbing. Work on these areas of the house will begin this fall and winter, respectively.
After the restoration efforts are completed, the house will be open to the public, and Moore hopes it will be used for meetings, weddings and other community activities.
“It will ‘live,’” said Moore. “We all feel it’s a very happy house, and we are anxious to have everyone come in and enjoy it.”
Mackenzie Ciesa is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory.