COUPEVILLE – Preservation nonprofit Historic Whidbey announced today its purchase of the 1866 Granville & Henrietta Haller House and the permanent protection of Penn Cove shoreline in historic Coupeville, Washington. Funding for the acquisition came in the form of generous grants from the National Park Foundation, the National Park Trust, the Norcliffe Foundation, the Coupeville Lions, and scores of private benefactors from the community and beyond.
“The Haller House is one of the state’s oldest homes in one of its most authentic founding communities,” said Lynn Hyde, executive director of Historic Whidbey. “It truly took the whole village to save this landmark cultural & natural resource for the community.”
The purchase was conducted in partnership with the National Park Service, which simultaneously purchased the sensitive Penn Cove shoreline parcel, as well as a preservation easement on the house and houselot. This easement protects the historic site from inappropriate alteration and development in perpetuity, insuring the integrity of its historic character.
The Haller House is a contributing structure in the inventory of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, a partnership unit of the National Park System managed jointly by the Town of Coupeville, Island County, Washington State Parks, and the National Park Service.
Located along Penn Cove on Whidbey Island, Coupeville is one of the very first towns settled on Puget Sound. Its waterbound remoteness allowed it to escape the growth and urban renewal that has largely erased all evidence of Washington’s Territorial period (1845-1873) in other towns across the state. As a result, Coupeville retains a remarkable architectural legacy – the largest collection of pre-1870 buildings in the state, perhaps the largest concentration in the Pacific Northwest.
By a quirk of ownership history, the 150-year-old Haller House, prominently located in the town’s historic commercial district, has been very little altered or modernized since the 19th century, remaining frozen in time, a rare architectural artifact.
In addition, the home’s builder was a high profile actor in the military, political and social movements of the day. Col. Haller’s career resumé as a controversial U. S. Army officer is an itinerary through the major events of the nineteenth century, especially westward expansion and the Civil War. Arriving in the Northwest with the Army in 1853, his participation in the complex and troubling conflicts with native peoples and the nearby English colonies made him a representative man of the Washington Territory – always at the epicenter of national as well as regional dramas. He makes the perfect tour guide into our past.
Few homes in the West preserve so much original architectural fabric and so many diverse historical associations, positioning the Haller House to become a rich public heritage site, enlightening visitors and sharing the lost chronicles of the Washington Territory.
Future rehabilitation plans include interpretive space for conducting educational programming and a fully functioning mercantile store, which, along with office space rental, will generate sustainable revenue for the maintenance of the property. With its high visibility and visitor amenities, the site will enhance the appeal of Coupeville as a heritage destination, complementing and expanding current businesses and attractions.
The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation recognized the value of the Haller House and listed it as one of the state’s Most Endangered Properties in 2013. Historic Whidbey has been fundraising to acquire the house for rehabilitation since 2012.
ABOUT HISTORIC WHIDBEY
Historic Whidbey is committed to the protection, preservation and promotion of historic sites in Whidbey Island through education and advocacy. This historic preservation nonprofit was founded in 2013 by residents concerned with the pressures of development on the island’s historic resources. We are preservationists, architects, historians and educators with a common mission—preserving historic places and the important stories they hold. The 1866 Haller House is Historic Whidbey’s first property acquisition, and, after rehabilitation, is slated to become a mixed-use public education center.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
Celebrating 50 years, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and ENGAGE the next generation of park stewards. In 2016, commemorating the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, the Foundation launched The Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, a comprehensive fundraising campaign to strengthen and enhance the future of these national treasures for the next hundred years. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.
ABOUT NATIONAL PARK TRUST
NPT’s mission is preserving parks today; creating park stewards for tomorrow. In the 35 years since NPT was established, the non-profit organization has completed 62 land acquisition, restoration, and mitigation projects in 30 states, 1 U.S. Territory and Washington, D.C. including 49 National Park Service projects. In 2009, NPT launched its nationally recognized Buddy Bison Programs which currently supports more than 200 Title I schools across the country. Since 2011, NPT has organized Kids to Parks Day, an annual national celebration of America’s parks hosted on the third Saturday in May. Learn more at www.parktrust.org.
ABOUT COUPEVILLE LIONS CLUB
Coupeville Lions strive to empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions clubs. Learn more at www.coupevillelions.org.