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INDEX & UPPER VALLEY LANDMARK MAKES "ENDANGERED" LIST
May 31, 2009
(INDEX, WA) -- An upper Sky Valley landmark for well over a century has made its way onto the 2009 statewide list of endangered historic properties.
Bush House at Index, cica 1898. CLICK TO ENLARGE
Bush House, 1900's. CLICK TO ENLARGE
Bush House in Summer 2008. SVC staff photo. CLICK TO ENLARGE
At a news conference in Seattle last week the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation placed the well-known Bush House building in Index on its 2009 list of thirteen endangered, historically important buildings in our state.
Also on that list is the well known Alki Homestead Restaurant just across from Alki Beach in West Seattle and the 18-ton, 30-foot diameter “PI Globe” a true Seattle visual icon that first began revolving as a Seattle Post Intelligencer marketing tool on November 9, 1948 at its original location on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Wall Street in Seattle.
Founded in 1890 as simply a way station for travelers venturing over Stevens Pass, the town of Index flourished during that decade and into the early twentieth century with the construction of the Great Northern Railroad and the subsequent engineering marvel that is the Cascade Tunnel.
In fact, as a bustling mini-city with a lot of economic activity from mining, quarrying, and the railroad, Index was able to sustain five hotels during its heyday. Only one of these remains today in Index at that is the Bush House.
Built in 1898, the Bush House restaurant and hotel was initially managed by Clarence Bush and his wife who operated the property as a hotel serving railway passengers who were traveling over Stevens Pass.
Although the business changed ownership several times, it managed to keep its original name. Closed for a period during the Great Depression and beyond, the hotel re-opened in the 1970s and continued to serve as a restaurant and community gathering place, hosting dances, community celebrations, meetings, concerts, and weddings.
BUSH HOUSE SINKS INTO TIRED OLD AGE
However several years ago Snohomish County revoked the hotel’s Certificate of Occupancy due to structural and public safety concerns. Since that time the building has been vacant and has been subject to vandalism and squatters.
The shingle roof on the Bush House is rotting and could be subject to collapse given the heavy snowfall that commonly occurs in Index. The property is for sale, but despite receiving several purchase offers, the owner has opted not to sell.
The hope is that an agreement can be reached with a buyer interested in rehabilitating the Bush House. Of the five pioneer-era hotels that once served Index, the Bush House is the last one standing.
The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation says every year many historic properties across the state of Washington are threatened by demolition or neglect.
Collectively, says the trust, these properties contribute to the quality of life we enjoy and shape the daily experiences of living in small towns, large cities and rural countryside across the state.
“It is an understatement,” says the trust “ to say that our historic resources help to paint a distinct Washington portrait, and it is certainly no overstatement to conclude that their loss would leave large gaps in that canvas.”
Since 1992, the independent, nonprofit Washington Trust for Historic Preservation has used its Most Endangered Historic Properties List to bring attention to over 100 threatened sites nominated by concerned citizens and organizations across the state.
The Washington Trust assists advocates for these resources in developing strategies aimed at removing these threats and taking advantage of opportunities where they exist.
By working to find positive preservation solutions, the Washington Trust seeks to preserve the irreplaceable heritage of the state.