By MICHAEL WHITNEY
Published May 9, 2012
Where did the pieces of the Collins Building go?
EVERETT - The Collins Building is now gone, but almost every piece salvaged from it found a new home both near and far.
More than 90 percent of the material determined salvageable went to 17 other historic buildings across the region, Chris Moore, field director of the nonprofit Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, said. This includes timber and windows.
Parts of the 84-year-old Collins Building made it as far as Colville in Eastern Washington, Moore said. Other pieces made it into buildings in Snohomish, Skagit and Island counties.
Some of the projects included barns in Coupeville on Whidbey Island, Granite Falls and Mount Vernon, the depot for the Dynamite Train at the DuPont Historical Museum and a church in Adams County, Moore said.
Timber from the Collins Building saved a rotting 1855 building in Coupeville called the Crockett Blockhouse.
Not all of the projects are complete, but most are, Moore said.
“Certainly we were disappointed to see the building go down, but it was really great to see pieces go back into historical structures,” Moore said last week.
The nonprofit group worked with the Port of Everett on overseeing which projects got the salvaged pieces.
The most difficult part was finding new homes for the Collins Buildings’ windows, Moore said.
“You can’t just throw these windows into a historic project” and have it match the receiving building, Moore said.
Some of the windows went to the city of Mukilteo for a project there, he said.
The materials were given away for free on a first-come, first-served basis to qualifying projects, Moore said. Only two projects involving new buildings were rejected, he said.
“The material from the Collins Building allowed these projects to happen because the materials would have been cost-prohibitive otherwise,” Moore said.
For example, the Whidbey Island Lions Club wanted to restore the Crockett Blockhouse, but the club never could have afforded the timber, Moore said.
Groups on Whidbey Island collectively paid for the transportation costs, Moore said. Flatbed trucks made a big haul of timber to the island, port spokeswoman Lisa Lefeber said.
The leftover materials went to Seattle-based company Second Use Building Materials to sell to individuals, Lefeber said.
The port got $1,984 from the sale, and that money is going toward restoring the port-owned historic Weyerhaeuser Building, Lefeber said. The port chipped in extra money toward the Weyerhaeuser Building because it wants the building rebuilt so it can be leased.
Not everything could be saved. Pieces such as the building’s interior walls and the siding could not be saved, Moore said.
Second Use got 236 windows and 144 timber pieces. The salvage operation sent out more than 800 timber pieces to various projects, Lefeber said.
“It was very successful,” Lefeber said. “Historic wood can live on in other historic properties.”
The Port of Commissioners voted to dismantle the Collins Building piece by piece last year after groups fought to save it.
The 84-year-old Collins Building, a former casket manufacturing site, was one of the last reminders of Everett’s industrial past and was on the National Historic Register of Places. Historic preservationists fought with the port for six years to keep it standing.
The Port of Commissioners unanimously decided to dismantle the building in June 2010 because the commission determined it would be too expensive to renovate, and plans to add amenities like a farmers market would not be financially sustainable.
The port had to dismantle and save pieces of the building because it was required to create a mitigation plan for historic preservation, Moore told this paper last year. The mitigation was needed because the port received federal funding for the area it wanted to develop, not because the Collins Building was on the national register.
“We do like to say there’s a silver lining in this cloud,” Moore said of the salvage operation.