In just three years, the Ebey’s Forever Fund granted $200,000 to help preserve history on Central Whidbey.
Having just released the names of the 2013 grant recipients, new projects are already underway.
Ebey’s Forever Fund was able to issue double the funds than in previous years.
This year $100,000 is being divided between 13 projects aimed at preserving the historical integrity of buildings in Ebey’s Reserve.
“We’re really seeing a significant amount of support ripple across the island,” said Mark Preiss, reserver manager.
Projects include replacing roofs, windows and siding on many structures including the Comstock Barn, located on Ebey Road near Hill Road, and the Old County Court House on Madrona Way.
“Projects help sustain that building for future use, for future generations,” Preiss said.
One project already underway is the Perkins House, which was built in 1890 on Ebey Road.
Through new ownership, the house is getting a major makeover to revert it back to its original appearance.
Annie Kidd Matsov, historical architect for the reserve, said the Perkins House had some modifications to windows and doors over the years as well as additions.
Because of the changes over the years, the home no longer contributes to the historical registry.
Once the new owner purchased the home, renovation unearthed some of the original historical integrity.
“It’s like solving mysteries through historical archeology,” Matsov said.
By getting down to the original frame, workers found an original door had been closed up and windows had been modified.
Part of the Ebey’s Forever Fund grant will help restore the original door as well as bring windows back to their original dimensions.
Removing some of the house’s siding revealed the original siding was just covered with new.
Which is good, Matsov said, because it’s been mostly protected over the years.
The grant from Ebey’s Forever Fund will help fund siding restoration and milling, front door replacement and window replacement.
In addition, the owner is replacing the roof with historic style shingles.
During renovations, workers were scraping old drywall from the home and found an old hymnal book from the Coupeville Methodist Church inside.
The book belonged to Virginia Sherman, who lived in the home as a child.
The owner was able to contact Sherman and visit her at her home south of Seattle.
“All of the buildings have their own stories,” Preiss said. “It’s fun to uncover.”
“We’re the benefactors of these stories.”
By year’s end, Ebey’s Forever Fund will have funded 30 or so projects in the reserve.
Driving through the reserve, Preiss can point out small projects here and there that have been completed because of the fund.
Many of the projects are about making the structure useable again, whether it’s the foundation on a barn or the roof on a wood shed.
“Its those small and subtle projects that we think matter too,” Preiss said.
The key to keeping a historical structure is having a good foundation and good roof. The fund also focuses on helping structures find usefulness in today’s society.
“One of the best ways to save a building is to have a use,” Matsov said.
Of the more than 400 structures registered on the national registry in the reserve, roughly 99 percent of them are privately owned.
Each structure has historical significance and helps tell the story of Ebey’s Reserve, Preiss said. All tell a different story.
The community-driven fund was established four years ago by local resident Ken Pickard, who issued a challenge to the community.
Funds are raised through private donations by individuals and businesses on and off the island.
Grants require matching by the structure owner.
“It’s an incentive for them, a tool for them,” Preiss said.
While the fund has issued $200,000 in grants, historically owners have been matching grants two-to-one.
“That’s a $600,000 investment in helping sustain our heritage,” Preiss said.