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Preserving Partners: Groups working together to save Pratt history
Several treasured historical structures in Ebey’s Reserve have been getting much-needed TLC with the help of local and visiting preservationists.
Tucked toward the back of Ron Hanson’s property at the top of Ebey’s bluff, are two small structures getting repairs aimed at preserving their historical integrity.
The two buildings, originally owned by Frank Pratt Jr., were built in the first part of the 1900s.
Just behind a barn and brush are an old child’s playhouse and a house once known as the China Man’s Cabin or Cook’s Cabin.
With the help of the Central Whidbey Lion’s Club and Whidbey Partners in Preservation, Hanson is able to preserve the structures sooner than he anticipated.
“It’s really about honoring the Pratt’s and the legacy they left,” Hanson said. “They were stewards of the land.”
Frank Pratt Jr. moved to Whidbey Island in 1908 and purchased the Jacob Ebey property and the Ferry House. His intention at the time was preserving the history.
He maintained the Ebey House and restored the Ebey Blockhouse.
“People don’t know the important stuff,” Hanson said. “He was protecting the land before it was cool.”
“He was 70 years ahead of his time.”
The children’s playhouse is believed to have been built for Pratt’s son Robert, who upon his death, donated some of the property to nonprofit organizations.
Parts of the property ended up in the hands of The Nature Conservatory, who now owns the Sheep Barn, which is farther down from the Jacob Ebey House, tucked in against the bluff.
With the help of Partners in Preservation and a group of 12 volunteers who are known as the Michigan volunteers, the group is also working at preserving the sheep barn.
That project include floor and beam repairs.
Preservation of these properties included many hands and organizations.
The Michigan volunteers traveled across the country to lend a hand and expertise, Central Whidbey Lions provided manpower, supplies and additional support.
Hanson provided a place for the out-of-state volunteers to stay as well as supplies, equipment and other support.
Work spanned roughly two weeks.
“All of this would not have happened without the initiation and coordination of Whidbey Partners in Preservation,” said Harrison Goodall, founder of the group. “Our purpose has been to stimulate, educate and enable partnerships to support heritage preservation. We are all stewards of this island and working together we can protect it for future generations.”