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Working Wharf: Volunteers help restore landmark
Amid tourists looking to enjoy the pristine views of Penn Cove, a group of Whidbey volunteers are working to ensure a historic building remains part of Coupeville landscape.
A group of volunteers, composed of Coupeville Lions Club members and other interested residents, spent the better part of two weeks repairing siding and painting the south wall of the Coupeville Wharf, which is located at the end of the pier in the town’s historic downtown.
“We’ve been looking forward to this being done for two years,” said Jim Patton, executive director for the Port of Coupeville, the taxpayer-funded entity that owns the Coupeville Wharf.
The south wall bears the brunt of the windy, winter weather that sweeps through Penn Cove each year.
They were working as part of the Trust Board of Ebey’s Landing Field School, a two-week project that takes place every year.
Volunteers spend two weeks improving a historic building and learn about preservation within Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve.
The Coupeville Wharf was originally constructed in 1909.
Back then it was used as a storehouse for grain that was being shipped off Whidbey Island.
Currently, it houses a restaurant, gift shop and coffee house. It provides moorage for visiting boaters, while giving tourists a place to have an up-close encounter with wildlife and passing boats.
Volunteers started their work last week and, once they finish today, they will enjoy a barbecue to celebrate the fruits of their labors.
The commissioners of the Port of Coupeville will purchase the hot dogs and bratwurst, which will be cooked by Coupe’s Last Stand. They will use their own money to purchase the food and not public dollars.
The preservationists have been removing and replacing boards that are in fair to poor condition, said Annie Matsov, historic architect for the Trust Board of Ebey’s Landing. Prior to the project, students from the University of Oregon’s historic preservation program assessed the structure.
Once the boards were replaced, volunteers primed and eventually painted the south wall. Passersby surely noticed the pink coloring that was appearing in spots around the Coupeville Wharf.
Alex Matsov, who is a carpenter with the National Park Service and married to Annie, said the pink primer helps make the red paint be more visible.
The Coupeville Wharf project marks the seventh year of the field school. In previous years, the Boyer Barn on Crockett Prairie, the Alexander Blockhouse next to the museum and the Engle Carriage House benefited from volunteers participating in the field school.
Annie said the volunteers enjoyed two workshops — one each week. Roger Sherman shared his memories of Central Whidbey and the second workshop focused on the maritime history of Penn Cove.
Annie added that staff hasn’t figured out yet what project to tackle in the summer of 2014.