Year Listed: 2016
The Dvorak Barn in Kent hearkens to the city’s early years when the area was home to a significant farming community. In the latter half of the nineteenth century, Kent got its start raising potatoes, onions, and hops, expanding with lettuce, eggs, dairy, and poultry after the turn of the twentieth century. The damming of the Green River in 1962 and the completion of Interstate 5 in 1966 played pivotal roles in transforming Kent from a farming community to the industrial center it is today. While farming activity remains present in the Kent Valley, many of the historic resources representing the area’s agricultural heritage have been lost. The Dvorak Farmstead is one of these resources. Established along the banks of the Green River with the construction of a farmhouse in 1906, the iconic barn was built two decades later in 1925. The City of Kent is embarking on the Green River Levee Improvement Program, requiring construction of a levee directly through the Dvorak Farmstead site.
Although the farmhouse and several outbuildings all need to be removed, the barn retains the most integrity and is the priority for local supporters who hope to relocate the structure and find a new community use. The City of Kent and King County have initiated discussions related to the barn as part of the Section 106 process. While Section 106 has yet to be formally instituted, advocates feel this will happen soon given that the levy project prompting removal of the barn and surrounding farmstead requires a federal permit from FEMA.