In partnership with the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, the Washington Trust is proud to administer the Heritage Barn Initiative, Historic County Courthouse Grant Program, and Historic Cemetery Grant Program, funding rehabilitation projects across the state. To date, these programs have supported the preservation of 101 barns, 26 courthouses (through 59 individual grants), and 22 cemeteries, and there’s much more work to be done.
On December 13, 2018, Governor Inslee released his capital budget proposal for the 2019-2021 biennium, which included $515,000 for the Heritage Barn Initiative, $1.32 million in funding for the Historic County Courthouse Grant Program, and $515,000 for the Historic Cemetery Grant Program. (See below for more information about what each program has accomplished statewide.) Now the governor’s budget recommendations are headed to the state legislature for approval. Contact your legislators and tell them you want to see these programs receive full funding in order to save the places that matter in Washington State!
Heritage Barn Initiative
The Heritage Barn Initiative actively acknowledges heritage barns across the state through the statewide Heritage Barn Register and works to address the many challenges historic barns face by awarding matching grants for barn stabilization and rehabilitation. Since November 2007, the Heritage Barn Initiative has:
- Designated 722 official Heritage Barns, with listings in all 39 counties in Washington
- Highlighted the value of historic barns and provided data on construction types, forms, uses and needs of agricultural-related structures across the state
- Awarded 101 grants to heritage barns totaling nearly $2.2 million in funds which have supported over 400 construction jobs and kept project expenditures in local economies
- Protected agricultural resources statewide; 50 grants ($1.1 million) have been awarded to barns in eastern Washington and 51 grants (nearly $1.05 million) have been awarded to barns in western Washington
Historic County Courthouse Grant Program
The Historic County Courthouse Grant Program is intended to address the capital needs of historic county courthouses still in operation around the state as courthouses. The program provides matching grants to counties in order to support the proper rehabilitation of historic features and prevent inappropriate alterations. The goal of the program is to preserve the key historic features that define and characterize these community landmarks. Funds may also be used for seismic and accessibility upgrades that meet accepted historic preservation standards. Since its establishment in 2005, the program has:
- Provided 59 grant awards to 26 counties statewide, totaling $18 million in grant funds that have leveraged more than $48 million in overall capital improvements
- Worked to distribute assistance statewide with 58% of funds going to 14 eastern WA counties and 42% of funds going to 12 counties in western WA.
- Supported local economies by instigating projects that support local contractors and specialty craftspeople; historic rehabilitation work is more labor intensive than new construction
Historic Cemetery Grant Program
In the 2016 legislative session, the legislature passed House Bill 2637 establishing a grant program to support preservation of historic cemeteries throughout Washington. The program is intended to benefit the public by preserving outstanding examples of the state’s heritage and to enable historic cemeteries to continue to serve their communities and honor military veterans buried within them. During the first round of grant funding in 2018, the program received 47 applications requesting over $1.6 million in grant funds. The Historic Cemetery Advisory Committee awarded the $450,000 that was available in grant awards to 22 projects across the state. While the program does not require matching funds, the program is nonetheless anticipated to help leverage nearly $400,000 in additional work to those historic cemeteries selected for funding.