Historic W.A. Anderson building matters to locals
June 25, 2009 · 4:46 PM
"This place matters."
That was the message about a dozen or so local residents, several of them members of Bothell's Landmark Preservation Board, wanted to send regarding the W.A. Anderson building sitting on Bothell Way Northeast just outside the city's downtown.
With signs bearing the above statement in hand, the group gathered for a publicity photo June 23 outside the 1931 school building, which next year will become city property.
Currently home to the Northshore School District's Secondary Academy for Success, the building was part of the 18 acres Bothell purchased along the west side of State Route 527 from the schools in March. A specialized high school, the academy is set to be relocated to the Canyon Park area.
As for the acreage surrounding the Anderson building, as has been well publicized, the city intends eventually for that property to become home to a mixed-use residential and retail development.
Landmark Board Chair Davina Williams Duerr said the building, built as a school in 1931, is in no immediate danger of demolition. Still, the board wanted to get the word out that the structure is important and worthy of preservation.
"That was one of the reasons we purchased the building," said Bothell City Manager Bob Stowe, stating officials felt that purchase was the best means to preserve the structure.
Stowe added the city doesn't own the building as yet, that the sale from the school district won't close until next year. Still, while he declined to offer any details, Stowe said city officials already have been in contact with parties possibly interested in redeveloping the building when the time comes.
Duerr said the "This Place Matters" theme for the Anderson building picture came from an initiative of the National Historic Trust encouraging activists to highlight their favorite historic spots.
"These buildings are what give a town character and identity," Duerr said.
"Bothell has some treasured buildings that need to be preserved," said another Preservation Board member, Eric Hoierman.
Some building supporters held signs suggesting the building could become home to a McMenamin's Pub, a restaurant and brew-pub chain known for taking over and restoring older buildings. At one point, McMenamin's tried unsuccessfully to take over the former seminary in Kenmore's St. Edward State Park.
Resident Pat Pierce said she attempted some time back to have the Anderson building placed on the state register of historic places, but the school district has made too many alterations to the structure, lowering ceilings, for example. Pierce still thinks the building is more than deserving of preservation.
By the way, Pierce has an answer for anyone wondering who was the W.A. Anderson for whom the building was named. Originally, the building was Bothell Junior High. It gained its current name to honor its first principal upon his retirement.