Beacon Reservoir Gatehouse nominated as landmark

The Beacon Reservoir Gatehouse, as pictured here in the Landmark Nomination Application, has seen better days. Photo: Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.
Neighbors working to save the Beacon Reservoir Gatehouse are seeing progress. The Landmarks Preservation Board will consider the nomination of the gatehouse (3801 Beacon Avenue South, inside Jefferson Park) at its upcoming meeting. (This is the official address, but the actual Gatehouse location is much closer to 15th Avenue.) BHB formerly reported on the gatehouse here.

The public is invited to attend the meeting and make comments. It’s scheduled for Wednesday, September 1 at 3:30 p.m. in the Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 Fifth Avenue, 40th Floor, Room 4060.

Written comments should be received by the Landmarks Preservation Board at the following address by 5:00 pm on August 31: Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board, Dept. of Neighborhoods, P.O. Box 94649, Seattle WA 98124-4649.

Copies of the landmark nomination are available for public review at the Beacon Hill Branch Library, 2821 Beacon Avenue South.  The nomination is also posted on the Department of Neighborhoods website.

Photo: Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

11 thoughts on “Beacon Reservoir Gatehouse nominated as landmark”

  1. I am all for preserving our local history. But really this building does not look special to me. At least on the outside. Looks rather pedestrian to me and not worth saving.

  2. I don’t know anything about the preservation process but I’d like to see this building preserved, not because of what it looks like, but because of the history it represents. Beacon Hill has played a role in Seattle’s water supply from the beginning of it being organized as a utility instead of homeowners fending for themselves. There’s nothing left from the first reservoir on the hill and the ones that came later are now covered and invisible. Preserving the gatehouse is an opportunity to recognize the historic role of the neighborhood in the development of Seattle and call out an identity for Beacon Hill that’s different from the usual ones that either get foisted on us by other neighborhoods or that we put on ourselves.

  3. I don’t particularly care if we save it or not – it’s just not very striking to me architecturally, but maybe I’m being too superficial. I do wonder whether the gatehouse could really alter the city’s opinion of the neighborhood. The idea that the neighborhood used to play a role in Seattle’s water supply doesn’t sound like particularly compelling selling point.

  4. Mira and Mark have done a really good cost comparison between restoration and demolition. It can be argued the building is worth saving because it costs more to demo it.

    As for visual appeal–there was some conversation about having art installations inside. Does anyone know more?

  5. It does cost more to demo the building than it does to restore it based on information that we obtained from SPU. It doesn’t make sense to destroy the building if you look at it from a financial standpoint and since it can be used for other purposes.

    Mark and I put applied for the Opportunity Fund grant to preserve it and to convert for use by the community. It was part of the water system and can be used as an educational display about not just the history of the water system, but also as a teaching tool of what we need to preserve our environment in the future. We proposed collecting water off the roof to maintain low-impact native landscaping around the building and solar panels for lighting the building. It could be a mini environmental learning center in Jefferson Park as well as a location for art installations.

    I’d argue that we should preserve it based on architectural and historical basis as well. The neighborhood has played and continues to play a role in Seattle’s water supply – there is a 50 gallon reservoir in the park, though you can’t see it anymore. The reservoirs shaped the park and were a reason for it’s existence in the first place. We should not lose that link if it can be saved.

    I will post more over the next few days. I don’t have a whole lot of time at the moment due to some work commitments.

  6. I love this building the simplicity is beautiful! The building does need a bit of TLC however. I would hate to see it torn down.
    History aside loosing a structure like this would just be sad. So many structures like this around Seattle are disappearing and this is an opportunity to restore and educate.
    Restore the building and establish an educational aspect for the community and Seattle at the same time. This is an opportunity to infuse Beacon Hill into the Seattle history that many if not most Seattle residents do not know.

  7. On the aesthetic side, I think restored to original condition with the windows unblocked and the paint stripped off and the red brick exposed it would be a rather charming little building.

  8. Agreed–unblocking the windows would make a huge difference. Thanks Mira for posting here so we can all help push your efforts to save the building forward.

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