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Updated: Reard House in Sammamish is Designated a King County Landmark - and Might Move to the Tanner Property

Sammamish's Reard House was named a landmark by the King County Landmarks Commission at a meeting last week.

Sammamish’s historic Reard House has been designated an official Landmark of King County following a brisk 12-minute meeting of the King County Landmarks Commission in the city on May 26.

The farmhouse also might have a permanent home, the property that Mary Pigott is giving to the city of Sammamish, City Councilwoman Michele Petitti said Wednesday. That land is known as the Tanner property.

“She talked about where she wants it to go,” Petitti, who has been involved with preservation efforts for the house for about 12 years said. “Mary and I have shaken on it.”

Pigott talked about the idea a few weeks ago and expressed interest in having some type of heritage park and the house on one of the parcels that will go to the city in several years, Petitti said.

Pigott is writing a letter proposing the idea to the Sammamish Heritage Society, Petitti said.

The landmark designation for the farmhouse was welcome news for Vicki Baggette, president of the Sammamish Heritage Society. “It’s been a while in coming,” she said. 

The six-month process of getting the house landmark designation has been just one part of a years-long effort to preserve and renovate the house, which sits on blocks on 212th Avenue Southeast.

The Sammamish Heritage Society has long wanted to find a permanent home for the house and use it as a base of operations and as a place for public functions and educational initiatives. Baggette feels that the landmark designation has validated the society’s work.

“It pretty much says that we’ve been right,” she said.

 has been supportive of saving the house on the condition that the Sammamish Heritage Society find a location for it and funding for the renovation. A city staff person had no comment Wednesday when asked about the landmark status.

In-kind donations for the house stand at $12,500. The society’s goal is $70,000, which the city has said it will match.

Baggette says that thanks to the landmark designation the house is now eligible for state and county grants that the society could not get before. Baggette also feels that the landmark designation will send a message to the public that the effort is worth supporting, which will further improve fundraising.

“We’re pretty excited,” she said.

The designation and ongoing negotiations with the city to find the house a permanent location have Baggette feeling that things are looking up for the Reard House. 

“This old house isn’t going to just sit on those blocks forever,” said Baggette.

One next step, Petitti said, is for farmhouse supporters to raise enough money to have the structure placed on a foundation.

Pigott, she added, is giving the city a total of about 50 acres of land. There are three parcels that run from Southeast Eighth Street to Southeast 20th Street. The idea is for the house to eventually sit on the second parcel, which is about 20 acres, and which the city will receive in the coming years, Petitti said.

“There is a historic home there, a vintage 1916 home,” she said. “So, the idea would be to cluster it near that.”

If the idea receives approval, the city would have to do planning work so the Reard House would not have to be moved again, Petitti noted.

Erica Maniez, director of the Issaquah History Museum, pointed out that the landmark designation carries benefits, especially for the building’s supporters.

“It increases awareness, where people in the area might not have known the story and significance,” she said. “That gives it a little more credence.”

The Reard House was originally built as a farmhouse in 1895 and is the oldest non-native building in Sammamish. Long known as the Reard-Freed House, the Freed half of the name has been dropped in accordance with King County Landmark Commission standards, which designates houses by original owner.

Since only the exterior of the house was designated as a landmark, the Sammamish Heritage Society will be able to renovate the interior to suit its needs.

Editor's note: Before Brad Wong became editor of Sammamish Patch, he worked at the Coal Creek Family YMCA. Petitti also works at that facility, which is in Newcastle. This story was revised on Thursday, June 2 to reflect the correct amount of land, in total, that Mary Pigott is giving the city of Sammamish. It also identifies the second plot of land, which is owned by Mary Pigott, as the Tanner property.

Valerie Spiegler June 02, 2011 at 03:53 PM
It completely astounds me that the City Council has had, for several years now, more concern and interest in preserving an old, dilapidated symbol of the Plateau's history than it has for the town center project that is impinging negatively on so many living persons, currently. One might wonder how these two topics can possibly be compared to each other, but the wasted time and work involved in getting this shack recognized, gives one another hint of where this Council's priorities are.
Brad Wong June 03, 2011 at 06:17 AM
Hi S, K and Valerie, I appreciate your comments on Sammamish Patch. Thank you, too, for visiting the site. Cheers, Brad Wong Sammamish Patch
Todd Alexander June 04, 2011 at 05:52 AM
As a long time resident of Sammamish (formerly Issaquah), I applaud the City and Sammamish Heritage Society for recognizing and supporting the history that I remember as a kid! I'm tired of seeing development after development filled with beige homes. Our kids need to know the history of the original farming families that settled the area. If you want glass and brass.. move to Bellevue! Keep Sammamish rural!!!
Brad Wong June 05, 2011 at 04:25 PM
Hi Todd, Thank you for your comments - much appreciated. Cheers, Brad
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA June 06, 2011 at 10:00 PM
It's pretty important that Sammamish, other Instant Communities not lose sight of what came before. It's really like knowing who your parents and grandparents were- and how they contributed to what you are now fortunate to have. The Sammamish Heritage Society is to be applauded.

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