By J. Danielle Chang
There are 35 buildings on the island’s historical register, 15 of which are private homes of island residents. A 1990 survey, however, identified over 200 eligible properties, according to Rick Chandler, curator at the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum. The City of Bainbridge Island and the Historical Review Commission regularly invite owners to register their home, which helps preserve Bainbridge’s unique cultural heritage.
Those who register can proudly display a historical plaque, receive tax incentives and zoning relief, and enjoy local merchant discounts for approved rehabilitation projects.
Historic qualification requires meeting at least one of the 12 criteria outlined in the municipal code. Generally, a building can qualify if it is associated with local, state or national history, or with a historically significant person; or if it contains a specific period’s architectural characteristic or is the iconic work of a historically meaningful designer or architect. The Historic Preservation Commission comprised of seven members who are appointed by the mayor and approved by city council maintains the register and displays photos and addresses of the historic buildings on its website.
Notable homes include the William Grow House on Madison Avenue, the Fort Ward Fire House (above) and the Suyematsu Farm on Day Road. Chandler welcomes the public to learn more by visiting the museum’s library, where they are able to peruse the registry and to hear some of the homes’ backstories from the staff.