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  • Ellen Mirro

Washington’s Newest National Historic District

As December rolls on and 2018 comes to a close, we’re looking back at one of our major projects from the past year: Larry and Lani’s work spearheading the establishment the Ravenna-Cowen North National Historic District! Washington’s newest NHD, roughly bounded by NE 65th Street on the north, Ravenna ravine on the east, Ravenna and Cowen Parks on the south, and 12th Avenue NE on the west, was officially entered into the National Register of Historic Places on September 13, 2018.

The nomination was unanimously approved by the WA Advisory Council for Historic Preservation (ACHP) this June, and was added to the Washington Heritage Register, which includes historic and cultural properties that have been recognized for their unique contributions to Washington’s heritage. (You can read more about this part of the process here.)

The district includes 443 homes, most constructed prior to the early 1930s. The average construction date for contributing resources is 1918. This district exhibits a special character, scale, and setting that represents a period of population growth and housebuilding resulting from the excitement generated by the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition at the State University (now the UW main campus) and lasting through the Great Depression.

The district exhibits the range of architectural styles of its era(s). Although homes are relatively modest, styles include Craftsman, Tudor Revival and Colonial Revival. Many designs were taken directly from pattern books and kit home catalogs from the early 1900s to the 1930s. The existing cohesive neighborhood conveys a unique feeling in place and time.

Larry E. Johnson, AIA served pro bono as Lead Historian for this project. Both Lani and Larry Johnson devoted hundreds of hours to this project. The application for historic designation was prepared by the Friends of Ravenna-Cowen, an all-volunteer organization whose purpose is “To preserve and protect the heritage of the Ravenna-Cowen neighborhood as a community resource for all.”

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