Downtown Waterville Historic District - Waterville, WA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 47° 38.843 W 120° 04.332
10T E 719876 N 5281262
Quick Description: Taking in the majority of downtown Waterville, the Downtown Waterville Historic District contains most of the brick buildings in the town, almost all built between 1891 and about 1915.
Location: Washington, United States
Date Posted: 6/14/2018 1:39:12 PM
Waymark Code: WMYGTH
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
Views: 2

Long Description:
The Downtown Waterville Historic District encompasses all of one block of Locust Street plus the west end of a second block and a few buildings along North and South Chelan Avenue. In all there are 17 contributing and 2 non contributing buildings in the district. All buildings are of brick, save for the Centennial Feed Building, a single storey wood framed building on the west side of North Chelan. The brick for the district was manufactured locally in brick yards, first established in 1889. The oldest structure in the district, on the northeast corner of Locust Street and Chelan Avenue, is the First National Bank/Kincaid/IOOF Block, constructed in 1891.

Douglas and Lincoln Counties were created in 1883, 6 years before Washington was to become a state. Were it not for the lobbying efforts of a Mr. J. W. Adams, a "professional townsite boomer", there would have been only a Lincoln County. The original county seat was a place named Okanogan City, later to become the present day hamlet of Douglas. A 24 foot by 36 foot store was built on the site and was used as the county courthouse. When it turned out that there was no usable water to be had the county seat was moved six miles west to a new town named, quite appropriately, Waterville. The county legally became a county in 1888 and a small shack, the second building on the site, was built. In 1889 a permanent courthouse was built, a substantial two storey wood frame building which managed to survive several years before burning down.

By this time a number of wood frame buildings had been built in Waterville, but a block south of the present downtown core. The construction of the large First National Bank building caused others to build commercial and retail establishments near to it, rather than on Walnut Street. Soon, Waterville's downtown began to stretch west along Locust Street, all buildings built subsequently being of brick construction. The notable exception of the Centennial Feed Building stands across Chelan Avenue from the First National Bank building, as does the Douglas County Bank building, erected in 1910-11, a Neoclassical structure and the building most easily recognized as a bank.

Retaining a high degree of integrity, no historic brick buildings in the district have been demolished and only one non-historic structure has been built since World War II. The district has a mix of one and two storey commercial buildings, commonly Victorian/Italianate in style with elaborate brick or metal cornices, originally with large plate glass storefronts, many with iron columns and lintels. The majority of these last have been removed as buildings were modernized in later years.

In the 1892 photo below the First National Bank, the only brick building yet built in the district, is the large building furthest in the distance on the left. In the contemporary photo it's the white building on the left. All the wood frame buildings, of course, are now long gone.

Downtown Waterville Historic District

The district is a clearly discrete area of the city that contains the entire group of contiguous historic buildings located at the site by 1915. On the western edge of the district, the boundary is drawn to include the entire group of contiguous brick structures on both sides of Locust Street which appear on historic fire insurance maps from the period. Beyond that, the district is characterized (today and historically) by open space. On the east, the boundary is drawn at the alley between Chelan Avenue and Baker Street which demarcates a change in scale and character. The southern boundary is drawn along the alley behind Locust Street, south of which is the Memorial Park. The boundary on the north is drawn to include contiguous historic structures on Chelan Avenue and follows the alley north of Locust Street. North of the boundary is open space and a marked change in scale and character.
From the NRHP Registration Form


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Street address:
Locust Street and Chelan Avenue
Waterville, WA United States
98858


County / Borough / Parish: Douglas

Year listed: 1988

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Commerce, Architecture

Periods of significance: 1925-1949, 1900-1924, 1875-1899

Historic function: Commerce/Trade - Business, Financial Institution, Professional

Current function: Commerce/Trade - Business, Financial Institution, Professional

Privately owned?: yes

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 2: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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