22 Aug 2014
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Curran House Named To National Register of Historic Places

The designation for the 1950's-era house makes it eligible for federal grants and other opportunities, as well as gives University Place its first structure on the register.

Curran House Named To National Register of Historic Places

University Place has its first building on the National Register of Historic Places.

The University Place Historical Society learned Thursday that the federal government approved its nomination for the house at the .

The designation makes the property eligible for certain federal grants, tax credits and other perks that will go a long toward its preservation.

It's also an honor that no other building in University Place can boast.

Karen Benveniste with the UP Historical Society, who helped nominate the house, e-mailed other local history enthusiasts about the good news today.

Specifically, the group was commended for its "stewardship of this significant property and our contribution to the cultural heritage of Washington state" by none other than Dr. Allyson Brooks, the state's Historic Preservation Officer.

Designation on the National Register of Historic Places could go a long way toward preserving the 1950's-era, flat-roofed home designed by noted Tacoma architect Robert Price. It is significant, according to its website, as "characteristically mid-century modern, reflecting new building materials, cultural changes and values following World War II."

While few argue its artistic value, the future of the home - which became the city's when Pierce County transferred ownership of the property shortly after its 1995 incorporation - has been a hot-button issue in University Place the last few years.

It originally belonged to Charles and Mary Curran, who bought the property in 1951. They lived there as they tended to their horses and hundreds of apple trees.

The community purchased the property from the couple in the early 1990's with funds from Pierce County's Conservation Futures program. While the property would offer UP its own public apple orchard, the years had taken their toll on the home.

The city rented the house to a few tenants, but it needed to address the improvements that the Curran house obviously needed, including a leaky roof and aging deck. It prompted some critics to call for the house's demolition.

But the historical society and others worked to make the house suitable for public use. Last summer, it was listed on the

In December, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation awarded $1,000 for restoration of the house's deck.

And now, supporters can say the Curran House, at least in the eyes of the federal government, is historically significant and worth saving.

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