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.

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.

Howard and Barbara Lee March 23, 2012 at 06:24 PM
The Curran House will play a significant role in the UP Historical Society's first annual Home and Garden Tour on June 10, 2012. Save the date and tour other mid-century homes in UP!
chuck curran March 23, 2012 at 06:39 PM
The Curran family wishes to thank Karen and all the members of the UP Historical Society for this designation and for the significant efforts to restore the home to its original condition. Art Broback was particularly instrumental in the replacement of the roof and deck. The interior remains in need of attention and the Historical Society would welcome anyone who might want to see how they might help. My Mom and Dad loved living in UP. They are smiling that their efforts on behalf of the schools and community have been returned.
Brent Champaco March 23, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Thanks for the heads-up, Barbara!
Brent Champaco March 23, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Thanks Chuck. Of course, how could we forget Art and all of the wonderful things he's done for this project. Much-deserved recognition indeed. We thank your Mom and Dad for helping make sure the property stays in the UP family.
Ann Castner March 27, 2012 at 05:18 PM
I can't believe it has been 4 years since I spoke with the Washington Trust about saving this wonderful home. Thanks to Chris Moore for his wonderful support over the years. One of the next goals of the University Place Historical Society is saving the Kobayashi home, which really should be referred to as the Pauley home, since they were the original owners of this Japanese modernistic home designed by a well known local architect. Mr. Pauley was a V.P. at Weyerhaeuser and was very instrumental in the design of the company's headquarters in Federal Way. Unfortunately the city recently approved building plans to remove 80 to 90% of the home and convert in into a picnic ramada with restroom facilities.


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