Former Sand Point Naval Air Station Designated as a Historic District

Sand Point Naval Air Station Historic District Boundaries / Map from Landmark District Nomination, City of Seattle

On Wednesday, March 16, 2011, the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board voted (7-1) to designate the former Naval Air Station Seattle (at Sand Point) as a landmark district. This is the first historic district to be designated in Seattle in over 20 years. The district nomination was submitted by Friends of Naval Air Station Seattle Historic District. The formal designation marked the culmination of years of effort on the part of the “Friends” to seek protection and preservation of the cultural resources and landscape features of the historic site. The significance of the site was obvious to the Board members who also visited the site earlier this month. There was discussion at the Board meeting about whether to include five historic features located on the east end of the site. These former magazine storage structures are closely related to the use of the site but they are not physically contiguous with the western portion of the district which contains the great majority of the resources. Some board members had questions about whether it makes sense to have a discontiguous district separated by a lot of open space. They were split in their discussion but ultimately when it came time to voting for the designation, the Board members included the eastern resources and thus, the City’s first discontiguous landmark district was formed. The one dissenting vote supported the district designation but not with the eastern resources.

The new landmark district met the following designation standards of the Landmarks Ordinance:

A) It is the location of, or is associated in a significant way with, a historic event with a significant effect upon the community, City, state, or nation;
C) It is associated in a significant way with a significant aspect of the cultural, political, or economic heritage of the community, City, state or nation;
D) It embodies the distinctive visible characteristics of an architectural style, or period, or a method of construction;
F) Because of its prominence of spatial location, contrasts of siting, age, or scale, it is an easily identifiable visual feature of its neighborhood or the city and contributes to the distinctive quality or identity of such neighborhood or the City.

Let’s hope this landmark district designation sparks other community and City efforts to nominate and designate more districts in Seattle! So, what’s next?