At its San Juan County Council meeting on Lopez Island Tuesday, April 10, the council will discuss the plan by the county Land Bank to purchase three lots in Friday Harbor for $700,000. The property includes the historic Driggs House and the lot currently being used as Driggs Historic Park. (AGENDA)
According to the staff report, the conservation values of this project are primarily preservation of historic character and open space in the town of Friday Harbor.The Land Bank has endeavored to preserve the Argyle neighborhood since 2002 through purchase of an historic preservation easement and purchase of the lots at the corner of Argyle and Malcolm St. with the intent of resale encumbered by an historic preservation easement or covenant to be held by the town.
Since that time, five historic homes have been restored and two additional historic structures moved into the neighborhood.
The Driggs house stands at the gateway to this neighborhood. Built in 1896 by George Mullis, its side-gabled style was a hallmark of the period.
In 2011, the Land Bank took over management of the grounds around the house and lots. In exchange, the current owner granted a recreational license for the public to use what is not known as Historic Driggs Park. Within the park is an heirloom rose garden and a native seed production area. However, the license is revocable.
Acquisition of the three lots would ensure people could use Driggs Historic Park in perpetuity, and the Driggs house would be conserved.
Should the Land Bank decide to sell the house in the future it would be encumbered with an historic preservation easement.