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New cabinets complete Ebey House makeover

Ron Boyer and Rob Hetler team up to build new cabinets for the Jacob Ebey House, which will become a visitor and interpretive center when renovations on the historic home are complete. - Photo courtesy of Ralph Edwards
Ron Boyer and Rob Hetler team up to build new cabinets for the Jacob Ebey House, which will become a visitor and interpretive center when renovations on the historic home are complete.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Ralph Edwards

The finishing touches are under way to finish a five-year renovation project in the historic reserve.

While nearly complete, officials from Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve have solicited expert help building the cabinets that will go inside the historic Jacob Ebey House, which overlooks Ebey’s Prairie.

Organizers sought craftsmen to convert the rough sawn fir into high-quality cabinets. Those cabinets have to be installed before the building is scheduled to open as an interpretive center this summer.

“They’ve been working for a few weeks now,” reserve manager Mark Priess said Wednesday morning. “This is one of the elements to get the building ready.”

The volunteers have been working Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a lunch break included. The day involves a variety of tasks in designing and manufacturing the cabinets. They will also finish and install the new cabinets.

Greenbank woodworker Rob Hetler is leading the efforts to construct the cabinets. The new cabinets jibe with the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s standards for the treatment of historic buildings.

Emi Gunn, education and outreach coordinator for Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, said the wooden cabinets are needed to help maintain the historic character of the house.

The old home is located south of the Ebey’s Reserve office near Sunnyside Cemetery. A hiking trail overlooking the prairie is located next to the building. It was originally constructed in the 1850s and is now owned by the National Park Service.

Park workers spent five years renovating the building. Major jobs included replacing its foundation and adding electricity.

The Jacob Ebey House will become a visitors’ station expected to be a popular stop for the numerous hikers that visit Ebey’s Reserve. The house will be home to volunteer docents and a ranger station. Gunn said staff is working with the Island County Historical Society to develop interpretive exhibits that will be placed inside the house. Those exhibits will include information about the Ebey family and presentations highlighting prairie life in the mid-19th Century.

Cabinet construction will continue on weekends until March.

The Coupeville Lions have helped coordinate volunteers and encourage people to give their time.

For more information, contact Ron Boyer at rfboyer@comcast.net or 678-1902.

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