Ebey's Reserve targets Carriage House for repair

The Carriage House, located on the Pearson-Engle Farm, will be the next restoration project of the Ebey’s Reserve Preservation Field School, which kicks off July 12. - Photo courtesy of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve
The Carriage House, located on the Pearson-Engle Farm, will be the next restoration project of the Ebey’s Reserve Preservation Field School, which kicks off July 12.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve

The Trust Board of Ebey’s Reserve, in partnership with the National Park Service and the Coupeville Lions Club, announces the fifth annual Ebey’s Reserve Preservation Field School project for 2012: the Carriage House of the Pearson-Engle Farm, circa 1858.

The 2012 session will kick off Thursday, July 12, at 4 p.m. with a pre-Field School Workshop on the Carriage House site. Owner and legatee David Engle will be on hand to share his stories about the history of his family’s farmstead.

The Ebey’s Reserve Field School was established in 2008 to provide technical support to owners of the Reserve’s historic buildings, and to give community members a hands-on opportunity to help preserve nationally significant buildings for future generations, according to a news release.  It is a collaborative effort of the Trust Board, National Park Service, Coupeville Lions Club and Preservation Crew volunteers – both residents of and visitors to Whidbey Island.

Led by the National Park Service, this highly successful program attracts a diverse group of volunteers – historians and handymen – all interested in preserving buildings that contribute to the historic fabric of Ebey’s Landing. On one hand, the Field School provides opportunities for learning and applying the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Preservation of Historic Buildings. But more importantly, volunteers learn new techniques in the company of neighbors and new friends – a modern version of barn-raising.

After all, the Reserve was founded not just to protect buildings and prairies, but to recapture some of the meaningful community traditions that have been lost to the march of “progress.”  Volunteers of all skill levels, from the community and beyond, are invited to participate in the unique fellowship of the Preservation Field School.

Reserve Manager Mark Preiss said, “Every year preservation experts from across the region lead this four-week long field school, bringing neighbors together and increasing the local base of preservation expertise right here in Central Whidbey.”

Ron Boyer, four-time volunteer said, “I always learn something new from the school. As a history buff, learning how our ancestors split shakes or pointed brickwork really brings their world alive for me.”

This year’s project, the Pearson-Engle farm Carriage House, is part of a significant cluster of farm buildings attached to the 2 1/2 story Queen Anne home at 89 S. Ebey Road. One of the oldest homes in the Reserve, the house was built in 1858 by B. Harmon. Daniel Pearson purchased the farm in 1869, and he in turn left it to his daughter Flora and her husband William Engle. It has been in the Engle family now for four generations.

The Carriage House, which included a second-story workshop, was built by William Engle sometime after 1878, when he and Flora moved into the house.  They planted an orchard with apples, pears and walnuts behind the house, along with the Carriage House.  Visible from Terry Road, the building is in dire need of emergency stabilization, and with a work plan by local historic building surveyor Harrison Goodall, and under the direction of the National Park Service, the Field School Preservation Crew will accomplish just that.

Conducted over a four-week period between July 18 and August 9, Mondays through Thursdays, the school offers volunteers flexibility in participation in four-hour shifts (8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m.), for as many or as few shifts as the volunteer desires.

In addition to Thursday’s workshop, a Brown Bag Lecture will be open to the public at noon on Wednesday, Aug. 1, on the project site, titled “More than a Carriage House: Why Heritage Buildings Matter.”

The project closes with a barbecue for the volunteers, held on the last day of the project in the shadow of the newly-stabilized Carriage House.  Participants will receive a unique and exclusive Ebey’s Reserve – Carriage House ball cap.

Sign ups are now open for all shifts of the Field School, so sign as soon as possible. If you have questions or would like to register and sign up for shifts, contact Lynn Hyde at Ebey’s Reserve at 678-6084 or at


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