Oak bank building topples

Since its construction in 1910, the building at the corner of Dock Street and Pioneer Way served a variety of uses. After serving as the home of Oak Harbor State Bank, it was also a paint shop and a pawn shop.

However, that 94-year history came to an end Monday when it was demolished.

“We tried really hard to save it,” said Jim Coffin, whose wife, Susan Lambert, owns the property.

They bought the property about a year ago and had engineers examine the building to see if it could have been renovated.

The building structure, however, had rotted and there were too many leaks to warrant renovation, Coffin said.

Larry Cort, senior planner for Oak Harbor, said the building lost its historical importance over the years.

“From a historical standpoint, it lost almost all of its integrity,” he said.

The four columns that were built on the original building can now be found in front of the Masonic Temple in Coupeville.

Cort said that the building had also gone through a lot of changes over the years and that structural problems would have made saving the building a difficult task.

Workers brought in an excavator to tear down the former bank and were still clearing the property on Tuesday.

A seven-foot-tall vault door with working combination was salvaged from the building. Coffin said he hopes the door will be put into a future building to commemorate the site’s original purpose.

Early plans call for a building that will house a tea room. Such a business would feature tea parties in a Victorian atmosphere, Coffin said.

However, the building has to be designed and go through the permitting process before construction would begin.

He didn’t know when such a building would go up but hopes something will be in place in time for the next Holland Happening in 2005.

People may know Lambert from her previous business, Chocolates for Breakfast. That business, which was located in the Pacific Northwest Bank building, closed when the bank was bought by Wells Fargo Bank earlier in the year.

You can reach News-Times reporter Nathan Whalen at or call 675-6611

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