The Haller House is hidden among a canopy of trees at the corner of Front and North Main streets in Coupeville. 2016 file photo/Whidbey News-Times

The Haller House is hidden among a canopy of trees at the corner of Front and North Main streets in Coupeville. 2016 file photo/Whidbey News-Times

Campaign to buy historic Coupeville house revived

Campaign to buy historic Coupeville house revived

A campaign to purchase a historic home in the heart of downtown Coupeville is rebooting after attempts failed in 2016.

Historic Whidbey announced this week it is back with the support of the National Park Service. The group hopes to raise $165,000 in the next six months to purchase the 1866 Haller House on Front Street.

Not two months after a deal fell through in August 2016, the regional field office for the Park Service called, said Historic Whidbey founder Lynn Hyde.

The Park Service conducted its own appraisal of the property, valuing it at $375,000.

Historic Whidbey still has $100,000 from its previous efforts and the Park Service is providing $110,000, which primarily came from preservation easements on the house and property.

The additional funds will be sought from grants as well as private donations.

Hyde said that it will actually be easier to get grants for the house once it has been purchased.

And if the group can get the purchase finalized, it can use the cost of the sale as matching for a state grant for restoration.

“The heavy lifting is in the purchase,” Hyde said.

The plan is to turn the home, which is located right at the corner of Front and North Main streets, into a Territorial Heritage Center.

It would feature historical displays representing the era of the home, 1850-1870, as well as a retail shop and possible office space for rent.

Hyde said the hope is to generate additional revenue to continue to support the house.

“One of our top priorities in planning is to not compete with existing entities and businesses,” Hyde said.

“We’re not going to be opening an ice cream parlor.”

The Haller House, built in 1866 by Major Granville Haller and his wife Henrietta, is among 30 surviving “early settlement era” structures, dating between 1850s to 1870s, out of more than 400 historic buildings within the Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It was placed on the Most Endangered Historical Properties list in 2013 by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.

A successful U.S. Army officer who served in the Civil War and regional wars against Native Americans in the Northwest, Haller came to Coupeville in 1863 after being dismissed from military service for disloyal conduct and sentiments.

He spent 16 years trying to restore his name and eventually succeeded with reinstatement and a promotion to colonel.

“It was a really dramatic time with huge conflicts,” Hyde said.

The home he built in Coupeville was elaborate during that time with its size, high ceilings, grand fireplace and special decorative features. His wife, an avid green thumb, had gardens all the way up to Ninth Street.

What remains today is a house steadily deteriorating, hidden by a wall of trees so no one realizes it’s there unless they’re right in front of it.

• For information about the Haller House and the renewed efforts to purchase it, go to www.historicwhid bey.org

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