Thurston County Commissioners awarded $35,000 this week to seven historic projects.
The funds comes from setting aside $1 from each $5 historic document recording fee that is collected by the Thurston County Auditor’s Office
The Board of County Commissioners awarded each organization $5,000, according to Cami Petersen, with the Thurston County Historic Commission, which manages the grant program.
“It’s a way to support the historic activities in the county,” she said.
The Gate Community Club plans to use most of its funding on ceiling and porch repairs to the Gate City Schoolhouse on Moon Road near Rochester.
“It’s the last remaining public building from the town of Gate City,” said Donna Weaver, president of the association that maintains the building. “Gate City was a booming town in the 1920s. People traveled through Gate City to get to the coast.”
The 1910 one-room schoolhouse, which still has original blackboards on three of its four walls, operated as a school until 1941 when the area schools were consolidated into Rochester schools, according to county historical records.
The building has served as a community center ever since, and was maintained for many years by the Gate City Homemakers, Weaver said.
“The Homemakers would spend the winter making a quilt, and they would auction it off, and that would be used to pay for the taxes and maintenance on the building,” she said.
The Gate Community Club also plans to upgrade its storage for the building’s historic documents.
“We’ve got some stuff in there that, if we lost it, we’d never be able to replace it,” Weaver said.
Other grant recipients are:
▪ Sandman Foundation, which will use its grant to repair a blown head gasket on the historic tugboat.
▪ South Thurston County Historical Society, which will use its grant to upgrade displays, signage and artifact storage space.
▪ City of Lacey/Lacey Museum, which will use its grant to make images of and catalogue the Lacey Leader, the city’s first newspaper.
▪ Olympia Historical Society & Bigelow House Museum, which will renovate the upstairs of the Bigelow House and create interpretive panels.
▪ Olympia Tumwater Foundation, which plans to complete processing the Schmidt House historical photographs for preservation and public access.
▪ Pacific Northwest Archaeological Services, which will help provide public outreach for The Evergreen State College’s Archeological Field School at the historic George Bush homestead near Tumwater. The grant also will help fund a second excavation season at the site.