January 12, 2018

Preservation Personals: Stand Out from the Crowd with This Washington Folk Victorian

  • By: Nicholas Som

My town of South Prairie, Washington, doesn’t exactly jump off the map, with a population of 435 as of 2016. But in my early days, South Prairie was a bustling commercial supply center, thanks in part to the efforts of my first owner’s family.

When the transcontinental Northern Pacific Railway was completed in 1888, the site that would become my town was selected for development. A man named Francis Bisson platted South Prairie and built the town’s first grocery and general store, and would eventually serve in the first Washington State Legislature.

I was built around 1895 by Francis’ brother William, who became the town’s first treasurer and postmaster. I’m a two-and-a-half story Folk Victorian with five bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a guest cottage out in the yard. I stand in striking contrast to the vernacular architecture of the houses that surround me, which tend to be less ornate. I retain my original straight grain fir flooring and shingled roof, and my foundation is covered with intricate latticework.

However, I’ve been tastefully updated multiple times over the years, keeping me well equipped for modern owners. My front porch has been expanded into a wraparound veranda, and wood-wrapped windows fill my interior, including my fully-updated kitchen. And from my second-floor balcony, accessible from the master bedroom, you can enjoy a view of nearby Mount Rainier.

The Northern Pacific Railway diverted most of their traffic away from South Prairie in the 1930s, effectively ending its days as a commercial hub. But my town’s glory days endure through me, and I eagerly await my newest owners. Learn more about me here.

The exterior of a Washington Folk Victorian.

photo by: Elise Gregg

South Prairie, WA 98385.

The living room of a Washington Folk Victorian.

photo by: Elise Gregg

My living room's fireplace retains its original decorative tile.

The kitchen of a Washington Folk Victorian.

photo by: Elise Gregg

The wooden cabinetry of my kitchen is a charming, rustic touch.

Nicholas Som is an editorial assistant at the National Trust. He enjoys museums of all kinds, Philadelphia sports, and tracking down great restaurants.


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