Curtis Wharf, O & Second Streets, Anacortes, Skagit County, WA
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O & Second Streets, Anacortes, WA
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Documentation compiled after 1933.
Survey number HABS WA-198
Building/structure dates: 1903 initial construction
Building/structure dates: 1992 demolished
Significance: Curtis Wharf is significant both in its contribution to history at the local and regional levels as a maritime commercial and industrial complex and in its illustration of a type of vernacular architecture dependent on a once vast American resource that is just now, at this point in history, becoming extinct: timber. At the local level, Curtis Wharf is the last surviving example of a wharf, built in the first decade of the twentieth century and used for commerce, that was once plentiful. The builder and developer of the property, Melville Curtis, was instrumental in the development of Anacortes as a city, from its earliest days of organization. In a broader sense, Curtis can be recognized as an archetypical early pioneer of the Northwest: he came to the West Coast when it was a wilderness, and through sound business practices, and ethic of hard work, and belief in civic responsibility, succeeded in established in a safe and prosperous community for future generations. As a maritime transportation facility, Curtis Wharf provides an interpretation of the history of passenger and commercial transportation in the Puget Sound from its earliest establishment in the days of steamship travel to the advent of the automobile and development of the ferry system, to its eventual decline in significance in the second half of the century. Architecturally, Curtis Wharf is not significant in its uniqueness, but more for its representation of a type of construction, based on the availability of timber, that is very rapidly disappearing. The rough-cut logs used as pilings, with the bark still intact, the massive post and pier foundations of the Cement and Plaster Warehouse, the wood roof truss still present on the roofs of the Ticket Office and the Cold Storage Warehouse, even the construction of the gutters in wood -- these buildings and their materials and techniques will never be duplicated.
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)
1. Panoramic view, city of Anacortes, from the top of a tanker barge at the Port of Anacortes. View looking southwest.
2. Panoramic view, Curtis Wharf, from the top of a tanker barge at the Port of Anacortes. View looking south.
3. Panoramic view, Guemes Channel, from the top of a tanker barge at the Port of Anacortes. View looking southeast.
4. East side of Curtis Wharf, as seen from the pier at the Port of Anacortes. View looking south and west.
5. Freight Warehouse, east facade, on the right; east facade and southeast corner of Ticket Office on the left.
6. Looking into the inner court. Left to right: Cold Storage Warehouse, east facade; Freight Warehouse, south facade; Ticket Office, southwest corner.
7. View looking south and west along the railroad right-of-way. Cement and Plaster Warehouse on the left; Creamery on the right.
8. View of Curtis Wharf looking northeast; ferry slip in center, Sand and Gravel Wharf on the left.
9. View looking north and east along the railroad right-of-way. Cement and Plaster Warehouse on the right; on the left, left to right, corner of Feed Mill, dock of Hay and Grain Warehouse, 2-bay south facade of Ice Plant, and on the end, south facade of Creamery. 10. 'Rephotographic' of WA-198-18. Directly north, in the center, is the ferry slip; on the right, west side of main dock; on the left, the Sand and Gravel Wharf.
11. View east into the inner court between the Freight Warehouse and the Cold Storage Warehouse from the Sand and Gravel Wharf. Ferry slip is in the foreground.
12. Photocopy of photograph (Original print, Port of Anacortes.) Brady's Anacortes Studio, Photographer, date unknown. Overview of Curtis Wharf. North section of main dock is intact; Sand and Gravel Wharf on the right.
13. Photocopy of photograph (Original print, Anacortes Museum.) Photographer unknown. Early view, c. 1905, looking north and east, before the construction of the Cement and Plaster Warehouse and the expansion of the wharf itself to the west.
14. Photocopy of photograph (Original print, Anacortes Museum.) Published in the Anacortes American, April 1907. Tacoma Engineering Company, Photographer. View to the north. On the right; early ticket office, south facade; behind it, a warehouse, east section of the present building; on the left, the original freight warehouse, the west section of the present building. Note wharf configuration in front of Ticket Office.
15. Photocopy of photograph (Original print, Wallie V. Funk Collection.) Photographer unknown. Published in the Anacortes American, 12 October 1911; 'Plant of the Anacortes Ice Company and Curtis Dock.' Photograph probably earlier. View looking northwest, left to right; Cement and Plaster Warehouse; Ice Plant (with towers); Cold Storage Warehouse; Freight Warehouse; a warehouse; and early ticket office.
16. Photocopy of photograph (Original print, Wallie V. Funk Collection.) Photographer unknown. Published in the Anacortes American, 19 March 1914, 'Curtis Wharf Company Handles City's Extensive Maritime Traffic.' View looking northeast. In the foreground, the Standard Oil Dock; behind it, the west side of the main dock. In the center, west facade, Hay and Grain Warehouse (Bottling Works not yet built.) To the right, Feed Mill. Note coal bin at northwest corner of the Hay and Grain Warehouse.
17. Photocopy of photograph (Original print, Anacortes Museum.) Photographer unknown, c. 1915. View to the northeast, west side of main wharf in the background. Right to left: Cement and Plaster Warehouse (labelled 'Curtis Wharf Warehouse #2'); Feed Mill; and Bottling Works, with the Sand and Gravel Wharf across from it, to the left.
18. Photocopy of photograph (Original print, Wallie V. Funk Collection.) Photographer unknown, c. 1920. View looking north, ferry slip in the center; to the right is the main wharf. Buildings on the main wharf, right to left: 'Ferry Cigar Stand,' no longer extant; Feed Mill; Bottling Works (with dormer). On the left, the Sand and Gravel Wharf.
19. Photocopy of photograph (Original print, Wallie V. Funk Collection.) Photographer unknown, c. 1928. View looking north: ferry slip in the center. To the right is the south facade of the Feed Mill; to the left, the Sand and Gravel Wharf.
20. Photocopy of photograph (Original print, Wallie V. Funk Collection.) Photographer unknown, c. 1934. Northwest corner of the main dock, west facade of the Freight Warehouse to the right. Passengers embarking onto the twinstack single screw 'Tacoma,' travelling to Victoria on the Puget Sound Navigation Company's 'Black Ball' line.
21. Photocopy of photograph (Original print, Anacortes Museum.) Tacoma Engineering Company, Photographer. Advertisement published in the Anacortes American April 1907. Same view as WA-198-14.
22. Photocopy of photograph (Original print, Anacortes Museum.) Morse of San Francisco, Photographer. Date unknown. Portrait of Melville Curtis.
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