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New foundation for historic 1894 King Farmhouse

The King Farmhouse, built in 1894, will be lifted Tuesday so a new foundation and 4-foot crawl space can be poured. The project is the first phase of the heritage home’s restoration.                                                                                              - Richard Walker
The King Farmhouse, built in 1894, will be lifted Tuesday so a new foundation and 4-foot crawl space can be poured. The project is the first phase of the heritage home’s restoration.
— image credit: Richard Walker

Sunlight has touched the soil beneath the King Farmhouse on Price Street for the first time since 1894.

Nickel Bros. House Moving is scheduled to lift the house today so that a concrete foundation and 4-foot crawl space can be placed under the historic home, the centerpiece of the San Juan Historical Museum.

Atlantis Construction of Friday Harbor is the contractor. The value of the project is $67,312.50. A majority of that cost is in lifting and lowering the house.

The project is the continuation of an effort to restore the heritage buildings on the museum grounds. The roof of the 1895 County Jail was replaced in June.

Restoration of the museum’s buildings will be supported by the museum’s sale of a historic preservation easement to the San Juan County Land Bank; royalties from the book “Friday Harbor”; and grants and donations.

Besides the King Farmhouse and the jail, other historic buildings are the Milk House, built in the 1890s; the Carriage House, built in the 1890s; a stone root cellar, and a pioneer log cabin.

The purpose of the San Juan Historical Society and Museum is to interpret and share the story of the peoples of San Juan Island.

“The Historical Society will assemble, collect, preserve, exhibit and make available for future generations historical data, information and artifacts which illustrate the heritage of San Juan Island,” its Web site states.

The museum hosts exhibits and presentations. It is also the venue for the Pig War Picnic and the Young Pioneers Day Camp in July, the Summer Music on the Lawn Concert Series presented by Island Rec, and the Holiday Celebration in December.

When it is placed on its new foundation, the King Farmhouse will undergo exterior and interior restoration. But the new foundation is by far the most difficult work to be conducted.

When the house is lifted, the contractor will pour the foundation, install interior post and beams, and then lower the house. Then, the contractor will hook up the electrical and plumbing, rebuild the fence and porch, make access doors and screened vents, backfill and grade with materials from the site, and pour a new sidewalk to the porch.

While excavating, the soil surrendered a few treasures: An old brown bottle, some horseshoes, a rusty nail, and a rusty ax head.

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