Then and now: The Morrill Bank building, on the corner of 1st and Gowe, in 1910, left, and today. COURTESY PHOTOS

Then and now: The Morrill Bank building, on the corner of 1st and Gowe, in 1910, left, and today. COURTESY PHOTOS

Downtown leaders look to restore vintage Morrill Bank building

KDP pursuing ways to raise money and preserve a part of Kent’s past

Reporter staff

Kent Downtown Partnership (KDP) is working to restore an exemplary edifice of Kent’s early history.

The Morrill Bank building, on the corner of 1st and Gowe, was built in 1910 of distinctive clinker brick with grand two-story arched windows. But the building, particularly its stucco-like exterior, needs some work.

The effort is part of the KDP’s commitment as a member of the state’s Main Street Program, which Washington Trust for Historic Preservation oversees and calls for the preservation of historic districts and the buildings within them.

The Morrill Bank Building, which is owned by the nonprofit Multi-Service Center and today houses the Alleluia Catholic Store, belongs to such a designated district.

Last year, the community trusted the KDP and Greg Haffner – of Curran Law Firm and a KDP board member – by donating $15,000 to the downtown organization to investigate restoring the historic building. Haffner also obtained a $1,500 grant last year from 4Culture – a founder and supporter of cultural work throughout King County – to examine the building.

The KDP hired professionals in the field of historic restoration to investigate what lies beneath the exterior. After inspecting the building from inside and cutting an opening in the stucco, they determined that all of the window openings appeared to be in place. However, the stucco was installed over another layer of product called marblecrete, which is applied directly to the brick. The KDP is seeking estimates for that work from restoration contractors.

Once the KPD learns the cost of the restoration, it will explore how to raise funds to enhance the building.

Those interested in helping with the project, whether by finding funding, grant writing or contribution in some other way, please contact either Haffner at ghaffner@curranlawfirm.com, or Barb Smith at KDP, barbaras@kentdowntown.org.

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