Did Bainbridge Island help produce a Nobel Prize?

Some good news and fascinating history come to light in the race to save Bainbridge Island's historic Moran School building.

Some good news and fascinating history come to light in the race to save Bainbridge Island's historic Moran School building.

Time is running out for the historic administration and theater building of the old Moran School on Bainbridge Island. The aging structure is one of the most important landmark buildings on the island and the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation is working at the 11th hour to save it from the wrecking ball by attempting to find a buyer. The Moran building is on the Trust's "most endangered" list for 2010.

The building did receive some good news recently, according to a story by reporter Tristan Baurick in the Kitsap Sun. A survey of the building, requested by the state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, found that it's in much better shape than it looks. "Structurally, it doesn’t have the liabilities or problems a lot of old buildings have," said Paul Faget, the structural engineer who examined the building, according to the Sun.

The building has been neglected for decades and is in a relatively off-the-beaten track neighborhood on Bainbridge, but more is becoming known about the pioneering Moran School and its impact on the Pacific Northwest.

A Seattle branch of the school morphed into the famous Bill Gates alma mater Lakeside. But the original Moran School had its own famous, and smart, alums. They included Washington Nobel Prize winner Walter Brattain, a co-inventor of the transistor and famed for his early work on semi-conductors, and John Yeon, the influential Northwest modern architect and conservationist who had a huge impact in Oregon and beyond.

Zoning in the neighborhood prevents some commercial uses, but the Sun lists some that might inspire potential buyers: Dave Williams, chair of the city Historical Preservation Commission, told the Sun it could be a "bed-and-breakfast, a fine arts center, a writers retreat. Maybe even a satellite campus for Lakeside or a Seattle art school."

Good ideas all. It will definitely take some creativity save the building, but then given its history, it seems to have had a knack for inspiring brilliance.

Be sure and check out the photo gallery of the building's wonderful interior which accompanies the Sun article.


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About the Authors & Contributors

Knute Berger

Knute Berger

Knute “Mossback” Berger is Crosscut's Editor-at-Large.