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Lucy House among states top endangered historical sites

Preservation League plans to restore the 151-year-old structure at Philip Foster Farm
by: ALANA KANSAKU-SARMIENTO The Lucy House, officially known as the Josiah Burnett House, is one of Oregon’s 10 most historically endangered sites, according to a list made by the Historic Preservation League of Oregon. The league plans to assist the Jacknife-Zion-Horseheaven Historical Society (owners of the Lucy House) in developing a plan that will lead to renovation of the 151-year-old structure.

The Historic Preservation League of Oregon has officially recognized the Josiah Burnett House, also known as the Lucy House to many and located at the Philip Foster Farm in Eagle Creek, as one of the top 10 most endangered historical sites in Oregon.

'It's been our goal to put a spotlight on some of the most endangered places in Oregon as the starting point of a preservation process for these places to perhaps be conserved and adapted for new purposes, and to be reused and passed forward,' said Peggy Moretti, executive director of the league. 'The starting point is always awareness and appreciation.'

The Lucy House was built in 1860 for Philip Foster's daughter and son-in-law, Lucy and Josiah, in an attempt to get them to move from Roseburg closer to Foster's home.

'We have a lot of the original receipts for building the house (for example), lumber, wallpaper, paints, furnishings,' said Joanne Broadhurst, Foster descendant and treasurer of the Jacknife-Zion-Horseheaven Historical Society, which owns and operates Philip Foster Farm. 'We have a really good (idea) of what the house was in 1860.'

According to Broadhurst, the Lucy House is in bad need of restoration. From foundation repairs, plumbing and wiring, to painting, windows, the removal of old additions and more, there is a lot of work to be done.

The Historic Preservation League of Oregon recognized the top 10 sites at a luncheon in downtown Portland, which was attended by the great-great-grandchildren of Josiah and Lucy Burnett.

'This gives us some status,' Broadhurst said. 'We felt pretty pleased that they recognized how important (this place) is, given the history and the type of house that it is.'

The Jacknife-Zion-Horseheaven Historical Society was one of approximately two dozen locations to submit an application for entry on to the list. The Lucy House was bought by the society 10 years ago, and has been rented out ever since in an effort to maintain its usability.

If and when the society receives the funds for renovation, it will be used in a more proactive way as a part of the current Philip Foster Farm historical site.

'It's as simple as bringing some know-how, in terms of structural stability issues, finding grant money, and (helping to determine) a long-range vision on how these places can become more financially viable,' said Moretti of the league's assisting role in these 10 endangered locations.

'There's a whole host of different approaches for all the different properties. They all have different needs.'

Some of the other properties to make the list include the Baker City Middle School, Eugene's Civic Stadium, the Egyptian Theatre in Coos Bay and the Watson-Price barn in Philomath.

'The nominations came from all over the state,' Moretti said.

'Criteria included how significant they were from a cultural or architectural standpoint, how viable they were as a productive (resource), the amount of community support surrounding it and the degree of urgency needed (to save the structure).

'The properties listed on our most endangered places list represent cultural and economic assets we don't want to lose,' Moretti said.

'We expect our efforts will benefit these unique places, and the communities that surround them.'

The progress of these endangered sites can be tracked on the league's website, historicpreservationleague.org.