It’s been about 30 years since a small warehouse perched on pilings over the Hoquiam River on Riverside Avenue has been used. The plywood siding is falling off and the roof is pocked with holes.
Despite its dilapidated condition, the building is an important part of Hoquiam’s history and the days when many buildings lined the river banks, said Polson Museum Director John Larson. “There can only be five or so buildings like it still in existence around here,” he said.
It’s currently being considered as an addition to Hoquiam’s historic register, and a public hearing regarding the matter will take place at the April 14 Hoquiam City Council meeting. Council meetings are held in the Hoquiam City Hall and start at 7 p.m.
The warehouse is owned by Quigg Bros., Inc. Larson said he hasn’t been able to find an exact date for the building’s construction, but he estimated it was during the late 1930s.
Back then, the warehouse sat next to the 8th Street bridge, which crossed the Hoquiam River and connected downtown with Riverside Avenue. Some remnants of the bridge, which was torn down in the 1970s, are still visible from the road. A glass sculpture of a boat sits on one of the bridge’s pilings a few yards out from the riverbank.
The warehouse was once a key component of the construction company’s operations, said Peter Ewen of Quigg Bros. Barges and boats would stop at the warehouse to pick up or deliver goods. The building was most recently used as a workshop for Jim Bob’s Wood Stoves in the 1970s and 1980s, he said.
The company is developing plans to renovate the building, but Ewen said he’s not sure what they’ll use it for.
“We’d like to give it a little bit of a face lift,” Ewen said. “It will be a nice thing for people to see as they drive through.”
Quigg Bros., Inc. hired Al Gozart and Monica Kuhnau of Harbor Architects to draw up plans for the remodel. But they’ll have to maintain the historic character of the building.
“We’ve been searching the Jones historic photo collection, but it’s been hard to find many photos of the building,” Kuhnau said.
Kuhnau said the building’s windows will be returned to their original locations, and the plywood siding will be replaced with horizontal lap siding. Crews will also restore the warehouse’s original sloped roof.
“Only kayakers and canoers will see the nitty-gritty details of the front of the building, so it doesn’t have to be perfect,” Larson said. “It just has to capture the spirit of the era.”
Adding the building to the historic register will help with the construction process, Larson said. The warehouse is located in a flood plain, so under normal circumstances it would need to be elevated if more than 50 percent of the building’s assessed value is spent on construction. As a historic building, the warehouse would be exempt from that standard.
Quigg Bros., Inc. would also receive a tax break for the construction. The owners would only be taxed for the building’s pre-construction value for the next 10 years.
“It’s an incentive to do period-correct restoration without being gouged by the county,” Larson said.
The building will remain on the city’s local historic resister as long as it still stands, Larson said. Future owners will also have to make sure that construction is period correct.
“It’s a great way to add value to Hoquiam,” Larson said.