During a rare meeting in the Yakima Valley last week, the state's advisory council on historic preservation presented its chairman's award to Don Vlieger of the Sunnyside Inn Bed and Breakfast.
The Vlieger family 20 years ago purchased what had been a set of two adjacent homes at the corner of Edison Avenue and Eighth Street.
The houses were originally built in 1919 and, in the process of turning them into a bed and breakfast, the Vliegers worked to preserve the character and flavor of the homes.
And that is why this past Friday Advisory Council Chair Jack Williams presented the award to Vlieger during the group's meeting in Sunnyside.
Vlieger said plumbing was the hardest part about maintaining the houses' character, while upgrading them for a bed and breakfast. The property's combined total of three-and-a-half baths has been converted into 14-and-a-half baths to accommodate 13 guest rooms.
The Vliegers are only the third owners of the property and Don said they were attracted to the property as a bed and breakfast because it has five exterior entrances.
The public is invited to help the Vliegers celebrate their 20th anniversary at the bed and breakfast - and see the historical preservation firsthand - during an open house set for Sunday, June 7, from 2 to 5 p.m.
Vlieger noted 500 people turned out the last time the bed and breakfast hosted an open house.
Another Sunnysider was also honored at last week's meeting. Jerri Honeyford, a member of the advisory council and chair of the state's heritage barn advisory committee, announced that she was recently appointed to the National Barn Alliance Board.
Honeyford said the appointment was a surprise and will likely mean some travel as she fulfills the duties of serving on a national board.
In other news from Friday's meeting at Bon Vino's Bistro and Bakery, the advisory council:
- Learned the state's Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation survived attempts during the recent legislative session to have it combined with state parks as a cost-cutting move. Allyson Brooks is the state historic preservation officer, and she said there were budget cuts handed down by the state legislature, but that no staff cuts were needed.
- Learned the department may in fact need to hire an additional staff member, because it has to conduct archaeological reviews of all the state public works projects funded by the federal stimulus plan.
- Approved 10 applicants for inclusion in the Washington Heritage Register and agreed to recommend nine applications for the National Register of Historic Places.
There were no applications from Yakima County seeking a register listing.
The closest was the Dalles Mountain Ranch Historic District in Dallesport, near Goldendale, which contains several homestead sites, some dating as far back as 1870. It was approved to the state's register and recommended for the national register.
- Approved 16 barns for the state's Heritage Barn Register.
The Washington state Advisory Council on Historic Preservation will next meet Oct. 22-23 in Spokane.