Name: Charles Pink House
Year Built: 1868
Location: Corner Lawrence & Harrison Streets
Area: Uptown Port Townsend
The Pink House, important for its early construction date (circa 1867) and special architectural style (late Greek Revival), has undergone a complete renovation. Neglected and derelict for years, it now stands proud and elegant again on its corner in the Uptown National Historic Landmark District.
The Pink house was built by Horace Tucker, whose father, A.H. Tucker, was one of Port Townsend's earliest residents. Horace joined his father here in 1862, as one of fewer than 400 residents. He built many early homes and buildings, including the Rothschild House (now Washington's smallest state park). The Rothschild House sits, in its original form (ie; not renovated, but preserved) on the corner of Jefferson and Taylor, in the Uptown District. The two houses bear a strong resemblance to each other. The Rothschild House, now Washington's smallest state park, is open daily for viewing and can be seen separately on the homes tour weekend.
Charles W. Pink bought the property from Tucker in 1874, and the house remained in the Pink family for 92 years. After a succession of owners from 1966 on, the City of Port Townsend bought the Pink House in 1981, with the idea that the property could figure in the City's plan to expand the adjacent Port Townsend Carnegie Public Library. From this acquisition ensued a long saga, laced with controversy.
Many supporters of the library expansion project (including the Washington State Library) advocated the sale and removal of the Pink House from the property. Against their better judgment, members of the Port Townsend Historical Preservation Commission agreed.
The matter was brought before the public in 1989. Because federal funds were part of the library financing package, an extensive review process was required. The SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act) required a description of landmarks or historical sites that would be affected by the plan. Concerned citizens felt that this requirement had not been adequately addressed by the Library.
A committee was formed to preserve the Pink House on its original site. The committee requested and obtained a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to explore the possibility of saving the house and its National Historic Landmark designation.
The committee was successful in turning the City around, and the house was saved, at least temporarily.
Later on, the City attempted unsuccessfully to find a tenant who would renovate the house. The City again considered sale and removal of the house. At the last moment, in October, 1993, a local builder came forth and eventually negotiated a long-term lease, for the purpose of renovating the business and leasing it to commercial tenants. It now house Port Townsend Fire Department administration.
The Pink House is especially significant because few houses built in the late 1860s in Washington survive, compared to the number of 1880s and 1890s structures.
The design is basically Greek Revival, which had swept the East in the 1830s. Architectural fashion had changed to Gothic Revival in the East by the late 1860s, but in Port Townsend a simplified Greek Revival style remained popular.
In essence, Greek revival style was accomplished by turning a Colonial-Federal box a quarter turn and putting the entrance on the end, allowing for narrower lots. A classic pediment at the top (or deep "returns" suggesting a pediment) and pilasters (half columns) on the corners, plus a few more classical details, completed the scheme.
Tucker, like other builders, probably owned a "pattern book" of house plans, possibly brought with him from the East. His own house, the Pink House, and the Rothschild House had essentially the same plan.
The Pink House was given a style update, probably in the late 1880s, when Victorian bays were added and perhaps a more ornate porch. Later, the porch was again updated, with an Arts and Crafts look - pillars and the front door were changed, creating a confusing architectural muddle, a circumstance that possibly contributed to the assumption that the house was not worth saving.
Data modified from the National Register of Historic Places, the former Victorian Festival Heritage Home Tour, property owners and other sources. All material copyrighted by PTguide.com.