Unique log house is historic jewel

  • Written by Deborah Stone
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The Nelson-Parker House has officially been listed in the Washington Heritage Register.
A little over two years ago, the Nelson-Parker House was granted King County Landmark status.

Today, it has officially been listed in the Washington Heritage Register, joining over 1,600 other historic and culturally significant properties which have been recognized for their unique contributions to the state’s heritage.

“This is a pretty big deal,” says Michael Houser, state and national register coordinator. “It’s in a select group and represents the best of the best.”

He adds, “The Nelson-Parker House is significant, not only for its architecture, but socially as well. It has a great story to tell, as it is connected to the history of the settlement and development of the Woodinville area.”

The log dwelling, which is located approximately three miles east of Woodinville, near the Cottage Lake community and within the Sammamish Watershed, was likely constructed in the late 19th century.

It was originally part of a large homestead claim made by Moses Lovee and his wife Catherine in 1883.

Swedish immigrants N.E. and Matilda Nelson subsequently purchased the property in 1892 and constructed a house on the land a few years later.

The building is an outstanding example of hewn log construction in the Pacific Northwest and exhibits a distinct style, evoking traditional Nordic stave construction.

It incorporates both vertical and horizontal logs, which is rare, and the keyed or tooth notching as a method of joining the logs is of special note.

“It’s a very intact house, outside and in,” comments Houser, “and has distinctive construction characteristics, with a high level of craftsmanship.”

The home’s current owners, Paul and Judy Thomas, who have lived in the house since 1971, have been excellent stewards of the property.

They named the place “Julabo,” a Swedish word meaning “home of happiness and singing.”

Judy Thomas is an accomplished artist and her husband Paul is a pioneering Washington state winemaker, as well as a retired educator.

In the early years, the couple added a more substantial poured concrete foundation and full cellar to the building.

Then in the early 90s, they hired architect Peter Steinbrueck to design a more substantial renovation project.

This included alterations to the porch on the west side and construction of a new exterior deck on the south elevation.

Other alterations were also made to some openings on the rear and side elevations.

The kitchen was expanded and the windows were replaced with carefully crafted historic replicas.

In addition, the shake roof was replaced with high quality cedar shakes.

All of the changes made over the years have generally served to structurally stabilize the residence, while continuing to be true to its integrity and historic appearance.

The next step for the Nelson-Parker House is already in progress.

A nomination will be sent to the Keeper of the National Register in Washington, D.C., with a request that the property be listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

According to Allyson Brooks, state historic preservation officer for Washington, the benefits of state and national register listing include potential tax credits, as well as property tax deductions and code waivers to protect the integrity of the resource.

She adds, “Listing of a property does not impose federal or state restrictive covenants or easements nor will it result in a taking. However, listing in the National Register of Historic Places and/or the Washington Heritage Register does assure protective review of a property should a federal or state action have a potential adverse effect to the property’s historic values.”

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