November 29, 1999
Duvall Historical Society Vice President Tove Burhen on the sturdy stairway in the foyer of the Dougherty house.
DUVALL--The territorial landmark Dougherty Farmstead is being restored as the country home it once was through cooperation between the city of Duvall and the Duvall Historical Society.
Restoration efforts have been ongoing for over a year. Progress has been slow, but it now looks like the house will be in good shape well into its third century.
Built in 1888, the landmark house was more than just a home--it was Duvall's first post office, and even a place for Catholics to worship.
The house was originally built down by the river, near where the riverboats loaded and unloaded their cargo. But when the Milwaukee Railroad was planning its route through the Valley, the house was in the way. So about 1911, it was moved by horse team to where it now sits on the Cherry Valley Road.
It has been known as the "territorial house" because it was built the year before Washington achieved statehood. Leo Dougherty, the last resident of the house, kept up the house as well as he could, but focused his attentions mostly on his magnificent front-yard flower garden.
And when Leo, a lifelong bachelor, died about 20 years ago, the house appeared doomed to sit empty. The structure began to deteriorate, and was often the target of vandals, who broke windows and threw paint around.
Historical Society members became concerned that if something wasn't done soon, the historic home would eventually be unsalvageable. So they went to work, and now the one-acre farmstead (house, garage, and bunkhouse) and the land around it are owned by the city of Duvall and classified as "open space."
The project manager of the renovation, Ray Burhen, reports that through the judicious spending of King County grant funds, the house now has heat, water, and electricity. The new water system was completed due to the much-appreciated donation of work by Cherry Valley Plumbing.
Historical Society members have shopped for light fixtures and linoleum, painted the bathroom, and fixed doors, locks, and windows. Sno-Valley Glass donated repair time and window glass.
The ruined fence has been removed and volunteers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have installed and painted a new picket fence. Volunteer horticulturists have led pruning work parties, and the city crew have mowed the lawn and dug ditches for pipes, drains, and wires.
Ceiling and some wall repairs are necessary, and then the interior can be scrubbed, painted, or papered, and floors covered or renovated. The bunkhouse, where Kate Dougherty rented beds to loggers, and the garage have been covered for winter protection, awaiting springtime repairs. A wheelchair ramp is being planned for the back of the house. The garage will be converted into public restrooms.
"There is so much history in the place," said Tove Burhen, Historical Society vice president. "We want to bring that look back by using period furniture. Some of the members have some things--and we have the old piano and even the post office boxes."
She said the society appreciates all the work the volunteers and the city have done to bring the place back. "Besides mowing the lawn, the city has dug trenches for electricity and the sewer," she said. "And the city and the society worked together to get the grants we needed."
She said the Historical Society is working hard to finish repairs, furnish the house, and open it as a museum in not too long a time. Donations of furniture or accent pieces may by offered to the Historical Society's acceptance committee. Call Don Williams, Historical Society president, at 788-6209, or Tove Burhen at 788-1266.
Tove Burhen contributed to this report.