Posted by: wadahp | August 8, 2011


Friends of Seattle’s Olmsted Parks invites you to a special tour of the Olmsted-designed grounds of the historic Northern State Hospital located in Sedro-Woolley, WA.

Date and Time: Saturday August 20, 10 a.m. Please bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the site after the tour.
Location:  Hub/Theater Building, 24909 Hub Drive, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284. Meet at the Hub/Theater Conference Center Building #14 on Hub Drive.
RSVP: Group size is limited. Please RSVP by August 13 to
For more information, phone 206-280-9740.

Our tour leaders are Spencer Howard, partner with Artifacts Consulting, along with Marygrace Jennings, Cultural Resource Manager, Nick Cockrell, Asset Manager and Judy Torfin, Administrative Assistant, all with the Washington State Department of General Administration. According to the Cultural Landscape Foundation, “Undertaken by the State of Washington in 1909, Northern State Hospital was constructed as a state of the art, self-sustaining occupational therapy and treatment facility for the mentally ill. Masterfully designed by the Olmsted Brothers, the site included patient and staff housing, a dedicated reservoir, lumber mill, quarry, steam plant, and more than 700 acres of farming and livestock operations. The hospital ended operations in 1973 and, today, the Washington State Department of General Administration and Skagit County are stewards of the site, and has converted the agricultural area into the Northern State Recreation Area. A renewed interest in the site has local officials and community members pushing for a sensitive adaptive reuse.”

The 700 acre farm and forest land was transferred solely to Skagit County in 1992, and the 225-acre main hospital campus continues to be managed by the Washington State Department of General Administration with most of the buildings still in use. The Department of General Administration has declared the Hospital Campus property as surplus, and is in the process of evaluating options to transfer ownership. While the campus and some of the adjacent farmland have recently been listed as a Historic District in the National Register of Historic Places, this designation confers no protections on the property. Earlier this year, the property was identified by Washington Trust for Historic Preservation as one of 2011 Most Endangered Historic Properties in Washington, having been nominated by FSOP. This is an opportunity to visit a unique Olmsted landscape with expert tour guides. Please join us!

Directions to the Northern State Hospital:
24909 Hub Drive
Sedro Woolley, WA 98284
Head north on I-5 N
Take Exit 232, Cook Road exit, just past Chuckanut Drive
Head east on Cook Rd until you reach the intersection of Hwy 20 and Cook Rd.
Take a left on Hwy 20 and proceed east on Hwy 20 about ½ mile past the AM/PM
Turn left onto Fruitdale Road at the light.
North Cascades Gateway Center will be your first turn on the right. Upon entering campus bear left on Northern State Rd.
Turn right onto Hub Drive. The Hub/Theater Conference Center is on the left half way down Hub Drive.
The parking lot is just beyond the Hub Building, on the left.

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