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(This article was published in the May 25, 2007, edition of The Spokesman Review.)

 

Gas station, Finch lodge on most-endangered list

Scouts council ready to proceed with new project

Associated Press
May 25, 2007
ZILLAH, Wash. The 84-year-old Teapot Dome, a Yakima Valley landmark gas station that has sat idle the past few years after its owners closed it amid rising gas prices, has been declared one of the state's most endangered historic properties.

Another on the list is the John A. Finch Boy Scout Lodge, on Diamond Lake. Boy Scout directors decided last fall to raze, not renovate, the historic lodge, saying a new structure would be less expensive.

The craftsman-style structure was designed in 1923 by Spokane architect Julius Zittel, who designed Spokane's Carnegie Library and other landmark buildings.

The gas station, built in 1922, is one of nine endangered historic properties listed this year by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.

Authorities say the vacant station will deteriorate or could face demolition if it isn't put to use.

Earlier this year, officials in Zillah, about 20 miles southeast of Yakima, agreed to buy the dome for $125,000, and put up about $1,000 in earnest money. The city has about seven months left to close the deal, Mayor Gary Clark said.

An effort to move the dome into town, where it will serve as a visitor center, is under way, but roughly $250,000 is needed for the project.

A group calling itself Friends of the Teapot recently formed to raise the necessary money.

Adding the dome to the state's endangered properties list helps to stress the need to preserve the structure, Clark said, and could aid in securing grants for preservation.

"We have a real good reason to want to save this teapot," he said.

 

 

Symbolic shape

The gas station's teapot shape symbolized the oil scandals and bribery charges that rocked Warren G. Harding's presidency when federal oil fields, known as the Teapot Dome, were leased in 1921 without competitive bidding to an oil operator.

 

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