Pickering Barn

1730 10th Avenue NW

pickering1Pickering Barn was the center of Issaquah’s largest dairy farm for many years.  The land surrounding the barn was purchased from earlier homesteaders by Washington territorial governor William Pickering in 1867.  Today the barn is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Construction on the hay barn began in 1878, and the large dairy barn area was added in 1906.  Though parts of the property were later used as a Navy flight training facility and a “skyport” for recreational parachutists and hang-gliders, the barn and its immediate surroundings were maintained by the Pickering family for agricultural purposes until it was donated to the city of Issaquah in 1994.

Finding the barn buildings in dangerously poor shape, the city spent $2 million restoring them for use as a recycling center.  Over 80% of the siding, columns and beams were salvaged from the original barn structure for reuse in the renovation — though modern recycled materials were also used extensively. The recycling center idea fell through, and and barn has served for brief stints as home of a local public market and for King County District Court.  Long terms plans for the property are still under debate.

Though the barn is adjacent to the large Pickering Place commercial and retail center, the land to the immediate south and east of the barn is an undeveloped wetlands area, and includes one of widest and most pristine sections of Issaquah Creek.

The Pickering Barn is owned and operated by the City of Issaquah. To inquire about renting the facility, please call the Issaquah Parks Department at (425)837-3321.

 

 

Pickering Barn Chronology through 1996

This chronology comes from a 1996 City of Issaquah planning brochure on the Pickering Barn project.

1851 September 28Denny Party lands on Alki Point
1853 March 2Washington Territory formed. Major Isaac Ingalls Stevens, first Territorial Governor.
1859-1861 Hudson Bay Company Builds trapper cabins in Issaquah Valley
1862Lyman B. Andrews discovers coal in Squak Valley.
1863William and Abbie Casto establish first homestead in area which would later become the Pickering Farm. In late November 1864, they are killed during an Indian attack, leaving no heirs.
1867William Pickering Sr., the Fifth Territorial Governor, purchases the farm and his son William Pickering Jr. settles on the farm site. He lives in the Casto cabin.
1887November, Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern Railway arrives at Squak Valley, Washington Territory.
1889November 11, Washington Territory admitted to the Union as the 42nd State
1890sThe tall part of the existing barn is built (called the hay barn).
1892 April 25April 25, Town of Gilman is formed by 61 to 31 vote for incorporation.
1899 February 5 February 5, Town of Gilman is formed by 61 to 31 vote for incorporation.
1906The low part of the existing barn is built (called the dairy barn). Pickering Dairy becomes the largest dairy in the area with over 100 cows.
1912Garage added to site.
1915House added to site. Later removed.
1936 Second hay barn added. Later removed.
1941-1945Navy establishes a Flight Training Facility on the Pickering site.
1962-1987Issaquah Skyport leases 30 acres for parachutists and gliders.
1968Interstate 90 is constructed, dividing Pickering property.
1975Most of Pickering property is sold to investors, although Robert Pickering continues to operate horse stables until 1985 and maintains lands until 1994.
1983 May 26Farm listed on National Register of Historic Places.
1990City Council approves initial concept of specialty recycling village for 7th and Juniper site. Specialty recycling village later evolves into the ECO Center.
1993Council authorizes donation of the Pickering Barns and surrounding nine acre site by Langley Associates. Site approved for the ECO Center.
1994Council approves ordinance for $2,000,000 of City Interfund financing and emergency reconstruction of barn buildings.
1995Council approves two subsequent construction phases and authorizes staff to finalize agreements with the recycling center, Community Enterprises of Issaquah, and the retailer. Existing barns and nine acre site are designated under the City of Issaquah Comprehensive Plan as one of 35 City “Treasures”
1996ECO Center elements do not come together as anticipated. Council authorizes City to close down ECO Center at the Pickering Barns. Council also authorizes formation of Pickering Barn Blue Ribbon Panel. Panel is charged with the mission of conducting a public involvement process which will result in three recommendations for future Barn uses.
1997Squak Valley Homestead project proposed for site.
1999Squak Valley Homestead project abandoned. City Council initiates short and long term use planning process.