The landmarks preservation board meeting was held at the Seattle Municipal Tower on Wednesday February 5 to decide on a nomination as to whether or not the former Liberty Bank site at 2320 East Union Street, should be declared a Historic Preservation. And it was. A true success for Africatown.
Africatown community members Omari Tahir-Garrett, and Leith Kahl spoke before the panel and also presented a slide show. Both also made statements as to why Liberty Bank should become an historic landmark. Others from the central district community also made comments.
The landmarks preservation board members then heard comments and viewed a slide show presented by Capitol Hill Housing representatives.It was reported in the Central District News back on January 16, 2013 that Capitol Hill Housing had entered into an agreement with Key Bank, who had owned the building, and that CHH had planned to purchase the property and convert it into affordable housing.
The Africatown community then submitted information to the City of Seattle landmarks preservation board to consider a nomination for Liberty Bank
Liberty Bank was founded by James Purnell, who passed away in 2005 at the age of 84. Purnell was once president of the National Bankers Association and was an influential advocate for fairer banking services to minorities.
The building’s architect, Mel Streeter, was a well respected architect in Seattle and among the most prominent African-American architects in city’s history. His work can be seen at the African American Academy and John Muir Elementary School, among other places.
Members of Seattle’s Africatown attended the meeting to continue to advocate and preserve the cultural and historic fabric of the african american central district community, now known as ‘Africatown”.
Historic preservation, economy success, education, and cultural identity all make a substantial contribution to Seattle’s Africatown community.
The success of the nomination was the right thing to do.
It was the only thing to do.