Travel Blog

Help Restore Kent’s Historic Morrill Bank Building

Kent’s historic Morrill Bank Building is one of just 20 Main Street project sites across the U.S. in the running for preservation funding. Place your votes between Sept. 24 and Oct. 26 at voteyourmainstreet.org/kent to help restore the building to its 1924 glory.

You’ve likely passed it dozens of times. On the surface, the two-story building on the corner of 1st Avenue S. and Gowe Street in Kent’s historic downtown is unassuming. But in its heyday, the building featured dramatic arched windows and unique clinker bricks. Both distinctive features remain intact beneath the stucco façade and stubborn overlay of marblecrete, but extensive work needs to be done to restore the building to its 1924 charm and historic significance. A recent development could help move that effort closer to reality—with your help.

Focus on Main Street

Partners in Preservation: Main Streets, in partnership with American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP), is a community-based campaign focused on diverse Main Street districts across the U.S. Based on a persuasive application submitted by the Kent Downtown Partnership that touts the positive local impact of a renewed Morrill Bank Building, Kent was selected as one of just 20 districts for the campaign, which runs Sept. 24 through Oct. 26. The winning historic sites will be determined by popular vote and receive a total of $2 million in grants to fund their projects. Kent’s asking for $150,000 of the pie.

That’s where you come in.

Place five votes daily

It’s easy to show your support and your hometown pride. Now through Oct. 26, you get five votes a day that you can apply to Kent. Just register with a name and password and start clicking. Vote today at voteyourmainstreet.org/kent to help a historic gem shine once more. You can also sign up for text reminders to vote. Text “MAINSTREET” to 52886. Message and data rates may apply. You can reply STOP to opt out and HELP for help. Winners will be announced Oct. 29.

Where past meets present

Preserving this important piece of Kent’s history is a nod to the city’s rich past and a commitment to its historic and diverse downtown today and into the future.

The Morrill Bank Building was built in 1906 by Merton M. Morrill, one of Kent’s early forefathers and one-time mayor and who used earnings from his trips to the Klondike during the Alaska Gold Rush to build the impressive colonial-style structure.

Today, the Morrill Bank Building reflects Kent’s vibrant and diverse character. It’s owned by Kent’s Multi-Service Center, the second-floor tenant, which provides services to combat homelessness and poverty. It also provides the entry to the Ubuntu Street Café, one of Kent’s most celebrated success stories. Operated by the nonprofit Project Feast, Ubuntu provides hands-on training programs that help resettled refugees and immigrants prepare to work in the restaurant industry, connect within the community and share their love of food. Project Feast’s Ubuntu Street Café is the training kitchen, serving some of the most delicious global fare in the region to more than 5,000 diners each year. More than 175 refugees and immigrants have participated in Project Feast programs since its inception in 2013.

When the dust settles on the hoped-for renovation, Project Feast plans to continue serving grateful clients and happy diners from its current location.

Let the voting begin!