Grant Funds available to restore historic barns, cemeteries, and theaters

Photos (clockwise from top left): roof work in progress on the Vekved Barn in Whatcom County; restored tombstone at the Kiwanis South Bend Cemetery in Pacific County; Columbia Theater in Cowlitz County. Courtesy of Washington Trust

SEATTLE - Thanks to funding from the Washington State Legislature, grants are available to support the rehabilitation and restoration of historic barns, cemeteries, and theaters across the state.

The legislature’s approval of the 2023-2025 state budget earlier this year included reauthorization of four state capital grant programs operated by the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP): the Heritage Barn Grant Program, Historic County Courthouse Grant Program, Historic Cemetery Grant Program, and Historic Theater Grant Program. These grant programs are intended to help to preserve, rehabilitate, and restore some of the state’s most historically and culturally significant resources. As in years past, the grant programs are administered by the nonprofit Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, under contract to DAHP. Of the four grant programs, the grant recipients for the Historic County Courthouse Grant Program are pre-determined as part of the legislative request; the remaining three programs are accepting grant applications through October 31.

Established in 2007 and now in its ninth round, the Heritage Barn Grant Program is specifically designed to assist in the preservation of Washington’s iconic historic barns, which stand as symbols of the state’s agricultural heritage. Barns must be listed on the Heritage Barn Register, a statewide list maintained by DAHP, in order to apply for funding through the Heritage Barn Grant Program. Nearly $1,000,000 in grant funds will be distributed among successful applicants to aid in the rehabilitation and safeguarding of these unique structures, ensuring their continued cultural significance for generations to come.

Established in 2016 and in its fourth round of funding, the Historic Cemetery Grant Program offers financial assistance to preserve and restore significant burial grounds throughout Washington. These cemeteries often hold valuable historical information and serve as the final resting places of pioneers, veterans, and community leaders, making their conservation crucial to the state’s historical narrative. Official historic designation is not required to apply: any cemetery within the state of Washington that contains five or more burials, with at least one burial more than 50 years old, is eligible for this grant program. Nearly $500,000 in funding is available for distribution as grants.

Lastly, the Historic Theater Grant Program, established in 2021, seeks to support the conservation of historic theaters that have played a pivotal role in shaping the arts and cultural landscape of Washington, particularly given theaters’ financial difficulties and deferred maintenance during the pandemic. Grants will be awarded to successful applicants to aid in the maintenance, repair, and revitalization of these cherished community gathering spaces, with a record $500,000 to be distributed.

Applicants are encouraged to review the eligibility criteria, program guidelines, and application workshop recordings available on the Washington Trust’s website at All applications must be submitted through the online portal before the deadline of October 31, 2023.

About the Washington Trust: The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation is a statewide, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1976, dedicated to saving places that matter in Washington State and promoting sustainable and economically viable communities through historic preservation. For more information, visit or call 206-624-9449.

Jill FitzSimmons, Chelan County public information officer. Office: 509-667-6545


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