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Langley’s iconic Dog House goes to auction on Friday

Langley’s historic Dog House Tavern will be auctioned off as scheduled in Coupeville this week.

The public auction will be 9:30 a.m. Friday, April 23, outside the main door of the Island County Courthouse.

“I’ve had some calls for information, but nobody’s said they’re going to bid on it,” trustee Edwin Woodward of the Seattle law firm Wolfstone, Panchot & Bloch, who will conduct the auction, said Monday.

Woodward said he expects that the mortgage company that holds the note on the tavern will bid if no one else does.

Chesterfield Mortgage Investors of Seattle has the lien on the building. The debt on the lien is $500,000 plus costs, Woodward said.

Steve Sullivan of Chesterfield Mortgage said in January that if no buyer came forward, the mortgage company would bid on the property at auction and then try to sell it.

The Jacobs family, owners of the 102-year-old First Street icon, were unable to find a buyer for the tavern by the April 12 deadline. The tavern has been closed for almost a year as mortgage payments fell into arrears.

Originally called the Olympic Club when it was built in 1908, the three-story building had a gymnasium on the lower floor, with a stage and auditorium on the top floor. It also housed a general store before becoming the Dog House Tavern at the end of Prohibition.

It’s the only building in Langley on the National Register of Historic Places.

Hundreds of area residents are trying to find a way to preserve the building.

Kim Norton of Clinton and others are attempting to form a nonprofit to raise funds to buy the Dog House if the mortgage company acquires it.

She said the group is about to begin the paperwork to form the nonprofit, and that the mortgage company has been kept in the loop.

“They know what we’re trying to do,” she said.

Norton has also been keeping her ears open.

“There’s a rumor that a least two different parties plan to bid,” Norton said Monday. “We’re going to show up and find out.”

If someone else buys the Dog House at auction, the community group hopes to work with the new owners to protect the integrity of the distinctive red building with white trim, Norton said.

“We’re hoping they’d be willing to partner with us,” she said. “That would be great is someone else buys it, so long as they don’t develop it.”

Norton said that since an organizational meeting in January, more than 1,500 people have joined a Facebook page dedicated to preserving the Dog House.

Organizers suggested in January that if 200 people put up $5,000 each, $1 million could be raised for the project.

“I feel confident we can get there,” Norton said. “If not to actually acquire it, then to work with whoever does acquire it.”

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