The Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) is pleased to announce that 13 individuals and organizations have been named as recipients of the State Historic Preservation Officer’s Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Historic Preservation. The awards program, in its 22nd year, recognizes persons, organizations, and projects that have achieved distinction in the field of historic preservation. Each year, the awards are presented to the recipients by Washington State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), Dr. Allyson Brooks, at a ceremony held in Olympia during the annual National Historic Preservation Month celebration in May.
Russell Holter, State Historic Preservation Awards Coordinator, admits the decision on who should win an award was especially difficult for Preservation Officer Dr. Allyson Brooks due to the quality and quantity of the nominations this year. In this 22nd Anniversary of the State Historic Preservation Officer’s Awards, Holter worked to recognize award nominees from all corners of the state.
Leading off the 2012 list of historic preservation award recipients is former Secretary of State Ralph Munro being recognized in the Career Achievement category. A Bainbridge Island native, Secretary Munro has enjoyed a long and illustrious career both in and outside of public office. Wherever his many and varied interests take him, he brings along his unflagging dedication to heritage preservation. Noteworthy tasks that he has undertaken include his work in directing programs and events culminating in Washington’s observance of 100 years of statehood in 1989. For this statewide year-long event, Munro harnessed the energy of people from all ages and walks of life to mark how our past shapes our future. The centennial era saw the emergence of numerous heritage efforts including strengthening of museum outreach programs, preservation incentives, centennial farms, and the re-emergence of Tribal canoe culture. Another noteworthy outcome of his leadership was formation of the Heritage Caucus in the State Legislature, a public forum that has become a national model for discussing preservation policy and programs. Though a leader in shaping preservation policy and advocacy, Munro also practices what he preaches: In partnership with the Squaxin Island Tribe and South Puget Sound Community College he has sponsored an archaeological investigation into a site on his property west of Olympia. Here, for over a decade, Tribal members working together with students and professional archaeologists have retrieved and preserved artifacts that are hundreds of years old.
For outstanding achievement in the rehabilitation of a Washington Heritage Barn, this year’s recipient is Roy and Karin Clinesmith for their work to rehabilitate the Lund Barn at Benge in Adams County. On the verge of collapsing in on itself, the Lund Barn seemed destined for demolition. However, Karin and Roy decided to go to whatever length needed to rescue the barn. With financial assistance from the Washington Heritage Barn Grant program and the aid of a neighbor’s giant crane, the Clinesmiths managed to straighten the broken roofline and reinforce the barn timbers from underneath. Once the structure was secured, they worked with a local contractor to restore the iconic Adams County landmark. In completing their project, the Clinesmiths insisted upon historical accuracy in repairing or reconstructing the barn’s siding, structural members, flooring, doors, and windows.
As in all years, the 2012 award recipients exemplify the spirit, motivation, and determination necessary to preserve our state’s heritage for future generations. Recognized for special achievement this year is a corps of Shelton preservationists who conceived of the Shelton Neon Project with the goal to re-illuminate five vintage neon signs in the downtown area. Local photographer Forrest Cooper and six of his friends initiated the project to focus attention on the importance of protecting downtown Shelton’s historic character plus its value as a place to work, shop, and live. Raising funds locally to finance the sign restoration work, the Shelton Neon Project demonstrates that even a small preservation project can have a major impact on how the community looks and perceives itself. To celebrate project completion, a well attended 2011 holiday season street walk brought Shelton residents downtown to admire the neon glow. Cooper has documented the Shelton Neon Project experience and sign restoration progress on a blog and Facebook page.
A special achievement award will go to the Maritime Documentation Society (MDS) for its work to explore and document the remains of sunken vessels on the floor of Seattle’s Lake Union. Inspired by Dick Wagner at the Center for Wooden Boats and undertaken in coordination with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), core MDS members Dan Warter, Erik Foreman, Chris Borgens have been leading scuba diving teams to survey the lake bottom searching for submerged historic sites. Donating their own time, equipment, and funds to the project, the team has systematically and meticulously mapped and documented over 40 sunken vessels and objects. While recording information about these resources, the MDS divers have taken care to leave the sites undisturbed in order to protect their integrity and educational value about the region’s maritime heritage.
Beginning this year, a new category for State Historic Preservation Officers Awards is for Cemetery Preservation. The first winner in this category is the Catlin Cemetery Restoration Committee of Kelso. Efforts to preserve Kelso’s Catlin Pioneer Cemetery began fifteen years ago. Even then the cemetery was in dire need of preservation. Over the course of the past fifteen years, a stalwart corps of volunteers has not only landscaped the cemetery, but also plotted each grave site, documented the pioneers buried there, replaced wooden markers with permanent ones, and erected a monument engraved with the names of unmarked burials. Working with local scout troops and Huntington Middle School students, the Restoration Committee volunteers worked side by side with young people to preserve the character and beauty of the Catlin ensure that future generations recognize the importance of remembering the past generations who shaped the Lower Columbia River region.
In the category for Outstanding Achievement in Preservation Education, the award will be given to Clatsop Community College for the 2011 Summer Field School at the Brune Homestead near Dallesport, in Klickitat County. Under the tutelage of past SHPO award winner Kevin Palo, the participants in the field school spent a week working with Washington State Parks to restore the Brune Cabin which was on the verge of collapse.
For Outstanding Achievement in the Media category, the 2012 award recipient is Seattle writer and media producer Dominic Black for his series of KUOW radio broadcasts about the Alaska Way Viaduct. Working with KUOW staff Jim Gates and Jason Pagano, Black’s five broadcasts not only reviewed the history of the viaduct, but also sparked thought provoking discussion about how the viaduct shaped modern Seattle and reflected values and priorities of mid-20th century America.
The winners of the Outstanding Achievement in Preservation Planning category need to demonstrate not only that they can produce a solid planning document, but also show that the plan produces results when it is implemented. Two nominees in this category are honored: the City of Roslyn in Kittitas County for one, and the combined planning efforts of Island County, the Town of Coupeville, and the Trust Board of Ebey’s Landing is the other. In Roslyn, Myke Woodwell has led a major effort of produce a historic preservation plan and design guidelines that are meticulous in detail and sensitive in reflecting the architecture and character of this historic mining community. Nearly four years in writing and designing, Woodwell drafted the City of Roslyn’s Standards and Guidelines for Preservation, Rehabilitation, Restoration and Reconstruction of Historic Properties with the goal of maintaining the town’s historic fabric while making it easy for residents to follow and apply its recommendations.
The second award in the planning category recognizes Island County, the Town of Coupeville, and the Trust Board of Ebey’s Landing for their work in implementing an effective management plan for the Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve on Whidbey Island. Since the Reserve’s creation by Congress in 1978, responsibility for land use planning as well as protection for the resource itself, has been shared amongst the three jurisdictions. However, for the many private landowners within the Reserve boundaries, the overlapping jurisdictions proved confusing and inconsistent. The confusion led to an overall fraying of the Reserve’s fragile historic and natural character. This award recognizes these three jurisdictions for being responsive to their constituencies while protecting the qualities of the Reserve that make it the special place that it is.
Award recipients in the Preservation Stewardship category recognize persons and organizations that have made a long and distinguished track record in preserving a historic site. In this category, two awards will be presented: First, to the Museum & Arts Center (MAC) in Sequim for their ongoing efforts to preserve the Dungeness Schoolhouse. The MAC is honored for their multi-year effort to preserve the 1892 schoolhouse located north of Sequim in the historic community of Dungeness. After serving as a schoolhouse for over 60 years, the Dungeness Community Club stepped forward and maintained, repaired, and cared for the school building for 40 years until it was turned over to the MAC in 1995. Under the MAC’s stewardship, the building was completely washed and painted and the historic windows restored. The newly revitalized 120-year-old building remains a source of local pride, serving as a gallery for local artists and community activity space.
The next Stewardship award winner is Whatcom County for years of outstanding work in preserving and maintaining Hovander Homestead Park near Ferndale. Whatcom County Parks acquired the 350 acre parcel in 1970 and has been the careful stewards of the 1897 farm ever since. Hovander Homestead features the Hovander house and barn which has been carefully preserved for the public to enjoy. To aid in the interpretation of the homestead, Whatcom County Parks allows local area farmers to cultivate adjacent fields and board many different farm animals within the park, giving thousands of visitors a true homestead experience.
Another award category recognized by the State Historic Preservation Officer each year is for outstanding achievement in rehabilitation of historic buildings and structures. Named in honor of late Tacoma architect Valerie Sivinski, this year’s two award recipients in this category are located in Eastern Washington. The first winner is Garfield County for their outstanding rehabilitation of the Garfield County Courthouse in Pomeroy. The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation nominated the Garfield County Courthouse after a three year, $2 million dollar rehabilitation of the 110 year old structure. The courthouse exhibits a high degree of historic integrity both inside and out meaning that the work performed on the structure had to meet the same high degree of craftsmanship as those who originally constructed the building in 1901. The delicately framed historic structure had to be stabilized to meet current codes for building occupancy. The clock tower was restored and updated interior finishes and lighting were added that are more in keeping with the time period and style of architecture. This is the first award of its kind in Garfield County.
The second award winning project in the Rehabilitation category is the Spokane and Inland Empire Railroad (SIERR) Building at McKinstry Station in Spokane. This massive railroad shop building had been abandoned for so long that many people thought that it was too dilapidated to restore. The McKinstry Company, an energy retrofitting specialist, specifically targeted the rehabilitation of the historic railroad building as an effective way to showcase their products and services. The McKinstry building rehabilitation deserves recognition for achieving a high standard for sustainability and energy efficiency while maintaining the building’s historic character.
The efforts of these preservationists epitomize the spirit that can still be seen in the work of the late Valerie Sivinski, a Tacoma-area architect of noteworthy skill who became Washington State’s First Capitol Conservator. Sivinski’s lifework is celebrated in the restorations that she performed (not only in Washington State) but as far away as New Mexico, Washington, D.C. and London.
Award recipients will be recognized during a special ceremony held on May 8, 2012 in the Legislative Building on the historic State Capitol Campus. State Historic Preservation Officer, Dr. Allyson Brooks will preside over the awards ceremony. The awards coincide with National Historic Preservation Month, an annual celebration occurring every May.