Outstanding Achievements in Historic Preservation to be Honored

The Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) is pleased to announce that 10 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 23rd 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 during the annual National Historic Preservation Month celebration in May.

According to Russell Holter, State Historic Preservation Awards Coordinator, the decision as to who or which project should receive an award is difficult for Dr. Brooks. This is due to the number of nominations submitted from across the state and the high quality of achievements in historic preservation.  Each year, the award nominations (made in one of eight categories) are thoroughly reviewed by Dr. Brooks and DAHP staff.

In the Career Achievement category, both award recipients reside in Olympia: Carl Lind and Pete Heide.  In addition to his long and distinguished military career, Retired Army Colonel Carl Lind is recognized for his many years of leadership in the Puget Sound region’s heritage community. Most notable was his work at Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) beginning in 1984 as Deputy Director then moving to Executive Director until 1991.  Serving as Ex Officio Trustee and Director Emeritus, Lind remains thoroughly engaged in MOHAI’s operations including the recent move to its spectacular new facility on Lake Union. His other involvement in preservation organizations include the former Kewaydin Club (now VFW Post 5760 on Mercer Island), the Hydroplane and Race Boat Museum, the U.S. Coast Guard Museum, and Olympia’s Bigelow House Museum.  He is also active with the Washington State Heritage Caucus and recently retired from the Governor’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

Pete Heide, recently retired from the Washington Forest Protection Association (WFPA), is recognized for his long and successful role in shaping timber management policy and practice in the Northwest, including protection for cultural resources. With an education in forest management, he worked for many years in the timber industry before leaping into the policy arena during the 1990s. During this period of major debate over timber harvesting and environmental concerns, Heide worked behind the scenes to bring all parties to the table to resolve competing interests. He has long served as Co-Chair to the State Timber, Fish, and Wildlife Cultural Resources Roundtable having attained success in working through tough land management issues involving timber companies, tribes, and wildlife habitat. Pete early-on recognized the value of working pro-actively to address cultural resource concerns in order to bring long-term benefits to the industry and the environment.

As in all years, recipients of the 2013 Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Historic Preservation   exemplify the spirit, motivation, and determination necessary to preserve the state’s heritage for future generations. Recognized for special achievement this year is a corps of Spokane preservationists who donated countless hours in the planning and preparation of the 2012 National Historic Preservation Conference in Spokane.  This dedicated group of volunteers envisioned a conference that would be world class. The result of years of planning were five days packed with meetings, tours, ceremonies, exhibits, and much more.  The annual conference, sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, attracted thousands from across the nation to Spokane to learn about its rich architecture, vibrant Native American heritage, and stunning restoration projects. The work by Spokane preservationists, local agencies and tribes paid off by not only showcasing how preservation boosts the economy but also affirmed Spokane’s emergence as a recognized host of major national events. The steering committee in Spokane consisted of four official co-chairs,  Paul Mann (as Washington Trust and National Trust representative), Joanne Moyer (as National Trust and Advisory Council representative), Dave Shockley (as Spokane Preservation Advocates representative) and Kristen Griffin (as Local Government representative), as well as Betsy Godlewski (conference fundraising committee) and Gary Lauerman (Spokane Preservation Advocates).

A second award in the Special Achievement category goes to Metro Parks Tacoma for the meticulous restoration of the Point Defiance Park Pagoda. The significance of this achievement is heightened by the fact that the Pagoda’s restoration comes two years after it narrowly averted total destruction at the hands of an arsonist in 2011. After the fire, Metro Parks Tacoma sprang into action to repair the damage.  The agency also decided to take the opportunity to return original architectural details to the Pagoda that had been lost or removed over the years. Other preservation tasks included restoration  of  landscape features in front of the rebuilt Pagoda that hearken to years when visitors traveled by streetcar to reach Point Defiance Park. This award recognizes the vision and commitment of Metro Parks Tacoma to historic preservation by turning what could have been a tragic loss into a victory for the state’s heritage and future generations of park visitors. This award also honors the Tacoma firefighters whose rapid response and sensitivity to the building’s historic character clearly averted disaster.

In the category for Outstanding Achievement in Preservation Education, the award will be given to the Admiralty Head Lighthouse Lantern Replica Team on Whidbey Island. The Team was comprised of advanced metal working students at Oak Harbor, Coupeville and South Whidbey High Schools, Island County’s WSU Extension Office, and a handful of local businesses spearheaded by Archie Nichols of Nichols Brothers Boatyard in Freeland. The team coalesced as a volunteer effort to reconstruct the Lantern (the metal structure at the top of the tower housing the lens) at the Admiralty Head Lighthouse at Fort Casey State Park with the goal of restoring this landmark while providing an unmatched training experience for the students. Working under the auspices of Washington State Parks staff, the project team re-created the lantern following the original architectural blueprints. In addition to the high school metal working students and their instructors, other persons key to the success of the project included Archie Nicholls of Nicholls Brothers Boat Builders and Seaport Steel, contributor of tools, materials, and services to the project. Other funding came from the Washington License Plate Grant program provided through the non-profit Lighthouse Environmental Programs in Coupeville.  Island Crane Services of Freeland provided the crane that lifted the completed lantern into place atop the Lighthouse. Over a two year period, this restoration project brought together community spirited businesses and agencies to restore a significant publicly owned historic building. More important, this effort introduced critical preservation skills and techniques to new generation of crafts-persons.

In the award category for Outstanding Achievement in the Media, the 2013 award recipient is the Fort Vancouver Mobile App Project spearheaded by Washington State University-Vancouver Assistant Professor Brett Oppegaard.  Oppegaard worked with Fort Vancouver National Historic Site Historian and Chief Ranger Greg Shine to develop the mobile app to bring to life the experience of Hudson’s Bay Company employees living and working at the early 19th Century fort. The new app uses re-enactors plus audio and video images to interpret life at the Kanaka Village, the culturally diverse settlement of Company workers that is being faithfully re-created just west of the Fort’s stockade walls.  Work by Oppegaard and a team of volunteers at WSU-V to develop the mobile app has recently been recognized as model for interpreting historic places at other National Park Service sites.  As a result, Oppegaard has also been honored by the National Park Service Herzog Award as 2012 Volunteer of the Year.

Award recipients in the Preservation Stewardship category recognize persons and organizations that have made a long and distinguished commitment to preserve a historic place.  In this category, two awards will be presented in 2013. The first award goes to the Friends of the Cedar Creek Grist Mill in Woodland for their ongoing work to preserve and interpret the oldest operating grist mill in Washington.  The Friends are honored for their work and dedication to preserve the 140 year old mill and share its fascinating history with the public. The stewardship award recognizes the volunteer Friends who dedicate countless hours to operate the photogenic mill as a living museum for families as well as maintaining it as the perfect venue for interpreting this ancient technology.

The second award recipient in the Stewardship category is the Whitman County Historical Society for forty years of outstanding work in preserving, maintaining, and operating historic sites for education and interpretation. The Whitman County Historical Society is a small local group with big ambitions and significant preservation achievements.  They are responsible for preservation of the Perkins House in Colfax, the Gladish Community Center in Pullman, and recent restoration of the Holy Trinity Chapel in Palouse.  The Whitman County Historical Society operates two museums, an archive, maintains a website, and publishes the Bunchgrass Historian periodical.  The Whitman County Historical Society recently passed a significant milestone—40 years of work to protect Whitman County heritage.

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, the first award recipient in this category is made to the City of Tacoma for their outstanding rehabilitation of the Murray Morgan Bridge.  Historically known as the 11th Street Bridge but closely associated with Tacoma’s colorful author and historian Murray Morgan, the National Register of Historic Places listed bridge has long been a downtown landmark and symbol of the city’s maritime heritage. However, after years of delayed maintenance and repairs, the Washington State Department of Transportation announced plans to demolish the 100-year old structure. That’s when a group of dedicated local leaders sought to gain control of the bridge and find a preservation alternative. A coalition of local preservationists, elected officials, and civic boosters overcame a myriad of obstacles to obtain the bridge from the State along with partial funding for rehabilitation.  With funding in-hand and widespread public support, the City of Tacoma spent three years retrofitting the bridge to meet current safety standards; create bicycle and pedestrian access; and restore the center bridge span lift mechanism.  Reopened to traffic in February, the Murray Morgan has regained its place as a local icon that bridges not only the Thea Foss Waterway but also the city’s aspiration to preserve its past as a part of its future.

The second award in the Rehabilitation category is the Museum of History and Industry, or MOHAI, of Seattle for its stunning revival of the former U.S. Naval Reserve Armory at South Lake Union. This project occurred as a result of plans to re-route the new SR 520 bridge alignment through MOHAI’s old facility near the Montlake Bridge. Although plans were already in place to move downtown, when the 1930s-era armory was offered, MOHAI’s leadership recognized the potential of the Lake Union site.  Pushing the project planners to set new standards for innovation, the now critically and publicly acclaimed new museum accommodates cutting edge exhibits and interpretation within a dramatically rehabilitated city landmark.

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 14, 2013 in the Artillery Barracks, Building 600, at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Reserve as an unofficial kick-off to the Revitalize WA Conference in Vancouver.  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.

More information about the award recipients is available at www.dahp.wa.gov, or by contacting Russell Holter at 360.586.3533 or russell.holter@dahp.wa.gov.

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