SHPO Awards - OutstaNding Achievements in Historic Preservation

The Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) is pleased to announce that 12 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 24th 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.   

This year, there are two winners in the Career Achievement category: Archaeologists Cheryl Mack of Trout Lake; and her husband Rick McClure both live in Skamania County.  The two individuals represent a wide variety of experiences and achievements in their personal or professional pursuit of cultural resources protection.  The husband and wife team of US Forest Service Archaeologists who have been influential in the field for many years despite having settled in a remote area of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. 

As in all years, recipients of the 2015 Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Historic Preservation exemplify the spirit, motivation, and determination necessary to preserve the state’s heritage for future generations. This year’s program will be unique with an unprecedented four recipients in the Special Achievement Category.  Two winners will be recognized from Grant County, one from Clallam County and yet another from Pend Oreille. 

Archaeology Team documenting sites during draw downThe Grant County PUD will be honored for its exemplary work in managing the Wanapum Dam during the urgency caused by the dam crack.  Grant County PUD quickly and professionally averted catastrophic failure by controlling water resources, marshaling trained professionals, to fix the dam while balancing the need for irrigation water with the protection of hundreds of previously unexposed archaeological sites that were located in the draw down zone.  The quick thinking and positive attitude of the Grant County PUD managers to find creative solutions resulted in the protection of archaeological sites sacred to Native Americans while ensuring sufficient water was provided to customers for the generation of electricity and irrigation. The Grant County PUD considered both needs while dealing with tremendous pressure to overcome what could have been a national disaster. 

WA State Fish & Wildlife OfficersThe other recipients of a Special Achievement Award in Grant County are the Wardens of the Washington State Department of Wildlife in Quincy.  The WDFW Wardens set up a sting operation to capture and convict a band of looters who were stealing priceless artifacts from Archaeological sites on State lands.  Working under the cover of darkness, the Wardens spent weeks preparing for the sting operation.  The net result has been a dramatic decrease in looting of archaeological sites in Grant County and long-term prison sentences for the convicts. 

Jeff the Mover, headquartered in Sequim, is the type of man who, when presented a challenge, rises to the occasion to meet it head-on.  When Jeff Monroe heard that the 100-year-old Enchanted Valley Chalet in the remote Quinault River valley was threatened by raging flood waters, many feared that this this piece of history was lost forever.  Jeff the Mover single-handedly battled not only the elements but the seemingly ceaseless bureaucratic red tape.  With no time to spare, Jeff the Mover’s trained professionals worked side-by-side with eager volunteers from the Friends of Olympic National Park to drag the historic structure out of harm’s way. 

Kalispell Tribe CRM Progam at workThe fourth of Special Achievement Award winners is the Kalispel Tribe Cultural Resource Program.  The program will be honored for their dedicated committment as advocates for cultural resource protection with a variety of neighboring  City aand County officials in Northeastern Washington. 

Nominees to the Cemetery Preservation Achievement Award category must demonstrate outstanding achievement in the stewardship, or the preservation of a tribal, pioneer, or historic-era cemetery.  The State Historic Preservation Officer will be honoring the Friends of the Lone Pine Cemetery in Whitman County for years of Cemetery Stewardship.  For the past ten years of the Friends of the Lone Pine Cemetery have been fighting back the effects of neglect and malicious vandalism.  The friends group has raised funds for the restoration of the signage, repaired the fencing and has learned techniques for repairing damaged headstones.  They have also documented histories of the loved ones buried at the Lone Pine and made that data available on on-line.  They are one of the first groups to do so for an inactive historic cemetery.

Award recipients in the Preservation Stewardship category are individuals and organizations that are recognized for having made a long and distinguished commitment to preserve cultural and historic resources.  In this category, there are two winners: Housing Hope of Everett and the Knickerbocker Apartments of Spokane. 

One apartment at a time, Eric and Mary Braden are refurbishing the Knickerbocker Apartments from a seedy, run-down, eyesore back to the luxurious and highly desirable rentals in the middle of downtown Spokane.  The apartments have been in Braden’s family for nearly 30 years, but her brother’s failing health prevented him from maintaining the National Register property properly.  When Mary’s husband Eric retired, the two relocated to Spokane and have spent their retirement years--and a large chunk of their nest egg--to bring to Knickerbocker back to its former glory.

Commerce Building, EverettHousing Hope has a 30 year track record of owning and maintaining the National Register listed, Commerce Building in downtown Everett.  Housing Hope purchased the Commerce Building in the mid-1980s and listed the building on the National Register to gain access to investment tax credits which made the restoration of the dilapidated structure economically viable.  Systematically, Housing Hope has restored each floor of the Commerce Building into studio apartments with retail spaces on the ground floor.  Throughout the restoration process, Housing Hope has kept an eye on preserving the historic character of structure so that it may be enjoyed by many for generations to come. 

Rehabilitation work at Hilltop Farm, RidgefieldEach year the State Historic Preservation Officer recognizes achievement in historic preservation by recognizing outstanding rehabilitations of historic buildings and structures. Awards made in this category are named in honor of late Tacoma architect Valerie Sivinski.  The first of three 2015 award recipients in this category is made to the Steinbrenner Family of Ridgefield for the restoration of the Hilltop Barn.  The exact age of the Hilltop barn is unknown but it is estimated to be close to 120 years old and has been Ridgefield landmark for generations.  The massive barn structure was constructed of old growth lumber produced on-site while clearing the land for agriculture.  The barn was used in the dairying industry for about 100 years before it was no longer safe.  It languished for years suffering from decay until the Steinbrenner Family purchased the barn and began the restoration. 

Sharon Thorniley drove past the Old Tenino Bank almost every day for years while wishing that someone would step up and return the magnificent stone structure back to full function.  Four years ago, Sharon took the first steps to making that wish come true—she convinced her husband Steve that they were the ones to do it.  They bought the building which was merely a stone shell and began the process of rehabilitation.  Most people in Tenino thought they were crazy but the two worked diligently to clean up the debris, and rid the block of vermin.  The couple has done their best to employ the best and most talented labor to preserve the historic nature of the structure which was constructed as a showcase of quality of locally sourced Tenino sandstone as a building material.   

The final award in this year’s Rehabilitation category is the stunning transformation of Union Stables, in Seattle’s Pike Place Market.  The Union Stables was constructed in 1909 as place to keep teams of horses needed in the day-to-day activities in downtown Seattle.  As trucks and automobiles replaced horses, there was little to no need for the stables.  In most communities, the stables were simply demolished.  Not so in Seattle.  The Union Stables represents a once common building type rarely seen today, but question still remained; what to do with it?  The Union Stables underwent a complete rehabilitation by Allegra Properties including earthquake retrofitting to meet current City of Seattle standards.  Many of the architectural elements including the whimsical decorative horse head inspired gargoyles were refurbished.  The Union Stables are now highly desirable office and retail space within walking distance of Pike Place Market.

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 19, 2015 (2pm) in the Columbia Room of the Legislative Building in Olympia.  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. 

For information about past award winners click here.  If you would like to more about our award program, please contact Russell Holter at (360)586-3533 or email