The Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) is pleased to announce that 11 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 three winners in the Career Achievement category: Archaeologist Lynn Larson of Gig Harbor; Johnson Meninick of the Yakama Tribe; and former Director of the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, Jennifer Meisner of Seattle. The three individuals represent a wide variety of experiences and achievements in their personal or professional pursuit of cultural resources protection.
Lynn Larson is an influential archaeologist who paved a path of success for women looking to establish themselves as both environmental scientists and as business leaders in the Puget Sound area. She advanced the knowledge of Pacific Northwest prehistory through seminal projects such West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle and the Port Angeles Graving Dock. Lynn’s professionalism and dedication to the state's irreplaceable cultural resources have been an inspiration and a model for Cultural Resource Managers throughout Washington State.
Johnson Meninick, is a respected elder of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation where he has served in the capacity as the Cultural Resource Program Manager for many years. Meninick’s counsel is often sought out by developers, planners, politicians, and the like, for his knowledge on sites that are significant to Yakama culture and tradition. Meninick was also featured in an award winning Public Service Announcement regarding the sanctity of Sacred Places in Washington State.
Jennifer Meisner recently stepped down as the Executive Director of the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation having served as an advocate for historic preservation issues throughout Washington State for the past eight years. In that capacity she expanded the programs and outreach that raised the visibility of the organization across the State. Meisner, a former City of Seattle employee with the Department of Neighborhoods, wishes to spend more time with her family while still professionally engaging in the field of historic preservation.
As in all years, recipients of the 2014 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 the City of Ellensburg which ventured to acquire a key endangered building in historic downtown Ellensburg. The acquisition was a bold step in a time of tight budgets. However, the acquisition of the Geddis Building places an endangered structure in the hands of the city that will ensure the building is preserved and adaptively reused as a cornerstone of for local downtown development.
In the preservation planning category, a nominee should demonstrate the ability to successfully implement a plan for protection of historic properties. The winner of this year’s award is the City of Tacoma for their “Preventing Neglect of Historic Properties” amendment to the Tacoma Municipal Code. The amended code recognizes the value of the city’s iconic historic and cultural assets and states that the maintenance of these assets is in the best interest of the city.
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 awarding two groups in this category. The first will go to the Chehalis Tribe for an effort which began in the 1980s to bring Chehalis youth together with tribal elders to maintain their four tribal cemeteries. The tribal elders use the time not only to improve the sacred grounds, but the activities serve as a teaching tool for the youth to learn about their heritage, folklore, and ancestry.
The second nominee in the category is the Roslyn Cemetery Commission. For years, the Roslyn Cemetery Commission has been working diligently to preserve one of the most unique cemeteries in Washington State. Aside from the daily work of maintaining and protecting the character of the cemeteries is the desire to document and interpret the cemeteries for future generations.
In the category for Outstanding Achievement in Preservation Media, the award is given to a nominee who uses mass communications technology to inform the public about historic preservation. This year’s award will be given to the Skagit County Historical Society for the Skagit Heritage Barn Tour and Interpretation program. The Skagit Valley Historical Society applied for funding from Skagit County hotel-motel tax receipts to prepare color brochures illustrating all the local barns listed in the heritage barn register. In addition to the brochure the society also developed a web-based driving tour to teach residents and visitors about the regions rich agricultural heritage. On the tour, information about each barn can be uploaded to a mobile devise with detailed information about the barns and the families who settled in valley.
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, one nomination truly stood out. The award goes to Sound Experience Aboard the Schooner Adventuress for the long term care, interpretation, and promotion of the 100-year old Schooner Adventuress, designated as a National Historic Landmark. Two years ago the Adventuress underwent a dramatic overhaul which was completed in time to set sail for a celebratory Centennial sailing last summer. The mission of the Sound Experience organization is to “educate, inspire, and empower an inclusive community to make a difference for the future of our marine environment.”
Each 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 2014 award recipient in this category is made to Seattle City Light for their outstanding rehabilitation of the Ross Lodge in the company town of Diablo, in eastern Whatcom County. Before starting work on the historic Ross Lodge, Seattle City Light made sure that rehabilitation of the lodge would not damage sensitive archaeological resources in the project vicinity. The 75-year old dormitory has been handsomely repurposed as an executive conference center after having been abandoned for over twenty years.
The final award in this year’s Rehabilitation category is the stunning transformation of King Street Station, in Seattle’s Pioneer Square Historic district. The $54 million dollar transformation returned the 1906 train station back to its original glory while earning LEED Platinum certification for energy efficiency. King Street Station is one of the last train stations in the nationwide Amtrak system to undergo rehabilitation. The work is notable for incorporating seismic protection while restoring historic architectural features. The terra cotta interiors were cleaned and restored; chandeliers and other historic period lighting fixtures have helped to return the space as a significant palace for citizen of Seattle and its visitors.
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 13, 2014 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.