The Association of King County Historical Organizations – AKCHO – is a leading proponent of King County’s history and heritage activities.  We provide a meeting place of ideas and a forum for the issues that confront museums and heritage organizations. We appreciate your interest and welcome your participation!


The newsletter of the Association of King County Historical Organizations

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Iconic Wilburton Trestle to become part of trail system
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Categories: News

wilburton_elevated_view-1King County has assembled significant funds needed to transform the historic Wilburton Trestle in Bellevue into a stunning elevated trail that can be enjoyed by commuters, cyclists, runners and pedestrians.

The century-old trestle – the largest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest – is expected to be one of the most popular segments of the emerging Eastside Rail Corridor, a 16-mile uninterrupted trail that will stretch from Renton to Woodinville, through Bellevue with a spur to Redmond. (more…)


Renton hosts 2016 Spellman Awards
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Categories: News

cortona-buildingThe 1954 F.W. Woolworth Company Store in downtown Renton, recently rehabilitated and renamed the Cortona Building, was the site of the 16th Annual John D. Spellman Awards on October 13. Celebrating ahievement in historic preservation throughout King County, this year the Awards singled out the Cortona Building, an example of the International architectural style with sleek lines and rectilinear forms, for recognition. Owners Monica and Dave Brethauer were lauded for their work in restoring the facade, listing the building on the National Register of Historic Places, and rehabilitating the space once occupied by a national retailer into spaces for local retailers.

In the same vein, the 2016 Spellman Award for Downtown Revitalization went to the Storefront Studio program fostered by the University of Washington’s Department of Architecture. Storefront Studio comes to local communities to offer students a teaching laboratory for community-based architecture, urban design and preservation, while also allowing significant input from local business owners and residents to help influence the design proposals. One of the outcomes of the program is bringing visible economic vitality back to the historic Main Streets of existing communities. (more…)


Northwest Railway Museum completes final phase of campus
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Categories: News
Northwest Railway Museum staff Peggy Barchi, Jessie Cunningham, and Richard Anderson celebrate Education Center opening

Northwest Railway Museum staff Peggy Barchi, Jessie Cunningham, and Richard Anderson celebrate in style at the Railway Education Center dedication

The Northwest Railway Museum’s Railway Education Center, the third and final phase of the ambitious $8 million Railway History Center campus in Snoqualmie, was dedicated on October 8. While some work remains to be completed, the Railway Education Center is enclosed, the heat is on, and the restrooms work! 

“This latest facility allows the Museum to operate exhibits independent of train operation, and allows extended visits with train operation,” Museum Executive Director Richard Anderson noted. “With this new facility, the Museum will be able to expand the size of audience and significantly increase the length of visit. These factors are important not only to the success of the Museum, but increase its economic impact in the community.” (more…)


Hop King: Ezra Meeker’s Boom Years

hop-kingby Dennis M. Larsen
Washington State University Press – 368 pp – $26.95

Two of Ezra Meeker’s defining traits were his ability to recognize business opportunities and his willingness to take risks. In 1852, the Washington Territory pioneer traveled west over the Oregon Trail. In the mid-1860s, he planted his first hops, and despite wild price fluctuations, attained modest success. Then he met beer brewer Henry Weinhard and began selling to him directly.  When hops crops failed elsewhere, Pacific Coast growers were offered astronomical prices and Ezra became the “hop king.”

He also managed a large family and became involved  in philanthropy and development schemes. But the 1893 depression, along with lack of diversification, some bad investments, an aphid plague and a finanical betrayal, brought Meeker’s boom years to a close. 


AKCHO members see historic preservation challenges, opportunities up close in Kenmore
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Categories: News

Saint Edward Seminary exterior

Saint Edward Seminary exterior

“We do stupid projects,” Kevin Daniels said at the beginning of the tour he and his colleagues were about to give to the crowd of 40+ that had gathered for the September 27 AKCHO membership meeting at Saint Edward Seminary in Kenmore. He was joking, but once the tour of the venerable old building was over, it was clear that developers like Daniels, who engage in historic preservation and repurposing work, are willing to tackle challenges that are not for the faint of heart.

Rain drains embedded in interior walls, seismically unfit clay tile walls, ADA non-compliant elevators, stairwells that aren’t up to current fire codes, peeling paint, and some neighbors who would rather see the seminary demolished than restored  — dealing with these is all in a day’s work for Daniels, who hopes to repurpose the seminary building to serve as a lodge for Saint Edward State Park, the grounds on which the building sits. (more…)



Heritage Advisor is published by the Association of King County Historical Organizations as a service to members and those who support its mission. We update our website continually throughout the month, and on the first of every month we e-mail a condensed version of Heritage Advisor to our mailing list – you can subscribe to this service by filling out the requested information in the right sidebar on this page.

AKCHO was established in 1977 to encourage cooperation among historical organizations; promote and encourage the study and preservation of the history and heritage of King County through member organizations, individual members, and the community they serve; and support such preservation efforts through public awareness and understanding of legislative issues.

The Heritage Advisor welcomes submissions of news items, calendar items, and opinion columns from AKCHO members, HA subscribers, and readers. Articles are limited to 300 words and they should have a strong relevance to historic preservation and heritage issues in King County, Washington. Submission of an article does not guarantee publication. AKCHO does not pay for published submissions. All articles are subject to review by AKCHO staff. Please send your article within the body of an email (no attachments, please) to

AKCHO welcomes new members year round. Individual memberships are $15. Organization memberships are $35. Join more than 150 individuals and organizations supporting heritage work and historic preservation in King County. For more information and an application form, visit




Event Calendar

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The 2016 AKCHO Awards Program takes place on June 7 at the Northwest African American Museum. It is free and open to the general public, but please RSVP by May 28. For more information, click on this link: Awards-Invitation 2016-FINAL


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AKCHO was established to encourage cooperation among historical organizations and to promote and encourage the study and preservation of the history and heritage of King County through member organizations, individual members, and the community they serve, and to support such preservation efforts through public awareness and understanding of legislative issues.

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Representatives from the Neely Mansion Association, flanked by King County Historic Preservation Officer Jennifer Meisner and King County Executive Dow Constantine, accept the 2016 Spellman Award for exemplary achievement in the restoration of the Hori Furoba (bath house). ... See MoreSee Less

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2016 AKCHO Featured Member: Ballard Historical Society
"Volunteers committed to the research, preservation and public awareness of Ballard history"
Online Resource

We are the Ballard Historical Society, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to preserving and celebrating Ballard’s history.
We are 100% volunteer run.

Ballard was a separate city until 1907, when it was annexed to Seattle. Ballard had its own city government, complete with City Hall and Mayor. Our photographic Archives (, with over 700 images, documents this interesting history.

Our members are interested in historic research and the architectural preservation of Ballard homes and landmarks. Our very popular Old House Tour ( showcases the varied styles evident in Ballard residential architecture.

Our detailed Historic Ballard Walking Tour ( takes readers back in time as they learn about the rich history of downtown Ballard.

With other Ballard organizations, we produced two publications: "Passport to Ballard", a pictorial history in honor of Ballard’s Centennial and "Voices of Ballard", a compilation of oral histories from long-time Ballard residents.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 17775, Seattle, Washington, 98127


To Become A Member of AKCHO Contact:
John Nordstrand at
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We think that inviting collaborations between history museums and artists is a brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park - we'd love to hear if any other AKCHO members are actively working with the artists in their communities - let us know! ... See MoreSee Less

Inspiration is all around! Our very own Ranger Michele penned this pretty picture of a particularly beautiful bird found here in the city. #FindYourPark #NPWest #UrbanWildlife

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Contact AKCHO

Association of King County
Historical Organizations
P.O. Box 3257
Seattle, WA 98114

Copyright © 2016 AKCHO and its licensors. All rights reserved. No images or graphics on this site may be used without written permission from their respective owners.

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