Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Nominations solicited for Governor’s Arts & Heritage Awards
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Washington State Arts Commission
Nomination deadline: 7/9/2018

The Governor’s Arts Awards were established in 1966 to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations for their significant contributions to the arts and cultural development of Washington State.

The Governor’s Heritage Awards were established in 1989 to honor outstanding individuals and organizations whose dedication to preserving and promoting traditions and cultural heritage are worthy of state recognition.

The Governor’s Arts and Heritage Awards, administered on behalf of the Governor by ArtsWA, are among the most prestigious honors that the Governor confers. Since inception of the program, 153 individuals and organizations have received Arts Awards, and 53 individuals and organizations have been honored with a Heritage Award.

To be eligible for either Arts or Heritage Awards, individuals or organizations must be current Washington residents or have resided in the state during the time the contributions were made, and not be a previous recipient of a Governor’s Arts Award or Heritage Award.

Check out nomination categories and guidelines here.


Two King County sites on WA Trust’s 2018 Most Endangered list
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The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation has announced its 2018 list of Most Endangered Places. The nonprofit organization unveiled its list at its annual Vintage Washington fundraiser, which was held at the historic Georgetown Steam Plant. 

Two of the five sites on this year’s Most Endangered Places list are located in King County: Camp Kilworth in Federal Way and the East Seattle School on Mercer Island.

Camp Kilworth – photo courtesy of Washington Trust for Historic Preservation

In 1934, William Kilworth purchased 25 acres in the South Sound and immediately deeded the property to the Tacoma Area Council of Boy Scouts. World War I veterans, who were members of the Tacoma Rotary Club, built the centerpiece of the camp in 1935: the Rustic-style Rotary Lodge. Over the decades, several other supporting structures were built, including an outdoor amphitheater that looks out over a dramatic view of south Puget Sound. Today, the property and its shoreline are one of only two places in rapidly growing Federal Way regarded as a highly sensitive environmental area; the high bank coastal forest on the site also serves as a wildlife corridor.

The Boy Scouts owned and operated the camp for over 80 years, but due to declining membership, their operations at Camp Kilworth ceased in 2016. In accordance with a stipulation in William Kilworth’s original 1934 deed, ownership of the property reverts to the Kilworth Family Foundations if the property is not used for scouting. The buildings sit vacant, unheated, and unmaintained, raising fears of demolition by neglect. Local advocates also feel it is important for the property remain as open space dedicated to education, as William Kilworth originally intended. The property has provided formative experiences for many over the years and has the potential to continue as a meaningful and historic educational environment for the community if the right stewardship arrangement can be found.

East Seattle School – photo courtesy of Washington Trust for Historic Preservation

Built in 1914, East Seattle School is the oldest public building left on Mercer Island. The school’s Mission-style architectural details remain intact, including a terra cotta roof, a curvilinear parapet, and decorative brackets. Once located at the town center, the school was the heart of the Island’s community life for nearly 70 years. Construction of the I-90 floating bridge, however, brought a population boom to the Island in the 1950s, and the commercial center of Mercer Island gradually shifted to its current location.

East Seattle School was declared a surplus building in 1982 but continued its role as a community gathering space for nearly 30 more years as the home to the Mercer Island Boys & Girls Club and various childcare centers. In 2007, private interests acquired the 3-acre property. While many objected to the transaction, others supported it because proceeds from the sale were used to construct a new Boys & Girls Club. As part of the deal, the new owner agreed to make no changes to the property for ten years. Now that those ten years have passed, the owner has applied for a demolition permit, and will likely build single family housing on the site. Community members hoping to see the school preserved are working to find a solution that will satisfy the owner’s investment goals while keeping the legacy of East Seattle School alive through adaptive reuse.

The other endangered historic properties on this year’s list include the 1914 Steilacoom Train Depot, designed by noted local architect, Arthur Potter Merrill; Arlington High School, an intact example of Art Deco architecture that includes two Richard Correll murals funded by the Works Progress Administration in 1940; and the Bruggemann Ranch cook house, which reflects pre-Manhattan Project history on what became the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in eastern Washington. 

Since 1992, Washington Trust for Historic Preservation has used its Most Endangered Properties list to bring attention to over 160 threatened sites nominated by concerned citizens and organizations across the state. The Washington Trust assists advocates for these resources in developing strategies aimed at removing these threats, taking advantage of opportunities where they exist, and finding positive preservation solutions for listed places.

Please contact Jennifer Mortensen at 206-462-2999 or via e-mail at for more information.


Labor Archives of WA seeks your participation in labor history survey
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The Labor Archives of Washington at the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections invites all cultural heritage institutions in the Pacific Northwest with records related to labor history and interrelated civil rights and social justice organizations/activism to participate in the Pacific Northwest Labor History Regional Records Survey. Here is the link:

This information will give the LAW a broader knowledge about where records documenting labor history in the region currently reside, enabling the Archives to compile a regional directory of labor historical records as well as integrate this information into the Society of American Archivists, Labor Archives Section’s Labor Archives of the United States and Canada: A Directory.

This survey is being administered in conjunction with a survey distributed to labor organizations in the state of Washington to gather information on the state of labor historical records within union organizational offices.

If you’d rather complete the survey over the phone or by paper, just contact Assistant Labor Archivist, Crystal Rodgers at or 206-685-6903. Deadline to complete the survey is July 31, 2018. Please forward the survey to colleagues who you know have collections relevant to this survey. 


Kelly gets retirement send-off – an AKCHO Board Award
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With AKCHO President Alice Stenstrom looking on, Jim Kelly reacts to a standing ovation from the audience at the AKCHO Awards – photo credit Tyler Ray

by Pat Filer – AKCHO Awards Selection Committee Chair

The AKCHO Board wanted Jim Kelly, one of King County’s most beloved and respected cultural leaders in King County’s thriving cultural community, to know how much the heritage community has appreciated his tireless efforts, by bestowing upon him their highest honor, an AKCHO Board Award. Kelly retired as 4Culture’s Executive Director as of March 31, 2018 after 25 years of advocacy for public investment in arts and culture.  Under Kelly’s leadership, 4Culture has become the largest cultural funder in Washington State. During his tenure, over $130 million has been distributed into the sector to 2,800 individuals and groups.

Kelly was hired in 1993 to provide funding and technical assistance to the King County Arts Commission and the Landmarks and Heritage Commission, then a small division of the Parks Department. Forging partnerships with elected officials, Kelly advocated successfully for increased cultural investment throughout the region and managed the County’s first wave of investment in cultural facilities. The Office of Cultural Resources was elevated to a department of the Executive’s Office in 1997 and Kelly was appointed Executive Director in 1999.

During the 2001 Dotcom crash, Kelly was asked to restructure and downsize. Instead, he seized the opportunity to propose a plan to transition the department to an independent public agency—known as a public development authority, or PDA—with an independent board, budget, and self-governance. Once approved, Kelly led the transition with grace and earned the confidence of the cultural community. The agency was moved to the newly renovated Tashiro Kaplan Building in Pioneer Square and was rebranded as 4Culture to represent the four program areas it supports: arts, heritage, preservation, and public art.

In 2007, realizing that 4Culture’s revenues would be insufficient to keep pace with the needs of a growing region, Kelly organized what would become a 7-year effort at the state legislature to extend the lodging tax to support arts and culture in King County.  With Kelly at the helm, King County was able to renew its commitment to support a thriving cultural community.

Recently, Kelly worked with Executive Dow Constantine and the King County Council to leverage funds to create Building for Culture, a $28 million initiative that funded the development of cultural facilities county-wide, including KEXP and the Federal Way Performing Arts Center.

As King County’s population continues to grow and diversify, Kelly has pushed for equity and access to funding for communities that have been underrepresented during 4Culture’s history. Kelly is passionate about making it possible for everyone in King County to experience and participate in our rich cultural heritage.

According to Joe McDermott, King County Council Chair, “Under Jim Kelly’s leadership, 4Culture has become a trusted and respected resource, supporting the vibrant arts and cultural community that is a hallmark of King County.”


Susan Connole, Mikala Woodward and Eleanor Boba – Board Awards
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Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles presented Eleanor Boba, Mikala Woodward, and Susan Connole with Board Awards – and they are joined here by AKCHO President Alice Stenstrom – photo credit Tyler Ray

by Pat Filer, AKCHO Awards Selection Committee Chair

Making the Cut was the brainchild of Susan Connole and Mikala Woodward who first met in November 2011 – the 100th anniversary of the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the Locks. They reunited in 2015 and began recruiting others to their shared vision of a regional centennial commemoration of the construction of the Lake Washington Ship Canal. Eleanor Boba led the Making the Cut Project when Woodward stepped down.

Mikala Woodward served as the initial administrative lead of Making the Cut, convening meetings, identifying key steps and recruiting individuals and organizations. Woodward has had a long career serving the cultural and heritage communities of the Pacific Northwest including a stint on the AKCHO Board and work with the Rainier Valley Historical Society. Now she serves as an Exhibit Developer and the Oral History Manager at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience.

As one of the founders of The Friends of the Ballard Locks, Susan Cannole has dedicated herself to salvaging and preserving many historical records, photos and other historic artifacts at the Ballard Locks. She has been an interpretive guide there for 13 years. Her enthusiasm for the Locks and its centennial served as the magnet for the many groups which eventually participated in Making the Cut. She led with Woodward the first meetings held at 4Culture and coordinated the event and activities with the Army Corps of Engineers. Connole plans to develop historical displays and events for the Chittenden Locks and share them through research and regional presentations.

Eleanor Boba took the administrative baton for Making the Cut from Mikala Woodward making sure the projects underway received undivided coordination especially through the website and social media. Boba has worked with historical societies across the country including the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society and the Rainier Valley Historical Society. Her work includes collections management, exhibit development and articles on a variety of local history topics. She is well regarded as a public historian who values the details of industrial and neighborhood change. She is currently leading an oral history project for the Renton History Museum and writing for several historical blogs.

Making the Cut organizations, institutions, and individuals began meeting in the summer of 2015 with the goal of commemorating the legacy of the Lake Washington Ship Canal a century after it was completed.  The construction of the Locks, the Ship Canal, and the lowering of Lake Washington created enormous economic, ecological and social changes that shaped our region’s development.

The Making the Cut project sought to foster and promote a series of events, exhibits, installations, and other projects highlighting local stories about this moment in our region’s history. The centennial projects explored both negative and positive effects of the massive engineering project. The wide variety of activities addressed not only engineering challenges, but also the devastating impact of the massive changes to our waterways on Native American populations and over time to all the flora, fauna and people whose lives depended on them.




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 $25, and we have a three-tiered system for organizational memberships, with dues dependent on budget size. For more information and an application form, visit

More than 150 individuals and organizations support heritage work and historic preservation in King County, thanks to their membership in AKCHO. Please join us!


2018 Awards Program

AKCHO 2018 Annual Awards Invitation



Event Calendar

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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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