Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Long Term Project Award goes to three historical organizations that conduct mine hikes
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Keith Watson of Black Diamond Historical Society, Doug Bristol with Issaquah History Museums, and Russ Senger of Newcastle Historical Society show off their Long Term Project Awards – photo credit Tyler Ray

by Pat Filer, AKCHO Awards Selection Committee Chair

For those who appreciate communing with the Great Outdoors – as well as history — historic mine tours provide a personal view of the halcyon days of the King County Coal Belt.   Presented by the Black Diamond, Newcastle and Issaquah Historical Societies, residents of all ages from throughout King County and beyond participate in these enlightening and picturesque journeys into a noteworthy aspect of King County’s past.  

Although the lumber industry receives the lion’s share of attention, coal was once King County’s largest industry, supplying local markets as well as the rapidly growing town of San Francisco.   These areas are a vast source of labor and ethnic history, where many of the miners were recruited from Southern Europe.

The Issaquah Historical Society presents annual Historic Mine Hikes covering mining districts throughout the area.   These include Tiger Mountain as well as the Olde Towne neighborhood, Mine Hill and areas near the Issaquah Creek Dam.

Annual tours of the town of Franklin, located above the beautiful Green River Gorge, are presented by the Black Diamond Historical Society.   The town thrived for many years, reaching its peak coal production period between 1897 and 1908.   Many mining structure foundations remain, as well as the cemetery and other traces of the town’s past. The Society is 42 years old now and board member Don Mason (Also known as The Mayor of Franklin) has been the manager of the Franklin tours for almost that amount of time. The coal mining town of Franklin has been the object of archaeological studies and digs by the Green River Community College starting in 1985 and they produced an extensive, over 300 pages, report on this little ghost town.  Don Mason conducts tours with the help of volunteers from the Society and the last tour in March had an attendance of 250 people plus pets. 

The Newcastle Historical Society and the Eastside Heritage Center frequently lead tours of Cougar Mountain, Coal Creek, May Creek and other local mining districts. The Issaquah Alps Trails Club and the Newcastle Historical Society began sponsoring a “Return to Newcastle” event in the 1980’s. A “Return” or “Coal Mining History Hike” has been offered on the first Sunday in June ever since – 35+ years now! Those events generated public support for the creation of Coal Creek and Cougar Mountain Parks. Both are now large ‘wildland’ parks with many interpretive trails and signs featuring local coal mining history. King County was the major partner in acquiring land, providing park staff, and developing the trail systems. This also resulted in the “100 Years of Hidden History” book by Richard and Lucille McDonald. In recent years Bellevue Parks and the Eastside Heritage Center and the City of Newcastle have installed signs and provided school tours and indoor power-point programs as well. All of these efforts – a long history of dedicated work – are deserving of recognition.

The tours are led by knowledgeable guides who have researched their respective locales with the assistance and support of the three heritage organizations, who often share inquiries and research.

These long-term efforts of the Issaquah, Newcastle and Black Diamond Historical Societies have created awareness and presented people from all walks of life with a unique and engaging perspective on the era “when Coal was King.”


Patricia Cosgrove – Willard Jue Memorial Award for Staff
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Taking advantage of a captive audience, Willard Jue Staff Award honoree Patricia Cosgrove invited everyone to come view the White River Valley Museum’s current exhibit, “Suffer for Beauty” – photo credit Tyler Ray

by Pat Filer, AKCHO Awards Selection Committee Chair

Willard Jue Memorial Award recipients are individuals who, like the award’s namesake, have made outstanding contributions, provided exceptional leadership, and demonstrated excellence in duration, quality, and spirit of service.

Patricia Cosgrove has been the Director of the White River Valley Museum since 1990. Cosgrove received her BA in Tribal Art History and her Masters in Museum Studies – both from University of Washington. For six years, she served as Exhibit Manager for the State Centennial Project and coordinated Burke Museum staff and representatives from 35 tribes to honor the native cultures of Washington state. 

As Director of the White River Valley Museum, Cosgrove manages a professional staff of five and a large volunteer group. She writes and manages all grants, designs and mounts exhibits, and teaches development classes. The restoration and management of the Mary Olson Farm was one of her most rewarding projects. It received AKCHO’s Long Term Project Award in 2012.

In her own words, “It has always been my goal to work in museums using the exhibit as a way to further cross-cultural understanding. I believe museums have a potentially powerful voice that can help shape the world for the better. Meanwhile, I hope to engage the eye with beautiful things and meet some interesting characters.”

In her tenure at White River Valley Museum, Cosgrove has designed and curated nearly 75 exhibits. That’s a lot of unusual and beautiful things – and interesting characters. 


Renton History Museum and UW Museology Program – Youth Award
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There was scarcely enough room in the frame for the Renton History Museum and UW Museology Program students to pose with their Award! – photo credit Tyler Ray

by Pat Filer, AKCHO Awards Selection Committee Chair

It may sound strange to present the Youth Award to UW students – but let’s face it, they are the youth of our heritage community. It is this group of young people who will soon be our heritage leaders. So please join me in welcoming Renton History Museum’s Sarah Samson and UW Museology students, Blair Martin, Marina Mayne, Molly Winslow, Kim Owens, and Steffi Terasaki to the stage.

If you had to sum up the rich variety of Renton’s history in 75 objects, what would you choose? A group of University of Washington Museology students tackled that challenge at the Renton History Museum, and the result was A History of Renton in 75 Objects. This exhibit, curated and installed by the UW Museology students, used unique artifacts and photos from the Museum’s collection to help the visitor visualize Renton’s history.  The artifacts were varied – they ranged in size from a tiny wedding ring to a one-ton coal car – and came together to illustrate some of Renton’s most memorable points in history.

The themes of the exhibit – the Duwamish, Making a Living, In the Home, Entertainment, and Transforming a Town – guided visitors through 150-plus years of Renton history. UW Museology students Blair Walsh, Marina Mayne, Molly Winslow, and Steffi Terasaki had the heady task of selecting only 75 objects from a collection of over 400,000 artifacts, photographs, and archives. Their creativity combined nostalgic favorites with more hidden histories to create a comprehensive exhibit that let visitors learn and reminisce at the same time.

Over 1,860 visitors viewed A History of Renton in 75 Objects while it was on display. A highlight of the exhibit was the Oral History Station. This unique audio-visual presentation featured audio from four oral histories enhanced with historic photographs and film footage.

The Renton History Museum strives to work with students each and every year, giving them the opportunity to showcase their skills while gaining real-world job experience. By all metrics, A History of Renton in 75 Objects was a successful partnership, project, and exhibit.


Maritime Folknet – Technology Award
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Maritime Folknet members receives congratulations from Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles – photo credit Tyler Ray

by Pat Filer, AKCHO Awards Selection Committee Chair

The Technology Award is presented to an organization for an outstanding project that pairs technology with local history and provides an inspiration or a model for the heritage community. 

Songs make history come alive. In the hundred years since they were constructed, the Lake Washington Ship Canal and the Ballard Locks have made changes for the people of King County both positive and negative.  The effects were widespread, changing the landscape and lakes. Populations and industry shifted, There are many vivid images and dramatic events that made for good song material.  As part of the 100th anniversary of the Ship Canal,  Maritime Folknet unveiled a unique opportunity for song writers to write a song about the Lake Washington Ship Canal and Ballard Locks and record it for posterity.

The songs could be about historical events or the effects on people and places to the present day.  All musical genres were encouraged, and range from acoustic to soft rock, from swing jazz to folk.  Fifteen songs were selected by a panel of judges and were recorded at Jack Straw Cultural Center. CDs were produced and are available for purchase. They are being distributed at no charge to King County libraries, schools and heritage organizations. Free concerts were held at the Ballard Locks and the Northwest Folklife Festival.


Japanese Cultural and Community Center – Exhibit Award
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Curator Elisa Law accepts the Exhibit Award on behalf of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center – photo credit Tyler Ray

by Pat Filer, AKCHO Awards Selection Committee Chair

“Unsettled-Resettled: Seattle’s Hunt Hotel” is the first permanent exhibition to be developed and housed within the historic Seattle Japanese Language School buildings, a designated National Historic Site and Seattle Landmark and the current home of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center.

Through generous grants from 4Culture and the National Park Service Japanese American Confinement Sites program, the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington (JCCCW) began a multi-year endeavor to conduct original research into the post-war history of the Language School when it served as a temporary hostel for Japanese Americans returning to the Seattle area from incarceration camps without homes or jobs.

The resulting exhibition and book sheds light on the resettlement struggles of Japanese Americans, a topic often left out of the larger World War II Japanese American incarceration story, and recalls the experiences of Washington families and individuals who lived through it. Piecing together archival footage and records, family photographs and oral histories the exhibition unearths unsung community heroes who assisted residents getting back on their feet, confirms the strength and resilience of Seattle’s Japanese American community and mourns the great losses of our Issei pioneers.

In the absence of historic photographs from this time in the Japanese Language School’s history, ten paper-cut artworks from local Japanese artist Aki Sogabe were based on oral histories of former residents who lived at what was then called the Hunt Hotel. These works are now traveling to institutions throughout Washington. This exhibition recognizes local understanding and appreciation of the long term effects of Executive Order 9066 as well as for its historic research accomplishments and creative design.



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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