Civil War sesquicentennial – Northwest style

As the 150-year anniversary of the Civil War continues, several activities are being planned throughout King County to remember the sesquicentennial and consider its meaning.

Historian Lorraine McConaghy has developed an interactive, living theater piece in which the audience reads the words of ordinary settlers, territorial military and administrative leadership. Preceded by a brief lecture to set context, the Civil War Reader’s Theater is next being performed at the National Archives on Seattle’s Sand Point Way on February 8 at 6 PM. The communal theater presentation will be followed by a conversation about the ideas and themes of the piece.

McConaghy also is spearheading an citizen-historians’ initiative to learn more about Washington Territory during the antebellum, wartime and early Reconstruction periods. In 2013, hundreds of researchers will fan out across Washington State, visiting archives, museums and libraries to read newspapers, manuscripts, and documents of all kinds from 1857-1871 in the hope of uncovering long-forgotten local activities relating to the Civil War, and documenting them in a permanent record. McConaghy is conducting training sessions for the Read-In through this May. If you are interested in attending a training and joining the Read-In, contact Lorraine at

And on February 23, the Greater Kent Historical Society, in partnership with other South King County historical societies that are tying the construction of South King County’s Military Road to the Civil War sesquicentennial, will present a talk by local historian and AKCHO board member Karen Meador. Meador will share information on the instrumental role Secretary of War Jefferson Davis played in obtaining funds to build the Military Road in Washington Territory – only a few years before he went on to become president of the Confederate States of America. The program will take place Saturday, February 23, 1-3 PM at the Kent Senior Center, 600 E Smith Street, Kent. Find more information on the AKCHO calendar.


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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

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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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