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.