Posted by: wadahp | March 29, 2010


The Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) is pleased to announce that 13 individuals and organizations have been named as recipients of the State Historic Preservation Officer’s Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Historic Preservation.  The awards program, in its 20th year, recognizes persons, organizations, and projects that have achieved distinction in the field of historic preservation.  Each year, the awards are presented to the recipients by Washington State Historic Preservation Officer, Dr. Allyson Brooks, at a ceremony held in May during National Historic Preservation Month. 

Russell Holter, State Historic Preservation Awards Coordinator, admits the decision on who should win an award was especially difficult for Dr. Allyson Brooks due to the quality and quantity of the nominations this year.  In this 20th Anniversary of the State Historic Preservation Officer’s Awards, Holter worked to recognize award nominees from all corners of the state.  This effort resulted in establishing a new category to recognize outstanding work to preserve Washington’s historic barns.

 In the inaugural year for the Heritage Barn category, four barn or farm preservation organizations were nominated. The first recipient in this category is Steve Rubicz for his work to rehabilitate the Molvig Barn on Vashon Island. Assisted by the King County Barn Again grant program,   Rubicz worked with local preservation contractor Gary Peterson to restore the 1909 landmark barn. In their work, Rubicz and Peterson insisted upon historical accuracy in repairing or reconstructing the barn’s siding, structural members, flooring, doors, and windows. The award for the Molvig Barn will be presented at the Heritage Barn Conference on May 6 in Walla Walla.  

As in all years, the 2010 award recipients exemplify the spirit, motivation, and determination necessary to preserve our state’s heritage for future generations. Recognized for special achievement this year is the private non-profit local preservation organization Historic Everett.  Historic Everett is honored for mounting a high-profile campaign to save the threatened Collins Building from demolition for a massive waterfront redevelopment plan. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the heavy-timbered Collins Building represents the last vestige of Everett’s marine industrial district.  While their work may not be entirely over, Historic Everett, has succeeded in fending off demolition of the building. Equally impressive is their success in organizing broad-based support in Everett and across the state to craft a new vision for port re-development that acknowledges the city’s rich industrial heritage. 

In the category for Outstanding Achievement in Preservation Education the two awards made in this category are based on projects spearheaded by the Clark County Historical Museum in Vancouver. The first preservation education effort is the Artifacts Detectives program developed by Historical Museum Director Susan Tissot in collaboration with school teachers and archaeologists. The result is a classroom curriculum giving students and teachers keen insights into life in early 20th century Vancouver.  The “hands-on” experience uses historical artifacts unearthed prior to construction of the city’s downtown convention center. 

In its second award winning effort, the Clark County Historical Museum spearheaded the Carnegie Library Consortium of Washington that developed a passport styled program to acquaint families with Washington’s historic Carnegie Libraries. Launched as Mr. Carnegie’s Grand Tour of Washington, Consortium members crafted a website, maps, research tools, and a statewide tour that teaches about Andrew Carnegie and the local libraries he established. The clever passport game was designed to encourage visits to participating Carnegie Libraries around the state.  

For Outstanding Achievement in the Media category, the 2010 award recipient is Destination Heritage-A Guide to Historic Places around King County. Produced by a team assembled by 4 Culture, this project capitalizes on the preference of tourists to enjoy first hand experiences of local history and historic places. Through an internet site, a colorful guide, and podcast tours, Destination Heritage provides tourist information on historic places related to three key themes in King County and Seattle history: agriculture, industry, and maritime heritage.    

In the category of Outstanding Achievement in Preservation Planning, the City of Ellensburg and Ellensburg Downtown Association are recognized for drafting and adopting the Ellensburg Downtown Model Code Application for Historic Buildings. This innovative document tackles the dilemma of how to successfully rehabilitate historic commercial buildings while adhering to modern safety and fire code requirements. The plan provides a model for other communities working to streamline project approvals by early resolution of safety and design questions.

Recipients of the awards in the Career Achievement category for 2010 are Kris Bassett of Wenatchee and Stephanie Toothman, Ph.d., of Seattle.  Kris Bassett is recognized for her 16 years of effective service as the Wenatchee Historic Preservation Officer. During her tenure in this position, she has been the spark behind private reinvestment of $12 million in local historic properties, designation of dozens of buildings in the Wenatchee Register of Historic Places, and revitalization of the city’s historic core. If anyone brings passion and drive to her work, that person is Kris Bassett.   

The second winner in Career Achievement is Dr. Stephanie Toothman, Lead for Cultural Resources in the Pacific West Region and based in the Seattle office of the National Park Service. Dr. Toothman is recognized for her leadership on historic preservation and advocacy for cultural resources not only within Washington’s National Park units, but in communities across the state. Her knowledge of history, eloquence, and experience are qualities that have led to her steady rise in National Park Service authority.  

Award recipients in the Preservation Stewardship category recognize persons and organizations that have made a long and distinguished track record in preserving a historic site.  In this category, the Squaxin Island Tribe is honored for their multi-year effort to locate graves at the historic Oakland and Slocum cemeteries near Shelton that were in the path of new development. Tribal members made sure that burials were meticulously and sensitively re-located to a new donated cemetery site on tribal land.

The second award in the Preservation Stewardship category is given to Fred and Pat Erickson from the Yakima Valley community of Parker for their long-term care and maintenance of the Sawyer Mansion. Since their purchase of the house in 1969, the Ericksons recognized the now 100 year old Sawyer Mansion as a historic and architectural gem. This recognition has translated into preservation of the home’s architectural character and sharing with the community.     

Year 2010 awards in the Rehabilitation Category features two historic theaters. The Columbia Theater in Longview is the first Cowlitz County winner and recognizes the high quality rehabilitation work that has restored the character of this elegant community performing arts center.  Completion of this project not only makes the Columbia a first-class venue for top-name performances, but has also raised awareness of the benefits in preserving the city’s unique heritage as a 1920’s planned community.

 The second award winning theater in the Rehabilitation category is the stately 7th Street Theater in Hoquiam. The Friends of the 7th Street Theater have worked tirelessly for years to achieve their dream of bringing the “atmospheric” movie palace back to its former glory. This work has reaped rich rewards with recent completion of major interior rehabilitation work for this performing arts and film venue.

Another award recipient in the Rehabilitation Category is the meticulous restoration of the steam engine Rayonier Locomotive #2 by a team at the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad directed by General Manager Brian Wise. The last of only six logging steam locomotives built in 1929 by the Willamette Iron & Steel Company, the restoration team expended 1,170 volunteer hours to bring the 75-ton locomotive back to working order. 

The efforts of these preservationists epitomize the spirit that can still be seen in the work of the late Valerie Sivinski, a Tacoma-area architect of noteworthy skill who became Washington State’s First Capitol Conservator.  Sivinski’s lifework is celebrated in the restorations that she performed (not only in Washington State) but as far away as New Mexico, Washington, D.C. and London.

Award recipients will be recognized during a special ceremony held on May 4, 2010 in the Legislative Building on the historic State Capitol Campus.  State Historic Preservation Officer, Dr. Allyson Brooks will preside over the awards ceremony.  The awards coincide with National Historic Preservation Month, an annual celebration occurring every May. 

More information about the award recipients is available at, or by contacting Russell Holter at 360.586.3533 or



  1. Congrats to all of the winners! Way to go Parker House 🙂

  2. I have a correction for you. There is an inaccuracy in the DAHP press release for Mr. Carnegie’s Grand Tour of Washington re:
    “…consortium members crafted a website, maps, research tools, and a statewide tour that teaches about Andrew Carnegie and the local libraries he established….”

    Actually, Clark County Historical Museum staff and volunteers were responsible for creating Mr. Carnegie’s Grand Tour of Washington.

    There are a bunch of CCHM volunteers that contributed hundreds of hours to the tour. As tour developer, I am grateful to them and the 20 participating Carnegie libraries in Washington. This was a community effort in every way.

    Thank you!
    Lisa M. Christopher

    • Thank you Lisa for your comment and the clarification about the role of Clark County Historical Museum staff and volunteers in developing the content of Mr. Carnegie’s Grand Tour of Washington. I apologize for the misleading content in the announcement about the project and the work of the Clark County Historical Museum.

      Again, congratulations to you and the Clark County Historical Museum for this wonderful historic preservation education project and receiving the State Historic Preservation Officer’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Historic Preservation.

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