Olympia —The Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) is pleased to announce that 11 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 21st 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 Preservation Officer Dr. Allyson Brooks due to the quality and quantity of the nominations this year. In this 21st Anniversary of the State Historic Preservation Officer’s Awards, Holter worked to recognize award nominees from all corners of the state.
For outstanding achievement of a Washington State historic barn, this year’s recipient in the Heritage Barn category is David and Becky Buri for their work to rehabilitate the D&B Barn at the Heidenreich Dairy in Colfax. With some financial assistance by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, David and Becky Buri worked with a local contractor to restore the iconic Whitman County landmark. In their work, Buri insisted upon historical accuracy in repairing or reconstructing the barn’s roof, siding, structural members, flooring, doors, and windows.
As in all years, the 2011 award recipients exemplify the spirit, motivation, and determination necessary to preserve our state’s heritage for future generations. Recognized for special achievement this year are two retired Washington State Department of Transportation bridge engineers who have used their free time to study and document the feats of engineering in hundreds of historic bridges, trestles and viaducts across Washington State. Bob Krier and Bob George, both of Olympia, will be honored for surveying nearly 1000 bridges statewide, work and research that has led to the preservation of several monumental structures at little or no cost. Both Krier and George have been diligent and persistent in advocating for the recognition and preservation of Washington’s historic bridges that are not only visual landmarks but key elements of the state’s infrastructure.
Harrison Goodall of Langley is another retiree working harder than ever. Mr. Goodall’s expertise in cultural resource management and planning can be seen all up and down Whidbey Island. Most notable are the volumes of reports he has authored for the National Park Service and residents of Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve. Mr. Goodall provides detailed documentation of historic structures, along with plans on how property owners can best preserve these buildings. Each summer he leads a team of local Lions Club members in helping historic building owners preserve some of the most endangered buildings on the island; all the while teaching volunteers old-world craftsmanship skills. Interestingly, Mr. Goodall is the first Island County resident to receive the State Award in its history.
In the category for Outstanding Achievement in Preservation Education the award will be given to Kevin Palo of Ilwaco. Palo’s reputation as a preservation advocate and instructor of rare crafts is well known in Washington, Oregon and California. Palo has more than 30 years experience as a master craftsman and has provided instruction in preservation trades. He has worked with seasoned professionals like architects and contractors to local volunteers and army veterans. Palo’s ability to teach has made him very busy in the past three years. He has taught classes for the Washington State Department of Veteran Affairs; Washington State Parks; Port Townsend School of Woodworking; and Ritzville Public Development Authority. He is currently working as a special consultant for Snoqualmie’s Northwest Railway Museum in the rehabilitation of the historic Messenger of Peace Chapel railroad car.
For Outstanding Achievement in the Media category, the 2011 award recipient is Studio 216 and the University of Washington’s Department of Architecture, for their enlightening documentary called “Modern Views”. This full-length, made for PBS, documentary recounts the colorful and illustrious careers of Washington State’s modernist architects who designed such memorable landmarks as the Seattle Center. Through the personal histories and insights of five prominent northwest modern architects the film offers a deeper understanding of this unique style of architecture happening in the Pacific Northwest in a period that is often overlooked.
Recipients of the awards in the Career Achievement category for 2011 are archaeologist Paul Gleeson of Port Angeles and architect Ron Murphy of Seattle. Paul Gleeson’s career is largely associated with his tenure as Senior Archaeologist for Olympic National Park. However, his ties to Olympic Peninsula archaeology go back even farther: Gleeson worked at the famous Ozette Site which, at the time, was the largest and most well known archaeological site in the state. His leadership ability was quickly recognized when he was chosen to direct the year-round excavations at the site. More recently, Gleeson’s expertise has been tapped by top management at National Park Service headquarters in Washington, D.C. where he fulfilled a temporary assignment as the agency’s Chief Archaeologist.
The second winner in Career Achievement is Ron Murphy, Principal Architect for the Seattle firm of Stickney, Murphy, Romine. Mr. Murphy has served on many advisory panels including the Governor’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and the King County Landmarks Board. He has been the architect for restoring historic buildings throughout Washington including familiar Seattle landmarks such as Klondike Gold Rush Museum in Pioneer Square to the King County Courthouse. Murphy is most widely known in historic preservation his respectful and dignified designs for rehabilitation of historic buildings for affordable housing. Winning awards is nothing new to Murphy who has won numerous including several Honor Awards by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
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 Bainbridge Island Historical Society is honored for their multi-year effort to preserve a 1935 WPA built Boy Scout Lodge called the Yeomalt Cabin. After fifty years of service, the cabin was gifted to Bainbridge Island Parks. By 2005, the cabin was so deteriorated that the City planned to have it demolished. A group of local advocates rallied public support for preservation and began the process of restoring the log structure and its monumental stone fireplaces back to original glory. The building is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The next Stewardship award winner is radically different than most. It goes to the Department of Corrections for the preservation of the Washington State Penitentiary Cemetery in Walla Walla. The cemetery at the State Penitentiary dates back to Washington’s territorial days. The prison cemetery was poorly located and the uneven grounds resulted in erosion in some areas and water ponding in others. To remedy these problems and be respectful to those who were laid to rest within the prison boundary, the Department of Corrections used GPS transmitters to locate every headstone, re-graded the cemetery to control the deterioration and then had inmates create new cemetery headstones which were re-located precisely using the GPS coordinates.
Another award category recognized by the State Historic Preservation Officer each year is for outstanding achievement in rehabilitation of historic buildings and structures. Named in honor of late Tacoma architect Valerie Sivinski, this year’s two award recipients in this category have a transportation theme. The first winner is Arena Sports for their outstanding rehabilitation of the Sandpoint Seaplane Hangar #27 in Seattle. The seaplane hangar’s massive volumes and historic spaces severely limited most proposed adaptive re-use activities. But Arena Sports was up to the challenge and the payoff is a fun and exciting place to play and workout. The seaplane hangar rehabilitation extends the building’s useful life while maintaining those features that make the building important.
The second award winning project in the Rehabilitation category is the Morton Train Depot in Morton. Members of the Cowlitz River Valley Historical Society were faced with the dilemma of moving or losing their treasured local landmark. Sufficiently motivated to stave off demolition, the determined Morton based historical society took on the herculean task of moving the depot across town, an event documented and broadcasted on the History Channel. They then placed the structure on a freshly cleaned brownsfield site and painstakingly rehabilitated the structure from top to bottom. The 101 year old train station has undergone a remarkable transformation and now serves as an anchor for downtown Morton and a new draw for tourists driving the nearby White Pass Scenic Byway.
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 3, 2011 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.