Northwest NEWS

June 17, 2002

Front Page

Fall City Boy Scouts among those honored for historic preservation

King County Executive Ron Sims recently honored a group of adults and youth who have dedicated countless hours and more than a few blisters and calluses to preserving historic landmarks.
   The top honorees for the 2002 King County Executive's John D. Spellman Award for Exemplary Achievement in Historic Preservation include a North Bend couple with a passion for historic buildings and a troop of Fall City Boy Scouts with a new appreciation for epoxy.
   "Every year we receive many deserving nominees for the Spellman Award," said Sims. "Each nominee epitomizes the tremendous contributions the people of King County have made to local preservation efforts. As we approach King County's 150th anniversary in December, these awards celebrate our past and our future."
   The awards were given out recently at ceremonies at the Museum of History and Industry in conjunction with the Association of King County Historical Organization's (AKCHO) annual award program.
   One of the two award nominees earning Certificates of Distinction for outstanding preservation work was Boy Scout Troop #425 of Fall City.
   The troop gained a lot of newly acquired knowledge about historic preservation.
   The boys were honored for the 500 hours of hard labor that went into restoring the community totem pole originally carved in 1934.
   The Scouts researched the Native American legend carved into the pole, how to use appropriate tools and materials for restoration, and how to rally a community around a special project.
   Using a budget of only $1,500 and a 55-gallon drum of specialized epoxy, the Scouts were able to rededicate the restored totem pole last December.
   "In a society that all too often overlooks its history in its rush to build bigger, better and new, these 26 boys have shown us how important it is to instill a preservation ethic in our young people," said Sims.
   This year's Spellman Award for Exemplary Achievement went to Dale and Susan Sherman, who have restored the historic McGrath Hotel in North Bend. Not long ago, the building was so deteriorated that it was considered an eyesore by many, and hardly anything remained of its once elegant lobby.
   "Within 16 months of purchasing the run-down 1922 hotel, the Shermans returned the McGrath to its former glory," said Sims. "Today, the McGrath is the centerpiece of North Bend's historic downtown, and the building itself is fully leased. This illustrates the power of preservation to revitalize dormant business districts, attract tourists and enhance the uniqueness of a community."
   In addition to the Spellman Awards, Sims and Metropolitan King County Councilmember Larry Phillips recognized the AKCHO for 25 years of public service.
   Sims also unveiled a sneak peek at the first of the King County Sesquicentennial activities. He announced that the county launched a Web site on June 3 to highlight 150 years of county government service. Over the next 18 months, the Web site will focus on the events, issues, agencies and people that shaped King County over the years.
   For additional details, check www.metrokc.gov/exec.