May 13, 2023
The Association of King County Historical Organizations (AKCHO) held its 41st annual awards celebration at the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle on May 11. Among those recognized were Julie Seitz, Sarah Martin, and the Community and Friends of the Seattle-Tacoma Pet Cemtery, who received the Charles Payton Award for Heritage Advocacy. The group was recognized for their work to make the Seattle-Tacoma Pet Cemetery a King County Landmark in 2022.
Established in 1950, the Seattle-Tacoma Pet Cemtery reflects more than 70 years of continuous use as a commercial cemetery dedicated to the practice of burying and memorializing pets and service animals. As the oldest pet cemetery in King County, the property is a rich source of information about attitudes toward animals and memorialization. The community of pet cemetery supporters continues to advocate on behalf of the property.
Read AKCHO’s press release here.
April 30, 2023
At its monthly meeting on April 27, the King County Landmarks Commission unanimously approved an amended nomination for the Aaron and Sarah Neely Farm near Auburn, Washington. The property, which is owned and maintained by the Neely Mansion Association, includes an impressive 1894 residence, a Japanese bathhouse or furoba, built by tenant farmer Shigeichi Hori in 1930, and a 1940 farm shed used by tenant farmer Pete Acosta.
The Commission designated the Neely Mansion a landmark in 1983. It was among the first nominations to be approved, and since then the King County Historic Preservation Program has evolved. Documentation standards for nominations have changed and understanding of historical significance has broadened.
The amended nomination for the Neely Farm not only updates the property boundaries and descriptions of built features, it also tells the full story of the property and its significance. It goes beyond architectural significance to document the mixing of Indigenous and settler cultures, the property’s tenant farming history and its strong associations with Japanese and Filipino immigrants, and the citizen-led effort to save the property for use as an interpretive heritage center.
This effort, which is supported by a grant from 4Culture, also includes a revision of the 1974 National Register of Historic Places nomination for the Neely Mansion.
October 7, 2022
The Owyhee Motorcycle Club (OMC) on the outskirts of Boise, Idaho, is the first motorcycle-related facility or track anywhere in the country to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The club partnered with Sarah J. Martin Cultural Resource Services to document the club’s history and to produce this one-of-a-kind National Register nomination.
The property is significant for its role in the development of the sport of off-road motorcycle racing in Idaho and the Pacific Northwest. Formed in 1935 and incorporated in 1940, OMC was the first motorcycle club in Idaho to charter with the American Motorcyclist Association, and it is the oldest continuously operating club in the state.
The OMC is a private, member-supported and directed non-profit organization with generational family membership. The club purchased this property in 1946 as a place for its members to gather and to host both social and recreational motorcycle activities. The 80-acre property is tucked in the foothills of the Boise Mountains overlooking the capital city and has developed organically since the 1940s. The hilly sagebrush property is a collection of natural and built features that reflects the evolution of the organization, the influence of changing motorcycle technology, and the growth and development of motorcycle racing over the last eight decades.
Throughout its storied history, OMC was a fixture on the circuit of most top motorcycle racers in the region and developed local talent into professional, hall-of-fame caliber racers. OMC has hosted Idaho State Championships, Northwest Tourist Trophy (NWTT) races, and early and significant motocross events, including the 1972 Inter-AM motocross when Gary Jones became the first American to win overall in an international motocross event held in America. The club’s 1975 TT race weekend featured Diane Cox in her debut season as the country’s first female racer to earn an AMA Expert dirt track license. Races at OMC were – and still are – regularly promoted and covered in AMA’s American Motorcycling magazine and other widely circulated publications like Cycle News and Racer X.
Local media coverage of the nomination: Idaho News 6 and Boise State Public Radio’s Idaho Matters.
June 7, 2022
The Idaho Historic Sites Review Board voted unanimously to support the nomination of the Aurelius and Dorothy Buckner House in Boise’s North End neighborhood to the National Register of Historic Places. It is the second of two nominations prepared by Sarah J. Martin Cultural Resource Services to be submitted as part of a multiple property nomination themed around African American Civil Rights in Idaho. The Bethel Baptist Church in Pocatello was entered into the National Register last September, and, following review by National Park Service historians, the Buckner House is expected to follow suit later this year.
Built in 1911, the modest one-story Craftsman-style bungalow is situated on a narrow, tree-lined street among other single-family residences of the early 20th century. The property contributes to the Harrison Boulevard Historic District, which was listed in the National Register in 1980. It is being individually nominated for its significant associations with the Buckners, who were leaders in the push for African American civil rights in Idaho during the mid- and late-20th century. With their rental of this property in 1957 and subsequent purchase, it is believed the Buckners were the first Black family to rent and own a home in Boise’s North End neighborhood. They were subsequently the targets of a cross burning, a tool of racial intimidation and a potent anti-Black symbol of hate. Despite the threats, the Buckners not only remained in their home, they also hosted many important planning meetings and strategy sessions for some of Boise’s most important civil rights activities. Their home was a center of the civil rights movement in Boise. The couple raised four children in this house, and they maintained this residence until their deaths in 2003.
May 6, 2022
The Center for Wooden Boats is celebrating its recent Seattle Landmark designation. Learn more about the designation, how it came to be, and what it means for the CWB in this short video produced by CWB volunteer Shelley Sabin.
February 5, 2022
King County recently released this impressive video showcasing newly-designated landmarks and announcing its 21st annual John D. Spellman Awards for Achievement in Historic Preservation. We were delighted to see properties familiar to SJM Cultural Resource Services, including the beautifully adapted St. Edward Seminary, the W. D. Gibbon General Store museum in Maple Valley, and the Jubliee Farm in the Snoqualmie Valley. Congratulations to those recognized!
January 28, 2022
Vasa Hall in the old Swedish mill town of Preston became King County’s latest historic landmark on Thursday, January 27. At its regular monthly meeting, the county’s Landmarks Commission unanimously approved the nomination put forth by the owner Skogsblomman Lodge #378. The Lodge was established in 1919 and is a local chapter of the Vasa Order of America, a Swedish-American fraternal, cultural, and educational organization. Completed in 1950, Vasa Hall is the group’s second building.
Consultants Sarah J. Martin and Flo Lentz authored and presented the landmark application on behalf of Skogsblomman Lodge #378. The effort was sponsored by 4Culture.
December 15, 2021
At the recommendation of the Idaho Historic Sites Review Board, the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places approved a nomination for the Bethel Baptist Church in Pocatello. It was entered into the National Register on September 30, 2021.
The Bethel Baptist Church was nominated for its long association with Pocatello’s African American community. Constructed in 1922 and expanded in 1950, the building is locally significant for its role in the local Black community and the Civil Rights Movement as it manifested in Pocatello during the 20th century. It is the oldest extant Black church building in Pocatello and has been an important gathering space for the community, not only for serving the religious needs of its members, but also for hosting educational, social, charitable, and civil rights activities.
Prepared by Sarah J. Martin and her late colleague Kerry L. Davis, the nomination was the first to be submitted as part of a multiple property nomination themed around African American Civil Rights in Idaho. A second, related nomination for a property in Boise is in the works.
June 16, 2021
Historic Seattle hosted an excellent virtual event yesterday on Seattle’s Lake Union history. The hour-long program featured a blend of storytelling from Roger Fernandes and a presentation from Sarah J. Martin. It was a past-to-present exploration of Lake Union’s maritime story with highlights of the lake’s pre-settler past and more recent history, including the Richard & Colleen Wagner family legacy on Lake Union. The Seattle Channel will be sharing a recording of the event on its platforms.
June 3, 2021
At its regular meeting on Wednesday, June 2, the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board (LPB) unanimously designated these two classic Seattle properties for landmark status – the Wagner Floating Home and the Center for Wooden Boats.
At the heart of Seattle’s wooden boat revival of the middle and late 20th century is Richard (Dick) and Colleen Wagner. From their 1910 floating home on Lake Union, the Wagners operated a boat livery known as The Old Boathouse that became the Center for Wooden Boats (CWB). The CWB’s South Lake Union campus opened in 1983 and developed over many years following a clear plan and vision championed by the Wagners. The story is one of persistence and dedication in pursuit of connecting the public with the water and traditional wooden boats.
Sarah J. Martin is proud to have produced the landmark applications on behalf of the CWB and the Wagner family and with the support of Historic Seattle and 4Culture. Here are links to the applications: Wagner Floating Home and Center for Wooden Boats.
May 28, 2021
In celebration of Preservation Month, the City of Redmond (OR) Historic Landmarks Commission invited Sarah J. Martin to present on her recent work documenting the city’s historic residences. Martin is currently working with the Landmarks Commission to prepare a National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation Form and a companion National Register application for an individual residence.
In this virtual presentation, From Canvas Tents to the Contemporary: An Overview of Redmond’s Historic Residential Architecture, she discussed development trends and domestic architectural styles found in Redmond and touched on how they fit into the broader story of American architecture. She offered recommendations on user-friendly architectural style guides and suggestions for further reading.
March 9, 2021
Sarah J. Martin will be the Third Friday Speaker this month for the Center for Wooden Boats as it kicks off its 45th anniversary celebration. The Center’s South Lake Union campus developed over many years following a clear plan and vision championed by co-founders Dick and Colleen Wagner. The story is one of persistence and dedication in pursuit of connecting the public with the water and traditional wooden boats.
Martin will report on her recent research for Seattle landmark applications that she produced for the Center and the floating home of co-founders Dick and Colleen Wagner. The landmark applications are sponsored by the Center for Wooden Boats, the Wagner family, 4Culture, and Historic Seattle.
December 18, 2020
One of South King County’s oldest surviving buildings has finally earned historic landmark status. The Maple Valley (WA) Landmarks Commission unanimously approved the nomination of the 1894 W.D. Gibbon General Store, which now serves as a museum operated by Maple Valley Historical Society (MVHS). Sarah J. Martin produced the application on behalf of MVHS, an effort sponsored by 4Culture.
The former general store reflects an important chapter in the history of the Cedar River Valley, when it took shape as a railroad center in the 1890s. The store proprietors – first William D. Gibbon and then his successor Joe Mezzavilla – adapted the business over many decades to meet a changing clientele and economy. This building remained in service as a store until 1959, when Mezzavilla saved it from the wrecking ball. It sat vacant for 40 years and was used only for storage. Before his death in 1991, Mezzavilla donated the building to the MVHS. With funding from 4Culture and the City of Maple Valley, as well as lots of volunteer and in-kind support, the MVHS relocated and restored the building. Today, it sits along the Cedar-to-Green River recreational trail, which follows the path of the old Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad.
October 24, 2020
The efforts of the City of Kent to promote its role in the story of NASA’s Lunar Roving Vehicles took another “giant leap” forward on Friday, October 23, when the Washington State Advisory Council on Historic Preservation approved their nomination to the Washington Heritage Register. With this action, Washington became the third state in the country, behind California and New Mexico, to list lunar objects in its historic register. Here’s what GeekWire had to say about it!
The application, produced by Sarah J. Martin, is available in its entirety at this link.
July 21, 2020
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in some creative programming and ways of staying connected to one another. In June, Historic Seattle launched an online education series called Preservation Station as a way to engage its members and the public during these challenging times.
Sarah J. Martin was pleased to participate in the online series and enjoyed sharing the local story of NASA’s Lunar Roving Vehicles.
June 6, 2020
Update July 31, 2020: The Keeper of the National Register has entered the Corilla J. and Orlando Robbins House and the Greenwood School into the National Register of Historic Places.
The Idaho State Review Board, at its regular meeting on June 6, voted unanimously to nominate the Corilla J. and Orlando Robbins House and the Greenwood School to the National Register of Historic Places. The nominations will be forwarded to the Keeper of the National Register for consideration.
Sarah J. Martin compiled and presented the nominations on behalf of the Idaho State Historical Society as part of the Idaho Women 100 initiative. Both nominations highlight stories of women who are significant in Idaho history.
The Robbins House, built in 1890, is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Old Boise and reflects layers of significant history. It is associated with Corilla J. Robbins, an early Boise resident who was an active clubwoman and suffrage leader during the late 19th-century campaign for women’s suffrage in Idaho. The building also is associated with Boise’s rich Basque history during much of the 20th century, when it functioned as the Star Rooming House. The two-story, wood-frame building is a good example of a modestly styled, Victorian-era residence with Italianate- and Queen Anne-style characteristics. It has been rehabilitated and adapted for use as offices.
The Greenwood School, located five miles east of Hazelton, is familiar to those who drive Interstate 84 through rural south-central Idaho. Built in 1914, the school and the surrounding community bear the name of early resident, teacher, and author Annie Pike Greenwood. The school was built in optimism during the rise of the rural Greenwood community, and it reflects the persistence of the community in enduring the harsh realities of rural life on the irrigated sagebrush landscape. These themes are poignantly illustrated in Annie Pike Greenwood’s 1934 book, We Sagebrush Folks. The school also has witnessed the subsequent receding of the community following school consolidation and the development of Interstate 84. Recent renewed attention to the property – due in large part to a recent Idaho Public Television documentary on Annie Pike Greenwood – has not only revealed its significance in history but also has underscored the fragile state of the building and its uncertain future.
(Left) Greenwood School, ca. 1915. (Right) Greenwood School, 2019.
March 1, 2020
Sarah J. Martin is pleased to partner with the Historic Seattle for a one-day multi-dimensional educational program Dig and Discover: Fall City on Saturday, March 21. This free public event will showcase Historic Seattle’s rehabilitation of the Ronnei-Raum House. As part of the event, Martin will present a brief history of the house from her recent work that resulted in the property’s successful King County landmark designation.
Participants will visit the neighboring National Register-listed 1895 masonic hall for an overview of the history of Fall City and the Ronnei-Raum House. A visit to the house follows where participants will see first-hand Historic Seattle’s approach to the sensitive remodel about to get underway. Additionally, archaeologists working on the site will explain their work and guide participants in their own archaeological digging. All ages are welcome to participate in this special opportunity to get your hands dirty, learn about history, and see preservation in progress.
December 11, 2019
SJM Cultural Resource Services is proud to again partner with the City of Kent to recognize and document the history of the Kent-made Lunar Roving Vehicles (LRVs).
As reported in July (see below), Kent successfully nominated the Moon-based LRVs as Community Landmarks. Following an enthusiastic showing of support, the City elected to apply for Washington Heritage Register status through the WA Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP). The WA State Advisory Council on Historic Preservation is scheduled to consider the application on Friday, March 27, 2020. If approved, the LRVs will be the first lunar-based objects to be listed in the Washington Heritage Register.
The City of Kent recently unveiled a replica LRV as part of a STEM Festival. In this short video below, Mayor Dana Ralph says: “We at the City of Kent are telling the story about…our place in space history. But we also need to inspire the next generation so they know that these [STEM] careers are available, and that they’re the ones who are going to be making history in the generations to come.”
October 6, 2019
The King County Landmarks Commission, at its regular monthly meeting on September 26, voted unanimously to designate the Ronnei-Raum House a King County Landmark. Sarah J. Martin compiled and presented the nomination on behalf of Historic Seattle, which purchased the Fall City property in May 2019 as part of the new King County real estate program Preservation Action Fund.
Fall City is an unincorporated town situated along the banks of the Snoqualmie River where it converges with the Raging River. The town was platted in 1887 and took shape as a mill town and agricultural center that was served by steamboats, the railroad, and a network of roadways. The Ronnei-Raum House, built ca. 1904, developed out of this early settlement period. It is named for former owners Andrew and Karen Ronnei and their nephew and subsequent owner Christ Raum. All three were part of an extended family of Norwegian immigrants who lived and worked in eastern King County. The small cottage is a vernacular gable-front house that exhibits modest elements of the Queen Anne style.
Historic Seattle plans to rehabilitate the house and sell it. This landmark designation and a preservation easement will ensure its protection for years to come.
October 2, 2019
At its regular meeting on September 26, the Issaquah-King County Landmarks Commission voted unanimously to designate the Issaquah Auto Freight Co. Building an Issaquah landmark. Historic preservation consultants Sarah J. Martin and Flo Lentz compiled and presented the landmark application on behalf of the Issaquah History Museums, which owns the property.
The building is located at 92 SE Bush Street at the south edge of Downtown Issaquah, Washington. It was built in 1939 by Italian immigrant Remo Castagno and his brother Frank, and it served as a garage and storage space for their freight-hauling business. The Castagno brothers had been in business since the early 1920s and transported all sorts of goods, freight, and food products throughout the greater Seattle area. The Castagnos were well-known in Issaquah. Remo was active in local public service, including serving as fire chief, a school board member, a city councilman, and as mayor. Frank was active in industry circles and served as president of the Washington Motor Transport Association and was recognized by the American Truck Historical Society for his contributions to the industry. By 1960 the business had relocated to Renton, but the building remained in the Castagno family until they sold it to the Issaquah Historical Society in 1989. Society volunteers renovated the building in 1991 for use as exhibit workshop space and storage.
It was nominated for its reflection of area transportation history and for its significant associations with a locally prominent business that began in the early automobile era, survived the Great Depression, and thrived throughout the twentieth century.
July 26, 2019
On the eve of the 48th anniversary of the launch of NASA’s Apollo 15 – the first Apollo mission to use a Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) – the City of Kent Landmarks Commission voted unanimously to designate the three Kent-made LRVs as community landmarks. The honorary designation recognizes the Moon-based vehicles built by the Boeing Company for their contributions to local and national history and for their significant design and construction. Sarah J. Martin is proud to have produced the landmark application on behalf of the Kent Downtown Partnership and the City of Kent.
The LRV is history’s first and only human surface vehicle designed to operate on the Moon. Just three rovers were built, and only six men have driven them. Never had so much imagination, research, and public investment gone into the production of a wheeled vehicle. The rover made possible the greatest human explorations of the Moon in 1971-72, and it came from Kent, Washington.
Nearly 75 supporters and Boeing’s rover program alumni gathered at the Kent Landmarks Commission hearing to witness the vote. The designation joins just two other similar designations. In 2010, the states of California and New Mexico included in their respective state registers various objects on the Moon associated with the historic Apollo 11 landing site.
Here’s a sampling of news coverage: Kent Reporter, King 5 News, Kiro 7, Geek Wire,
July 20, 2019
SJM Cultural Resource Services is proud to be partnered with the Kent Downtown Partnership and the City of Kent in their trailblazing effort to landmark the three Lunar Roving Vehicles that are sitting on the Moon. Commonly known as the lunar rover or Moon buggy, the vehicle is history’s first and only human surface transportation system designed to operate on the Moon. At its Kent, Washington-based Space Center, the Boeing Company designed, tested, and built the four-wheeled vehicle for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to use in its Apollo J-class missions of 1971-72.
This project is part of the City’s broader effort to recognize, document, and honor Kent’s role in the history and future of the aerospace industry. Several news organizations have covered this process, including Crosscut, My Northwest, the Kent Reporter, and Geek Wire.
April 12, 2019
In the video clip below, Sarah J. Martin recalls her time as a graduate student at MTSU’s Center for Historic Preservation, from 2002 to 2004.
April 2, 2019
The State of Washington’s Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (OMWBE) has certified SJM Cultural Resource Services as a Women’s Business Enterprise. Government agencies and some private companies look to certified firms when hiring and purchasing to meet their diversity goals.
SJM Cultural Resource Services is listed in the State’s directory of certified firms.
September 28, 2018
Daniels Real Estate has taken another important step in its effort to save and reuse Kenmore’s former Saint Edward Seminary building – it has won local landmark status for the property. With a long-term lease agreement in place with the Washington State Parks Commission that owns the building, Daniels is rehabilitating the impressive Romanesque Revival-style building to be its Lodge at Saint Edward. The lodge will feature guest rooms, a conference center, meeting rooms, a wellness spa, and a restaurant.
The Kenmore-King County Landmarks Commission voted unanimously to designate the Saint Edward Seminary building a Kenmore landmark. Historic preservation consultants Sarah J. Martin and Flo Lentz compiled and presented the application on behalf of City of Kenmore and Daniels Real Estate.
Designed by Seattle architect John Graham, Sr. and built in 1931, Saint Edward Seminary was the state’s first Catholic seminary and a lifetime achievement of Bishop Edward John O’Dea, a leading regional figure in the Catholic Church during the early 20th century. The last seminary class graduated in 1976 and the State of Washington acquired the property that is now Saint Edward State Park.
The application is available HERE in its entirety. The Bothel-Kenmore Reporter recently announced the landmark designation.
July 30, 2018
The Issaquah-King County Landmarks Commission voted unanimously to designate the City-owned Gilman Town Hall & Jail an Issaquah landmark. Historic preservation consultants Sarah J. Martin and Flo Lentz compiled and presented the application on behalf of the City of Issaquah and the Issaquah History Museums.
Built in 1888 as a community hall, the Gilman Town Hall is among the oldest extant buildings in Issaquah. It was the center of town government for 30 years, beginning in 1898, when the Town of Gilman purchased the property for official town meetings. In 1914, the Town built a two-cell concrete jail in the rear yard and a bell tower at the rear of the hall, for use by the new volunteer fire department. Issaquah’s first female council member – Stella Alexander – served part of her term in the Gilman Town Hall. The building functioned as a private residence from 1930 to 1972, when the City of Issaquah purchased it on behalf of the newly formed Issaquah Historical Society, for use as a community museum. A group of museum volunteers renovated the building facade in 1983. Today, the the Gilman Town Hall & Jail is occupied by the Issaquah History Museums.
The application is available HERE in its entirety.
May 25, 2018
At its meeting on Thursday, May 24, 2018, the Kirkland-King County Landmarks Commission voted unanimously to designate the privately-owned Buchanan House a Kirkland landmark. Historic preservation consultant Sarah J. Martin compiled and presented the application on behalf of the City of Kirkland.
Built in 1890, the house was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 as the Dr. Barclay Trueblood House. Newly discovered sources revealed the house had a much deeper and significant connection with Dr. William Buchanan, an early doctor who lived and worked in the residence. The building was threatened with demolition in 2016 and, after a long effort to find new owners, the residence was moved to its new and permanent location just a block away. It was under renovation at the time of designation.
The application is available HERE in its entirety.
March 23, 2018
On behalf of the Museum of Flight, historic preservation consultant Sarah J. Martin presented a landmark application for the museum’s Boeing Airplane Company Building to the Tukwila-King County Landmarks Commission at its meeting on Thursday, March 22, 2018. The commission voted unanimously to designate the building a Tukwila landmark.
Built in 1909 along the Duwamish River, the former shipyard building became Boeing’s first manufacturing plant in 1916. The heyday of its use was over by the mid-1930s. The years-long effort to save the building was one of the earliest, most visible historic preservation projects in King County. It was moved in 1975 to Boeing Field to serve as the home of the Museum of Fight, which opened in 1983.
The application, co-authored by Flo Lentz, is available in its entirety at this link.
March 9, 2018
At its regular monthly business meeting on February 9, 2018, the Historic Wallingford Board of Trustees elected Sarah J. Martin to serve among their ranks as a trustee.
Established in 2017, Historic Wallingford is a Seattle neighborhood advocacy group with the mission of promoting the appreciation and understanding of the cultural and architectural heritage of Wallingford. Through engaging programs, gatherings, and online collaboration, the not-for-profit aims to spread awareness of the streetcar neighborhood’s early 20th century roots and development.
“Wallingford has a rich architectural heritage that deserves greater attention. I’m thrilled to be a part of this group, and I can’t wait to get to know my neighbors!”
The Board meets monthly for business meetings. Information about upcoming events is posted here.
November 7, 2017
The Eureka Foundation re-published on its website a piece written by Sarah J. Martin and entitled “Utopia College.” Originally published by Atlas Obscura, the article tells the story of Utopia College, founded by Massachusetts economist and philanthropist Roger Babson in Eureka, Kansas, in 1947 as part of his effort to prepare for a coming Third World War.
September 20, 2017
Historic Seattle held its annual preservation awards benefit on September 19, 2017. Among the honorees was Southwest Seattle Historical Society for its “We Love the Junction” Campaign, a grassroots community landmark campaign for West Seattle’s main business district – The Junction. Sarah J. Martin, of SJM Cultural Resource Services, was recognized as a Supporting Partner for her role in preparing landmark applications for the Campbell and Crescent-Hamm buildings. To learn more, click here.
April 6, 2017
West Seattle Blog: West Seattle Junction’s Campbell Building becomes a city landmark, with board’s unanimous vote
February 15, 2017
West Seattle Blog: One new landmark for The Junction