Awards for Lake Union Underwater Archaeology Project
by Judie Romeo
The ongoing Lake Union Underwater Archaeology project has received more state and local awards.
In May, King County Executive Dow Constantine hailed the work of Founding Director Dick Wagner and the volunteer team working with The Center for Wooden Boats to find and document the history of wrecks on the bottom of Lake Union. CWB was presented with one of the 2012 John D. Spellman Awards for Exemplary Achievement in Historic Preservation in a ceremony at the historic Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center in Redmond.
“As John Steinbeck wrote in The Grapes of Wrath, ‘How do we know it’s us without our past?’ I salute those who honor and preserve our history – it is only upon a strong foundation that we can build our future,” said Constantine.
“It’s pleasing to be recognized because that helps more people find out about the Lake Union Underwater Archeology Project,” said Wagner. “It also helps us continue to network and find others who are interested in the history that lies on the bottom of Lake Union and may want to help out on the project.”
The Lake Union Archaeology project has been coordinated by The Center for Wooden Boats, with the help of more than 40 individuals, government agencies, organizations, institutes and corporations. The goal has been to identify and interpret the inside of Lake Union.
“We see the lake as a cultural and natural museum that is only now being recognized. We are following museum protocols and appropriate laws of underwater archaeology” said Wagner. “In the end the goal is to give Lake Union the identity it deserves, which may be the basis for community stewardship of the lake.”
The award is named in honor of former Washington Governor John D. Spellman (King County Executive 1969-1981) who established the County’s Historic Preservation Program 32 years ago.
Also in May, the Maritime Documentation Society (MDS) was the recipient of a State Historic Preservation Officer’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Historic Preservation. The special achievement award recognized MDS “for its work to explore and document the remains of sunken vessels on the floor of Seattle’s Lake Union.”
In the award presentation, it was noted that “core MDS members Dan Warter, Erik Foreman and Chris Borgen, working with the Underwater Archaeology Project, have been leading scuba diving teams to survey the lake bottom searching for submerged historic sites. Donating their own time, equipment, and funds to the project, the team has systematically and meticulously mapped and documented more than 40 sunken vessels and objects. While recording information about these resources, the MDS divers have taken care to leave the sites undisturbed in order to protect their integrity and educational value about the region’s maritime heritage.”
The award was presented to the recipients by Washington State Historic Preservation Officer Dr. Allyson Brooks at a ceremony held in Olympia during the annual National Historic Preservation Month celebration.