Seattle, Washington [May 2, 2018] – The Historic Downtown Chelan Association and the Lake Chelan Historical Society received the Community Partnership Award at Washington Main Street’s Excellence on Main Awards Ceremony on April 24 in Port Townsend. The ceremony was held in conjunction with RevitalizeWA, Washington State’s Preservation and Main Street Conference.
Recognizing their shared goals around Chelan’s heritage and historic treasures, the Historic Downtown Chelan Association (HDCA) and the Lake Chelan Historical Society forged a partnership in 2016 focused on two types of public projects: plaques and wraps.
First, the two organizations worked together to institute Chelan’s first historic plaque program. In its initial stages, the HDCA Design Committee selected four historically significant downtown structures, all of which are over 100 years old and have maintained their historic integrity: Campbell’s Resort, Saint Andrews Episcopal Church, Woodin Avenue Bridge, and Ruby Theatre. The Historical Society Manager, Ron McGaughey, served as an advisor on the program and coordinated Society volunteers to find historic photographs of the properties. The two organizations jointly designed and presented the plaques at a media-covered event in 2017.
The historic wrap program beautifies and draws attention to historic aspects of the town by covering a modern necessity, an electric utility box, with historic images. HDCA and the Historical Society again collaborated to identify, design, and implement the project, which is located at a key intersection downtown. Images were selected for their historic significance, cultural relevance, and reflection of life in downtown Chelan during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Each side of the wrap takes a different look at Chelan’s history, with themes including wood-framed buildings, legacy businesses, homesteaders, and life in a frontier town.
“Projects such as these put the history of our town front and center,” said Erin McCardle, Executive Director of the Historic Downtown Chelan Association. “They inspire locals and visitors to appreciate and preserve the town’s culture, raise the interest level among our downtown building owners, and create additional opportunities to forge public and private partnerships focused on historic preservation.”
The HDCA and the Historical Society plan to continue both the historic plaque and wrap programs in the future. They have also begun development of a walking tour and QR code system to provide additional opportunities for the public to learn about Chelan’s history and built environment.
“The partnership between HDCA and Historical Society has elevated the preservation ethic in Chelan through community pride and education,” said Breanne Durham, Washington Main Street Coordinator. “These projects illustrate the importance of partners coalescing around shared goals.”
Excellence on Main, organized by the Washington State Main Street Program, celebrates communities, organizations, and individuals who are helping to achieve economic vitality and build sustainable communities through downtown revitalization and preservation. The Community Partnership Award is designed to recognize a Main Street organization and partner(s) who have demonstrated the highest and best degree of cooperation to benefit downtown revitalization efforts.