The Capitol Hill Historical Society held a brainstorming session Saturday, bouncing around ideas for a landmarks project that would highlight the history of the neighborhood.
CHHS co-founder Tom Heuser led the April 15 meeting, with Kristi Emigh providing an overview of the developing project.
There are 30 designated landmarks in Capitol Hill, but whether to focus on just those sites and structures was up for debate.
Emigh consulted with Cass O’Callaghan, treasurer for the Ballard Historical Society, regarding the steps the organization had to take to install 24 historic markers in its landmark district.
“She walked us through the process,” Emigh said, “and it’s very long.”
The Ballard Historical Society’s project started in 2005, and took two years to accomplish. There are now neighborhood walking tours associated with the district and its marked landmarks, Emigh said.
The large plaques, which have a photos of the sites or structures and informative text, costly $425 each to fabricate and install, Emigh said, and required permission from the property owners and Seattle Landmark Preservation Board.
Ballard’s project was funded through donations solicited from property owners and a Department of Neighborhoods grant. Heuser said he has someone who has volunteered to help write a grant request with DON.
A St. Joseph’s Church parishioner said she would ask its leadership about supporting the project, as the church is a Seattle landmark, as are several other houses of worship in Capitol Hill. Emigh said CHHS could start developing support there.
Heuser acknowledged placing plaques at 30 Capitol Hill landmarks would be a challenging and costly endeavor. At $425 apiece, that would be $12,750, and that price was a decade ago.
The CHHS co-founder suggested researching the landmarks to find themes that may help narrow the scope of the fledgling group’s first major public project.
Capitol Hill’s historic Auto Row district was an idea, but Heuser said there are not many buildings left from that time, and many are not landmarked. Resident Jason Weill said he likes the idea of highlighting the history of the Pike/Pine corridor, as it is also part of the Capitol Hill Arts District.
Long-time resident Dennis Saxman said he didn’t want to exclude other parts of the neighborhood’s history by just focusing on city landmarks. Troy Sterk said suggested maybe doing informational kiosks, which could be an easier process.
To get involved in the Capitol Hill Historical Society, which is still forming a board of directors, visit capitolhillpast.org, and join CHHS’s Facebook page at facebook.com/pg/CapitolHillHistoricalSociety.