Fred Cruger, a member of the Granite Falls Historical Society, looks through old documents and photographs at the Granite Falls Historical Museum on April 8, 2018 in Granite Falls, Washington. (Ian Terry / The Herald file)

Fred Cruger, a member of the Granite Falls Historical Society, looks through old documents and photographs at the Granite Falls Historical Museum on April 8, 2018 in Granite Falls, Washington. (Ian Terry / The Herald file)

Snohomish County’s history buffs to gather for long-delayed awards

The League of Snohomish County Heritage Organizations will present awards for projects and publications since 2019.

GRANITE FALLS — It’s been four years since local history buffs gathered to celebrate each other’s best work.

The League of Snohomish County Heritage Organizations, formed in 1983, is comprised of 23 genealogical and historical groups. In March 2020, the league was two weeks from hosting its annual Helmer Malstrom Awards banquet when the United States was officially in the early grips of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Public health restrictions scuttled their plans, and each awards after was pushed back over concerns about spreading the virus.

“We tried four more times to plan a date and to kind of strategize how we would do that, and it all fell through,” league president Tom Thorleifson said.

They’ll gather for a free luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Granite Falls Civic Center, 215 S. Granite Ave. Awards are being presented for nominees in the projects and publications categories from 2019 as well as bulked together between 2020 and last year.

Entries came from individuals, Arlington and Everett museums, a Lynnwood citizen board, the Everett Public Library and the Tulalip Tribes.

In total, 14 works from across the county were nominated. They span coloring books, historic stories, digital databases, the Van Valey house musem and videos.

“They’re all notable,” Thorleifson said. “Everybody should be getting a deserved pat on the back.”

Peter Condyles, president of the Marysville Historical Society and a City Council member, has a history degree from Western Washington University. As a child, history captivated and lured him to learn more about what came before.

In Marysville, that meant reading about its “father,” James Comeford, and the city’s experiences through world events such as the Great Depression, both world wars, suburban sprawl and its agricultural roots, especially with strawberries.

“It’s just been kind of a microcosm of America,” Condyles said.

The pandemic pushed historical groups and museums to think of modern ways of sharing information instead of expecting visitors to peruse dusty tomes and other artifacts locked in glass cases. Hopefully that makes it more accessible to people now and encourages them to seek out the knowledge to be gained from those organizations, Condyles said.

“Every little community from Everett all the way down to Index has a society with information ready to share,” he said.

Ben Watanabe: 425-339-3037;; Twitter: @benwatanabe.

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