Peggy Corley

This is the last post in an eight-part series on our blog, highlighting Historic Seattle’s 2015 Preservation Award recipients. The awards were presented at our 7th Annual Preservation Awards Ceremony on May 12, 2015, at the Good Shepherd Center.

Living Landmark

Peggy Corley

Historic Seattle Newsletter - 1981The Living Landmark Award went to Peggy Corley for her longstanding commitment and achievements in the field of historic preservation.

Peggy Corley is a graduate of Whitman College Class of 1952. She attended graduate school at the University of Washington where she studied cultural anthropology.

Corley is associated with many “firsts” in the preservation field in Seattle. She was the first chairperson of the Landmarks Preservation Board. During her seven years of leadership (1973-80), the Board designated nearly 100 individual historic properties and three landmarks districts. Peggy was the first professional staff person hired at the Seattle Historical Society/Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), where she also served as a volunteer, board member, and board president.

Other boards she has served on include Federal Historic Sites Survey, King County Liaison (1968-73) and Friends of the Georgetown Steam Plant (1985-1988). She is the recipient of numerous awards over the years, including Washington State Jefferson Medal (1979), History Maker Award from MOHAI (1996), Victor Steinbrueck Lifetime Achievement Award from Historic Seattle (1999); Gordon Scribner Award for Distinguished Service from Whitman College (2014).

Governor Dan Evans appointed her to the State Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, where she served for three years (1973-77). Governor Booth Gardner later appointed Corley to the State Heritage Council (1984-89), which was tasked with redefining roles and scope of the state’s history museums.

Upon her retirement from the Landmarks Preservation Board, Mayor Charles Royer designated February 5, 1981, “Peggy Corley Day” proclaiming, “Peggy Corley has contributed not only an impressive grasp of history, but also a strong commitment to the public process, a willingness to work long and hard with government and community groups, and a flair for bringing together people and ideas.”

Peggy’s dedication and devotion carry on to this day. On February 13, 2015, she joined Historic Seattle and other community advocates for a special “heart bomb” event to show her love for the University of Washington’s Nuclear Reactor Building, a unique Cold War era resource that’s threatened with demolition.

Photos: Top left photo courtesy of MOHAI. Inset image from Historic Seattle newsletter, 1981.