Ep. 041 – Clay Eals, Executive Director of the Southwest Historic Society

Ep. 041 – Clay Eals, Executive Director of the Southwest Historic Society

This week’s guest is Clay Eals, up until summer of 2017, Clay was the Executive Director of the SouthWest Seattle Historical Society, headquartered out of the Log House Museum on Alki.

Highlights From This Episode:

Clay Eals has been involved in the Southwest Seattle Historic Society since it was created in 1984 and in 2013, became it’s first Executive Director. Up until that point, it was entirely run by unpaid volunteers. The purpose of his role as the Executive Director is to focus on three areas: fundraising, outreach & volunteer recruitment… in addition to the overall management of the organization.

The South West Seattle Historic Society’s mission is to promote history through education, preservation and advocacy. Their focus area is the entire Duwamish Peninsula, from West Seattle to White Center and South Park. A big part of Eals focus has been to get out into the community and let people know that the Historic Society is about much more then just the Alki Log House Museum.

Clay’s family is from West Seattle, he grew up on Mercer Island back when it was predominantly 3 bedroom ramblers but would come over with his mom to visit his grandparents in the Admiral District all the time. He went to school in Oregon and worked for the Oregonian Paper for a number of years but always wanted to get back up here. In 1982, he moved back to West Seattle. With his background as a newspaper journalist, he became the editor of the West Seattle Herald. It was really his work on putting together the 1987 “West Side Story”, a historic picture book of the history of West Seattle that really changed him from an objective journalist to a West Seattle history advocate.

  • The real juice of life is taking the risk (and in the reward) of communicating with others… and the best way to do that is face-to-face.
  • Clay talks specifics of what goes into getting historic buildings land-marketed.
  • Clay talks about stepping down as the first Executive Director of the Southwest Historic Society (for 4.5 years). His successor is Jeff McCord, though Clay promises us that he isn’t going any where and will remain involved with the Society.
  • As the first ED for the society, the best advice he received regarding fund raising comes down to four words… pick up the phone. An analogy for taking the initiative for setting up meetings with people in the community.
  • “Life is anticipation”… meaning we all need something to look forward to. We all need a mountain to climb… something to inspire and motivate us. When you through yourself into something with passion, you will draw people to yourself.
  • The main mission of the historic society is forward thinking… not just about looking back at old stuff of the past but preserving it for the benefit and enjoyment of youth and generations to come.
  • Clay speaks on reading the newspaper every morning because it’s a medium that has a little of everything and is a combination of what people want to read and what they SHOULD read… vs. the modern consumption of news and media online where people just search for and read/watch what they want and what they already agree with. Leading individuals to be more polarized in their world views then ever before. Being well informed helps us all to make better decisions.
  • With a background in journalism, Clay speaks on the most respected media organizations are the ones that have been around the longest and still live by the three pillars of journalism – Fair, Complete & Accurate.
  • His perspective on the accusation that “All journalism these days is just about bad news”: The bad news is just good news in disguise. Perhaps showing people what is really going on in the world will motivate them to make changes, get involved and help. The whole core of it is that if we know more, we’ll make better decisions.

Episode Links & Resources:

  • Guest’s Website: www.loghousemuseum.info (sign up for their weekly email announcing events and updates)
  • Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Log-House-Museum-167980764047/
  • Guest’s recommended books/tools/resources: “The Water Is Wide” by Pat Conroy. Clay gives a “shout out” to some great local media organizations: The West Seattle Herald, aka “Westside Seattle” and the WestSeattleBlog.com, founded and run by Tracy Record and Patrick Sand (Check out their interview in Episode 040 of the Sea-Town Podcast).
  • Guest’s word of wisdom: “Have no fear and assume that when you take the risk to communicate with someone, something good will come out of it… Don’t let fear hold you back… Take the risk to engage other people”
  • Learn more about Christian, Sea-Town Real Estate and more at: www.Sea-Town.com

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Thanks for joining me again this week. If you have any tips, suggestions, or comments about this episode – email me at ChristianH@Sea-TownPodcast.com. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post. Thank you! And finally, please leave an honest review for The Sea-Town Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show and I read each and every one of them.


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