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August 27, 2015 – September 2, 2015

Special Delivery

On August 28, 1907, two teenage messengers named Jim Casey and Claude Ryan established their own delivery business in Seattle, which they operated out of the basement of a Pioneer Square saloon. Funded with a $100 loan from Casey's uncle, their American Messenger Service proved to be a huge success, and has since grown to become United Parcel Service -- the largest package-delivery company in the world.

Casey and Ryan began their business at an opportune time. Seattle in 1907 was a rapidly growing metropolis. That year the city more than doubled in size, annexing West Seattle, Ballard, South Park, Southeast Seattle, Columbia City, and Ravenna. Downtown Seattle was also experiencing a boom, and Pike Place Market opened just days before the messenger service began operating.

Within five years, Casey and Ryan's company employed 100 messengers and had purchased its first delivery vehicle -- a Model T Ford. By 1919 they had expanded to San Francisco under the name UPS, and by 1930 the company covered the whole West Coast and New York City. UPS eventually moved its headquarters to California, then to New York, then to Atlanta, but members of the Casey family became generous philanthropists in their hometown, funding the refurbishment of Seattle's Pioneer Square pergola and major facilities and programs at Seattle University, among other local contributions.

Musical History

On August 31, 1951, the Lionel Hampton Orchestra performed at Seattle's popular Trianon Ballroom to an appreciative audience. Joining the band -- and prominently featured on the building's marquee -- were two young local-musicians-made-good: trumpeter Quincy Jones and singer Janet Thurlow.

Six years later, on September 1, 1957, Elvis Presley shimmied and shook his way into Seattle for a performance at Sicks' Stadium. More than 16,200 fans were in attendance, 90 percent of them teenage girls. And on August 30, 1968, a whole new music scene was all the rage when the Sky River Rock Festival and Lighter Than Air Fair opened a three-day run near Sultan. A second festival was held a year later in Tenino.

News Then, History Now

Fresh Irrigation: On August 31, 1908, the Methow Canal Company pipeline across the Methow River was completed. The pipeline drew water from the Twisp River for distribution to farmers in Okanogan County, and eventually led to the creation of the Methow Valley Irrigation District.

Incorporation: On August 28, 1911, the city of South Cle Elum incorporated. And four King County cities celebrate anniversaries on August 31. Shoreline became a city on that day in 1995 and Covington followed suit two years later. Kenmore incorporated on August 31, 1998, and Sammamish became a city a year after that.

Guest Registration: On September 1, 1914, the Davenport Hotel opened in Spokane, providing the city with a grand hotel worthy of royalty. Thousands attended the gala opening-night festivities, including members of Montana's Blackfeet tribe -- guests of the hotel who stayed in tepees pitched on the roof.

Dance Regulation: On August 28, 1935, a dance marathon/walkathon lasting 1,176 hours (55 days) ended just north of Seattle, which had banned the events in 1928 following an attempted suicide by a losing participant. One year later, on August 26, 1936, a dance marathon/walkathon held in Fife ended after 1,600 hours -- almost two months of stumbling, shuffling, and staggering. By this time, several states had banned the contests completely and in 1937 Washington followed suit.

Journeys End: On August 31, 1936, Spokane's last electric trolley car rolled through the city streets bedecked in funeral crepe. At the end of its last run it was lit on fire. This week also marks the anniversary of the last Lake Washington run of the ferry Leschi on August 31, 1950. The boat was later towed to Alaska for use as a salmon cannery, and was last seen collapsed in the muck near Valdez.

Travels Begin: On August 28, 1963, the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge opened over Lake Washington. Three years later, the Astoria-Megler Bridge was completed on August 27, 1966. And on September 2, 1972, the final section of the North Cascades Highway opened, completing a project nearly 80 years in the making.

A Life Cut Short: Five years ago this week, on August 30, 2010, Seattle police officer Ian Birk fatally shot Native American woodcarver John T. Williams on a downtown Seattle sidewalk. The shooting was later determined to be unjustified, which led to Birk's resignation. In 2012, a memorial totem pole was erected at Seattle Center in honor of Williams.

Quote of the Week

One measure of your success will be the degree to which you build up others who work with you. While building up others, you will build up yourself.

                                     --Jim Casey

Image of the Week

Eight-five years ago this week, on August 27, 1930, Seattle City Light dedicated Diablo Dam on the Skagit River.

Today in Washington History      RSS Feed

U.S. Army defeats Native Americans at Battle of Four Lakes on September 1, 1858.

U.S. Army Brigadier General Isaac Stevens, first governor of Washington Territory, is killed at Battle of Chantilly on September 1, 1862.

Steamboat inspection office opens in Seattle on September 1, 1871.

North Yakima YMCA opens on September 1, 1908.

Lake Washington Ship Canal construction starts on September 1, 1911.

Davenport Hotel opens in Spokane on September 1, 1914.

Montlake Station, The Seattle Public Library, opens on September 1, 1944.

Snohomish County PUD begins sale of electricity on September 1, 1949.

Elvis shakes up Seattle on September 1, 1957.

First commercial electricity from Boundary Dam reaches Seattle on September 1, 1967.

Group Health Cooperative begins to deal with its major appointment-availability problem on September 1, 1976.

U.S. Senator Henry M. Jackson dies on September 1, 1983.

John Stanford becomes superintendent of Seattle Public Schools on September 1, 1995.

Washington State Senate bill to regulate "Mail-Order Bride" industry becomes law on September 1, 2002.

New Essays This Week       RSS Feed

Hanson, Ole Thorsteinsson (1874-1940)

North, Lois E. Hiester (b. 1921)

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