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Diablo Dam incline railway climbing Sourdough Mountain, 1930. Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archives, 2306.
Children waving to ferry, 1950. Courtesy Museum of History and Industry.
Loggers in the Northwest woods. Courtesy Washington State Digital Archives.

This Week Then


News Then, History Now

Fishing Boat's Yield

On September 20, 1888, the Northwest's commercial halibut fishery began when the schooner Oscar and Hattie arrived at Tacoma with 50,000 pounds of the tasty fish. Thirty-five years later fish stocks had declined so drastically that the Pacific Halibut Convention was signed, and today the fishery is one of the world's healthiest.

Fresh from the Field

Harvest season is here for farmers, and it's a good time to show off their crops. On September 24, 1894, the first Washington State Agricultural Fair opened in Yakima. And on September 24, 1937, the Lincoln County Fair resumed in Davenport after a decades-long hiatus.

Oiled and Wheeled

On September 23, 1904, the Automobile Club of Seattle, predecessor of AAA Washington, was founded with 46 members and officers. This week also marks the anniversary of the Washington State Department of Transportation, which was created by the Washington State Legislature and officially came into being on September 21, 1977.

Playgoers' Jollity

On September 24, 1926, tens of thousands celebrated the grand opening of the 5th Avenue Theatre. The lavish playhouse in Seattle was the brainchild of architect Robert Reamer, known for his designs of the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park, Spokane's Fox Theater , Bellingham's Mt. Baker Theatre, and Seattle's Edmond Meany Hotel and 1411 4th Avenue Building.

Audio Quality

On September 23, 1927, the New York City-based Columbia Phonograph Company began a two-day round of recording sessions with various local musicians in Spokane. On September 21, 1957, Los Angeles R&B singer Richard Berry brought "Louie Louie" to Seattle, where it became the Northwest's signature rock song. And on September 25, 1969, Patrinell Staten -- as Pat Wright, who went on to become the founding director of Seattle's Total Experience Gospel Choir, was then known -- was getting lots of radio play from her hit R&B single "I Let a Good Man Go."

Marriage Equality

On September 20, 1971, John Singer and Paul Barwick requested a marriage license in Seattle, but were denied. They later filed one of the first same-sex marriage lawsuits in the United States, but their claims of discrimination were rejected by the courts. It wasn't until 2012 that Washington became one of the first states to approve marriage equality by popular vote.

Today in
Washington History

New Essays This Week

Upcoming Event

Writing Our History: Pierce County
Speaker Series

VISUALIZE TACOMA: The Pierce County Courthouse in Images & Short Stories
Michael Sullivan and Amber Brock

September 20, 2018
Pythian Temple, 924 Broadway, Tacoma

Join us for some light refreshments and conversation before the program. 
Doors open at 6:00 p.m., program begins at 6:30 p.m.

Image of the Week

On September 22, 1942, President Roosevelt arrived at Fort Lewis during a secret nationwide tour of World War II defense plants and military bases.

Quote of the Week

The worst pandemic in modern history was the Spanish flu of 1918, which killed tens of millions of people. Today, with how interconnected the world is, it would spread faster.
--Bill Gates

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