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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

On Main Street

Other cities celebrating birthdays this week include Shelton and Hoquiam, which incorporated days apart on May 17 and May 21, 1890, respectively. One year later, Anacortes incorporated on May 19, 1891. And Arlington became a city on May 20, 1903.

Meet and Greet

On May 22, 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt made Chehalis the first stop on a whirlwind tour through the state. The next day, in Seattle, he signed in as the inaugural guest at the Washington Hotel atop Denny Hill and visited Fort Lawton. On May 25 he briefly visited North Yakima before heading off to Walla Walla, where he spoke at Whitman College.

Great White Fleet

In 1908 Teddy Roosevelt dispatched the U.S. Navy's Great White Fleet to sail from the Atlantic to the Pacific, including a tour of Puget Sound. When the ships arrived in Elliott Bay on May 23, 1908, many Seattleites beamed with pride upon seeing the USS Nebraska, which had been launched from the Moran Brothers shipyard four years earlier. The Nebraska was the only battleship ever built in Washington, and the cost of its construction was buoyed by $100,000 in community aid.

An Audience to Please

One hundred years ago this week, on May 21, 1918, singer and songwriter Arthur Freed -- who years later produced such classic musicals as An American in Paris and Singin' in the Rain -- performed at the Jewish Welfare House at Camp Lewis. And on May 20, 1935, famed film star Mary Pickford began a new phase in her career when she kicked off a national tour of the stage play Coquette with a performance at Seattle’s Metropolitan Theatre.

Mother Nature's Sneeze

On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted, spewing out rivers of mud and a plume of noxious gas. Ash dumped all over Eastern Washington, forcing travelers off the highways. Two days later, on May 20, this caused tremendous problems in Ritzville, some 200 miles away from the volcano.

Owls in the Trees

On May 23, 1991, the town of Forks shut down when its citizens  traveled en masse to Olympia to protest critical-habitat protections for the northern spotted owl. Three years later U.S. District Court Judge William L. Dwyer upheld the federal spotted owl management plan in a key decision interpreting the National Environmental Policy Act.

Today in
Washington History

New Essays This Week

Image of the Week

Eighty years ago this week, on May 23, 1938, Elizabeth Rider Montgomery signed a contract with Scott, Foresman and Company to publish early-reading primers, which began with  Dick and Jane series.

Quote of the Week

Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.

--John F. Kennedy

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