The free online encyclopedia of Washington state history

7446 articles now available.

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

Killer Not Found

On November 19, 1856, Nisqually Chief Quiemuth was resting inside the Olympia home of Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens. Tired of war, Quiemuth had peacefully surrendered himself into custody soon after the capture of his half-brother, Chief Leschi, and was awaiting transfer to Fort Steilacoom. Shortly before dawn he was shot and stabbed by an unknown assailant, and the murder remains unsolved.

Second Time Around

On November 20, 1883, La Conner was incorporated, eight days before the formation of Skagit County. After Mount Vernon was selected as the county seat, La Conner's citizens decided to disincorporate, but incorporated once again in 1890, this time for good.

Shipwreck in the Sound

On November 18, 1906, the Mosquito Fleet steamer SS Dix -- en route from Seattle to Port Blakely -- collided with the steam schooner SS Jeanie two miles north of Alki Point, killing 39 passengers and crew. It is the greatest maritime disaster ever recorded on Puget Sound.

Car Dealer's Site

On November 15, 1937, Seattle's newest Oldsmobile dealer, Central Oldsmobile, Inc., opened its doors to the public at 1017 Olive Way. Owned by veteran car dealer John Riach, the dealership sold Oldsmobiles for half a century and, beginning in 1970, added Hondas to its inventory. In 2015 new owners relocated the business to south of downtown, and its former building was sold to the Washington State Convention Center for a planned expansion.

Opening Night

In 1931 the Fox Theater opened in Spokane and was the grandest theater in the city. In 2000 it was saved from the wrecking ball by the Spokane Symphony, and after an extensive remodel it reopened on November 17, 2007, as the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox.

Incoming Flight

In 1992 the Port of Seattle authorized planning for a new runway following an endorsement from the Puget Sound Air Transportation Committee. Local communities like Burien were not happy, and although a search for alternative sites was undertaken, Sea-Tac remained the preferred location. The airport's third runway opened 10 years ago this week on November 20, 2008.

Today in
Washington History

New Essays This Week

Image of the Week

A resort community for many years, Lake Stevens incorporated on November 21, 1960.

Quote of the Week

When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.

--Benjamin Franklin

Major Funding Provided By

Education Partners