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June 25, 2015 – July 1, 2015

Double Birthdays

Soon after Washington became a state in 1889, more than a few communities decided to incorporate. This week two cities celebrate their 125th birthdays, beginning with Snohomish, which incorporated on June 26, 1890. This actually was the city's second incorporation. The first, given the name Cadyville, was made under territorial law in 1888 but invalidated once statehood was achieved.

Snohomish was primarily a lumber town, but the city's early residents showed an interest in culture, as well as the fine (and sometimes not so fine) arts. The town was the seat of Snohomish County until 1897, when that status -- along with the county records -- were moved to the boomtown of Everett. Today the city's downtown business district, along with several residential blocks, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We invite you to visit Snohomish, using our historic downtown cybertour as your guide. And on your way there, be sure to check out some of Snohomish County's historic farms and barns.

Farther north, in Skagit County, Mount Vernon incorporated on June 27, 1890, just one day after Snohomish had done so. Mount Vernon owed much of its early growth to logging, mining, and farming and was a hub on one of Puget Sound's early light-rail corridors. The city also enjoys long-standing support for the performing arts and since incorporation has remained Skagit County's seat. And although it is still a nexus of highways and byways, Mount Vernon received some unfortunate national attention in 2013 when the I-5 Skagit River Bridge collapsed after being dinged by a passing truck.

Multiple Crossings

Speaking of bridges, quite a few of them have anniversaries this week. On July 1, 1891, Seattle's Latona Bridge connected Eastlake with the University District, but was replaced on July 1, 1919, by the University Bridge, which is still in use today. Nearby, the Montlake Bridge opened on June 27, 1925. And in 1940 the Tacoma Narrows Bridge opened for traffic on July 1, but it too suffered a collapse, this one of epic proportion.

And one Washington bridge has two anniversaries this week. On June 30, 2010, the South Park Bridge over the Duwamish River ended its career after carrying traffic for more than 80 years. The neighborhood mourned its loss, but celebrated four years later when a new bridge opened on June 29, 2014.

News Then, History Now

Rocking Ability: Some say that lightning doesn't strike twice, but what about earthquakes? On June 29, 1833, the first eyewitness account of an earthquake in the Puget Sound region was recorded. Thirty-six years later to the day, another quake hit that was felt as far south as Oregon.

Docking Facility: On June 26, 1914, Westport was incorporated at the mouth of Grays Harbor. The town has long been a fishing community and still maintains the largest marina on the Washington coast.

Police Homicide: On June 25, 1901, former Seattle police chief William Meredith -- who had just lost his job due to accusations of corruption made by theater owner John Considine -- attempted to kill Considine in Pioneer Square, but instead was himself gunned down inside the G. O. Guy drugstore. Although the press portrayed Considine as the assailant, he was found not guilty of murder and went on to become a noted and respected member of Seattle society.

Please Take a Ride: A century ago tourists were just beginning to explore the Cascade Mountains by car. On July 1, 1915, the Sunset Highway through Snoqualmie Pass was dedicated, and on July 1, 1917, Paradise Inn welcomed its first weary travelers to Mount Rainier.

Nooks for Books: On June 29, 1973, Walter Carr opened the Elliott Bay Book Co. in Seattle's Pioneer Square. The store has since moved to Capitol Hill. This week also marks the opening of the Carnegie Library in Pasco on June 30, 1911.

A Crowd that's Proud: During the last week of June 1974 local lesbians and gays celebrated Seattle's first Gay Pride Week. Sexual minorities had played leading roles in Seattle history virtually since the town's founding, but they did not emerge from the closet in large numbers until after New York City's infamous Stonewall riots in 1969.

Scintillating and Titillating: On June 28, 2003, the former Civic Auditorium and Seattle Center Opera House opened as Marion Oliver McCaw Hall after an extensive remodel that uncovered some interesting historical artifacts. And on the other end of the cultural spectrum, this week marks the fifth anniversary of the June 27, 2010, closing of the Lusty Lady, a remnant of Seattle's bawdy past.

Quote of the Week

What is the city but the people?

                     --William Shakespeare

Image of the Week

Sixty-five years ago this week, on June 26, 1950, the hydroplane Slo-mo-shun IV, piloted by Stan Sayres, shattered the world speed record on water during a run on Lake Washington.

Today in Washington History      RSS Feed

Kangley/Selleck beginnings: Kangley Post Office opens on June 30, 1890.

Wabash Post Office opens on June 30, 1892.

Vashon Island beginnings: Lisabuela Post Office opens on June 30, 1892.

South half of the Colville Reservation opens to mineral claims and a stampede ensues on June 30, 1898.

Grays Harbor Lighthouse is dedicated on June 30, 1898.

Washington Equal Suffrage Association holds its convention in Seattle on June 30, 1909.

Prominent Seattle women participate in a reception for noted suffragists at Seattle's Hotel Lincoln on June 30, 1909.

Pasco dedicates its Carnegie Library on June 30, 1911.

Seattle voters reject a city manager and district elections on June 30, 1914.

Seattle City Council votes to build Aurora Avenue through Woodland Park on June 30, 1930.

Seattle City Light approved to purchase Kiket Island for a proposed nuclear power plant on June 30, 1969.

Navy deactivates Sand Point Naval Air Station (later renamed Magnuson Park) on June 30, 1970.

U.S. Supreme Court declares anti-busing initiative unconstitutional on June 30, 1982.

Seattle's South Park Bridge spanning the Duwamish River opens for good (closing to traffic) on June 30, 2010.

New Essays This Week       RSS Feed

Evergreen Point Floating Bridge opens on August 28, 1963.

MV Sanpoil makes maiden voyage across Columbia River on August 14, 2013.

Sommers, Helen Elizabeth (b. 1932)

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