The free online encyclopedia of Washington state history

7289 essays 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

Treaty Rejection

On October 5, 1855, Yakama warriors and U.S. troops clashed at Toppenish Creek. Chief Kamiakin's forces outnumbered those of General Granville O. Haller, who retreated after four of his men were killed and 17 suffered wounds. Hostilities continued until September
, when tribal resistance collapsed in the face of harsh retribution.


Statewide Election

On October 1, 1889, voters chose
Washington's first state officials
, and although Olympia was selected as state capital, it did not receive a majority of votes cast. One month later a second election was held among the top three vote-getters. Ellensburg received 7,722, North Yakima gathered 6,276, and Olympia tallied a whopping 37,413 votes, making it the clear winner and home to the state capitol building ever since.


Heads of State

On October 1, 1909, President
William Howard Taft
took in a game of golf after visiting the Alaska-Yukon-
Pacific Exposition
in Seattle. Exactly 28 years later, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt visited the state and took a trip around the Olympic Peninsula before heading east to tour the construction site
of Grand Coulee Dam.

Head of the Class

On October 1, 1912, the Gonzaga
School of Law
opened in Spokane. Vancouver Junior College opened on October 2, 1933, and Lower Columbia
Junior College
opened a year later, on October 2, 1934. The University of Washington's medical school welcomed its first students on October 2, 1946, and on October 1, 1990, UW opened branch campuses in Bothell and Tacoma.

Crossing Over

On October 1, 1921, engineer Homer Hadley formally proposed his concept for a floating concrete pontoon bridge over Lake Washington. "Hadley's folly" became reality in 1940. Hadley also played a major role in the creation of the Purdy Bridge, which was completed in Pierce County on September 29, 1937.


Speeding Past

On October 1, 1949, the hydroplane Slo-Mo-Shun IV roared across Lake Washington for the first time and revolutionized boat racing. The following summer, she shattered the world speed record on water, reaching more than 160 miles per hour during an early-morning run on the lake.

Today in
Washington History

New Essays This Week

Image of the Week

 Boeing rolled out its first 747 Jumbo Jet on September 30, 1968

Quote of the Week

Over every mountain there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley.
-- Theodore Roethke

Major Funding Provided By

Education Partners