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October 1, 2015 – October 7, 2015

Crossing Through

October is Washington Archives Month, during which we celebrate the value of Washington's historical records. This year's theme is bridges, and this week HistoryLink looks at some of Washington's notable spans and crossings that no longer exist and have been replaced with newer structures.

In 1925 the old Ebey Slough Bridge became the last Washington link on the Pacific Highway between the Canadian border and Mexico. One of the state's few swing bridges, it carried automobile traffic until 2010 and has since been replaced by a modern, fixed-span bridge. Another bridge that had a long lifespan was the Manette Bridge in Bremerton, which opened in 1930. The span was later modified to accommodate increasing traffic, but by the 2000s it was deemed inadequate and was replaced in 2012. King County's South Park Bridge was also built in the 1930s and served into the next century before a new span took its place.

Spokane's Monroe Street Bridge has a storied past. The first crossing was a rickety wood structure built in 1889 that burned down the following year. A second bridge, built of steel, opened in 1892, but it vibrated so badly that it was replaced by a majestic concrete-arch bridge in 1911. This span became such an iconic symbol for Spokane -- as seen above -- that its replacement in 2005 was almost an exact duplicate, but with improved strength and safety.

Of course, we'd be remiss if we didn't highlight three bridges well-known for their demise by disaster. The first Tacoma Narrow Bridge opened in 1940 but succumbed to high winds a few months later. It was replaced by a new crossing in 1950, which was joined by a sister span in 2007. In 1979, 28 years after its opening, a portion of the Hood Canal Bridge was deep-sixed by a storm. Replacement preparations for the rest of the bridge in the early 2000s suffered setbacks of a different kind. And in 1990, a half-century after it opened, the Lake Washington Floating Bridge sank during a windstorm. A new bridge took its place the following year.

Spanish Flu

On October 3, 1918, the worldwide Spanish influenza epidemic officially arrived in Washington with the report of 700 cases and one death at the University of Washington's Naval Training Center. During the next six months 1,600 lives were lost in Seattle alone. No area of the state was left untouched, and 70 years later Kenneth Knoll recalled its effects in Spokane in great detail.

Others affected by the flu included singer Linnie Love, who was stricken while performing for troops at Camp Lewis and soon died; journalist Emmett Watson, whose mother and twin brother fell victim shortly after his birth in 1918; and noted author Mary McCarthy, who lost her parents to the disease and later wrote of the difficulties she faced afterward.

News Then, History Now

Native Altercation: 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 1858, when tribal resistance collapsed amid harsh retribution.

Deadly Occupation: Coal-mining history in Washington is fraught with disaster. On October 9, 1894, four coal miners died in an explosion at Newcastle. And on October 3, 1909, an explosion and fire killed 10 men in a Roslyn coal mine.

Military Might: On October 2, 1895, the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet anchored in the harbor at Port Angeles, beginning a tradition of annual visits. On October 7, 1904, the battleship Nebraska was launched in Seattle. On October 5, 1945, Lieutenant Colonel Gregory "Pappy" Boyington and Robert E. Bush were both presented with the Medal of Honor. And five years ago, on October 1, 2010, Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base merged to create Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Presidents' Delight: On October 1, 1909, President 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, taking a trip around the Olympic Peninsula before heading east to tour the construction site of Grand Coulee Dam.

Hiking Expedition: On October 2, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the bill that created North Cascades National Park. Farther south along the mountain chain, the Iron Goat Trail opened on October 2, 1993, thanks to the efforts of volunteers like Ruth Ittner.

Tribal Recognition: On October 6, 1999, the federal government formally recognized the Snoqualmie Tribe. This victory allowed the tribe to proceed with the Snoqualmie Casino, which opened in 2008 and provides income to support tribal services.

Quote of the Week

That is the road we all have to take -- over the Bridge of Sighs into eternity.

                                     --Soren Kierkegaard

Image of the Week

On October 5, 1931, Clyde Pangborn belly-landed his plane in Wenatchee after completing the first nonstop airplane flight between Japan and the United States.

Today in Washington History      RSS Feed

Crown Zellerbach's National Paper Products Mill in Port Townsend starts operation on October 6, 1928.

Bookmobile service resumes in Seattle on October 6, 1947.

Grant County commissioners pass resolution on October 6, 1958, setting vote on creating Port of Mattawa .

Seattle Aquarium kicks off expansion project on October 6, 1979.

Federal government recognizes the Snoqualmie Tribe on October 6, 1999.

Explosion and fire at Atlas Castings and Technology in Tacoma kills truck driver and injures three workers on October 6, 2007.

New Essays This Week       RSS Feed

Lake Forest Park incorporates on June 20, 1961.

McDonald, Lucile S. (1898-1992)

"Lucile McDonald Day" is proclaimed on March 9, 1991.

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