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September 25, 2014 - October 1, 2014

From Washington to Washington

Ninety years ago this week, on September 28, 1924, more than 40,000 people gathered at Seattle's Sand Point Airfield to welcome two U.S. Army aircraft that had just completed the first aerial circumnavigation of the globe. The two planes were the survivors of a fleet of four Douglas Air Cruisers that had departed Sand Point for their round-the-world trip more than five months earlier.

The flight boosted King County's efforts to have a naval air station based at Sand Point. The County had tried to deed the airstrip to the U.S. Navy in 1921, but faced an obstructionist Congress that wouldn't accept the property. It wasn't until 1926 that the Sand Point Naval Air Station became one of the first five naval air stations in the nation.

For the next half-century, Sand Point Naval Air Station was integral to training pilots and crews and repairing naval aircraft, and it also welcomed historic pilots and aircraft on occasion. The airbase saw its busiest service during World War II and the Korean War, but by 1970 the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station had made it superfluous. Sand Point was deactivated that year and was later turned into Warren G. Magnuson Park. Surplus federal property on the site was transferred to the City of Seattle on September 28, 1995.

From the Other Washington to Washington

This week marks a number of presidential visits to our state. On October 1, 1909, President William Howard Taft visited 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.

On September 26, 1963, more than 30,000 people greeted President John F. Kennedy at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, where he participated in groundbreaking ceremonies for the N Reactor. The next day, an equally large crowd came to hear him speak at Tacoma's Cheney Stadium. This was Kennedy's last visit to Washington; he was assassinated in Dallas less than two months later.

News Then, History Now

Filling the Land: The Donation Land Claims Act took effect on September 27, 1850, luring many settlers to the Northwest. Exactly one year later, three scouts from the Denny Party who had just arrived at the mouth of the Duwamish River met up with the Collins Party, which had been there for a week. The next day, scouts David Denny and Lee Terry made claims out on Alki, while John Low returned to Portland to fetch the rest of their party.

Tilling the Land: With the arrival of George Bush and his family in late 1845, Tumwater, located just south of today's Olympia, became the first American settlement north of the Columbia River in what would become Washington Territory. Bush's son, William Owen Bush, later took over the family farm at Bush Prairie and became an accomplished agronomist, winning a top prize for grain at the United States centennial exposition in Philadelphia on September 27, 1876. Owen Bush was one of Washington's first state legislators, and he used his term in office to advocate for the creation of a state agricultural college, which became Washington State University.

Capitol Question: On October 1, 1889, voters chose Washington's first elected state officials, and although they also approved Olympia as the capital, it did not receive a majority of the 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 (formally called the Legislative Building).

Schools in Session: On October 1, 1912, the Gonzaga School of Law opened in Spokane. And on October 1, 1990, the University of Washington opened branch campuses in Bothell and Tacoma. The Bothell branch later moved to a permanent location, which opened on September 25, 2000.

High Speeds: Sixty-five years ago this week, 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.

High Winds: On September 28, 1962, residents near Lake Washington suffered through inclement weather when a 100-m.p.h. tornado tore apart sheds, fences, and trees on both sides of the lake. While homeowners were still repairing that damage, an even greater storm ripped through the Pacific Northwest a few weeks later on Columbus Day.

High Five: Five Washington cities that celebrate anniversaries this week are South Bend, which incorporated on September 27, 1890; Stanwood, which voted to incorporate on September 29, 1903; Okanogan, which voted to incorporate on September 30, 1907; Granger, which had its incorporation approved on September 28, 1909; and Newport Hills (later Newcastle), which took form on September 30, 1994.

Quote of the Week

Man must rise above the Earth -- to the top of the atmosphere and beyond -- for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives.


Image of the Week

On September 30, 1968, Boeing rolled out the first 747 Jumbo Jet at Paine Field in Everett.

Today in Washington History      RSS Feed

Willapa Light Station opens on October 1, 1858.

Voters elect Washington's first state officials on October 1, 1889.

Seattle Fire Department Relief Association is incorporated on October 1, 1892.

Explosion kills 11 coal miners at Lawson Mine, McKay, King County, on October 1, 1902.

Stevens County Pioneer Association (later, Historical Society) holds its first meeting on October 1, 1903.

Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition landscaping crews put the finishing touches on a 20-acre nursery on October 1, 1907.

U.S. President William Howard Taft attends the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition on September 30 and October 1, 1909.

The Gonzaga School of Law opens with 19 students on October 1, 1912.

Sol Krems founds The Jewish Voice on October 1, 1915.

Homer Hadley formally proposes a concrete pontoon floating bridge across Lake Washington on October 1, 1921.

President Franklin Roosevelt tours the Olympic Peninsula on October 1, 1937.

Camas post office opens on October 1, 1939.

Hydroplane is successfully tested on Lake Washington on October 1, 1949.

People's Republic of China founded on October 1, 1949, and Magnuson's advocacy for normalized relations begins.

First part of Seattle Freeway (Interstate 5) route receives federal funding on October 1, 1957.

Metro Council, formed to clean up Lake Washington, holds inaugural meeting on October 1, 1958.

Chicano students at University of Washington establish United Mexican American Students (later MEChA) on October 1, 1968.

Love-U District Festival attracts thousands to Seattle's University District on October 1, 1968.

Seattle Symphony Orchestra hires first African American musician, bassist Bruce Lawrence, on October 1, 1968.

Jimi Hendrix is mourned at his Seattle funeral and wake and buried in Renton on October 1, 1970.

Teachers State Bank, now Evergreen Bank, opens in Seattle on October 1, 1971.

Tacoma Municipal Belt Line Railway becomes a tariffed carrier on October 1, 1985.

University of Washington Bothell Branch opens on October 1, 1990.

University of Washington Tacoma begins classes in Perkins Building on October 1, 1990.

Japanese theater troupe presents Tale of Otokichi in Bellevue on October 1, 1997.

Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki breaks the major league record for hits in a season on October 1, 2004.

Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base merge to create Joint Base Lewis-McChord on October 1, 2010.

New Essays This Week       RSS Feed

President Harry S. Truman presents the Medal of Honor to Robert E. Bush on October 5, 1945.

Stephen Vitiello receives $200,000 commission, to develop sound-based art on the Seattle waterfront, on October 23, 2013.

Judge C. H. Hanford decides Cowell v. McMillin, vindicating John McMillin's operation of Roche Harbor lime works, on June 20, 1909.

Joe E. Mann receives the Medal of Honor posthumously on August 30, 1945.

Albert H. Rooks receives the Medal of Honor on June 24, 1942.

Jack J. Pendleton of Yakima receives the Medal of Honor posthumously on March 15, 1945.

Roche Harbor Lime Works (San Juan Island)

Cayuse attack mission in what becomes known as the Whitman Massacre on November 29, 1847.

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