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October 8, 2015 – October 14, 2015

Prizes Bequeathed

This week, as the 2015 Nobel Prize winners are being announced, look back at some of Washington's esteemed Nobel laureates, beginning with Tonasket native Walter Brattain, who shared the 1956 Nobel Prize in physics for helping to invent the transistor. Other Washington recipients include University of Washington physicist Hans G. Dehmelt, UW pharmacist Edmond H. Fischer and biochemist Edwin G. Krebs, bone-marrow-transplant pioneer E. Donnall Thomas, and geneticist Lee G. Hartwell and biologist Linda Buck, both of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

A variety of factors have stimulated scientific inquiry and achievement in Washington. Boeing and other technology pioneers recruited skilled engineers and supported scientific and technical education. During World War II, work at Hanford on developing the first nuclear weapons similarly attracted a critical mass of scientific talent, including William R. Wiley, in whose honor Richland dedicated the Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory in 1996. In more recent years Microsoft and other high-tech ventures have spawned a virtual science suburb around Puget Sound, just as biomedical pioneers have staked claims on the south shore of Seattle's Lake Union.

What Lies Beneath

October is Archaeology Month, and we invite you to delve deep into Washington's past. The earliest human remains so far discovered in the state belong to the so-called "Marmes Man" -- actually a whole community -- which predate the more controversial remains of Kennewick Man. Other finds in Washington that have intrigued archaeologists include a cache of Clovis points found near East Wenatchee, the remains of a Klallam village near Port Angeles, what may be the oldest continuously occupied human habitation in the state, and, of more recent vintage, fur trader Jaco Finlay's grave at old Spokane House.

Our essays go even further back in time, beginning in the late Mesozoic era when the Okanogan terrane docked against the North American continent. From there we fast-forward 100 million years to the end of the Ice Age about 11,000 years ago, when retreating glaciers that carved out much of the Pacific Northwest unearthed some interesting items.

News Then, History Now

Trails to Blaze: On October 10, 1805, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and their Corps of Discovery became the first non-Indians to enter the future state of Washington overland. Once here, the explorers pressed westward, following the Snake and Columbia rivers to the Pacific Ocean.

A Visit from Hayes: After coal was discovered in Newcastle in October 1863, the mining town became so successful that even Rutherford B. Hayes dropped by, on October 11, 1880, during his tour as the first U.S. president to travel west of the Rockies. Hayes later that day attended a reception at Squire's Opera House in Seattle.

Cod To Be Canned: On October 14, 1891, the schooner Lizzie Colby landed the first load of Bering Sea cod in Anacortes, ushering in a new industry for the Skagit County city. For more than half a century schooners based in Seattle, Poulsbo, and Anacortes fished cod in the Bering Sea and Alaskan waters and returned home with their catch.

Not Like They Planned: On October 12, 1918, Camp Lewis attempted to raise a massive flag atop a 314-foot-tall Douglas fir pole, billed as the world's tallest.Weighing in at a hefty 257 pounds, the flag was too large and it shattered the pole the moment it unfurled. After another failed attempt, during which the pole held but the flag shredded, a smaller flag was raised in its place.

Aerial Display: On October 8, 1921, the first military plane landed at Sand Point in Seattle. On the same day in 1966 the Grant County Airport opened in Moses Lake at what used to be Larson Air Force Base.

Blown Away: On October 12, 1962, the Columbus Day Storm wreaked havoc throughout Western Washington. And 10 years ago this week the Seattle Storm wiped out the competition and became the Women's National Basketball Association 2004 champions, an honor the team achieved again in 2010.

Quote of the Week

I intend to leave after my death a large fund for the promotion of the peace idea, but I am skeptical as to its results.

                                   --Alfred Nobel

Image of the Week

Kirkland incorporated 110 years ago this week on October 12, 1905.

Today in Washington History      RSS Feed

Erhart Seifried, known as Green Lake John, files a homestead claim on Green Lake (Seattle) on October 13, 1869.

Maury Island beginnings: Maury Post Office opens on October 13, 1888.

State Normal School at Cheney opens on October 13, 1890.

Cumberland beginnings: Cumberland Post Office opens on October 13, 1894.

University of Washington students celebrate their Special Day at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition on October 13, 1909.

A new section of the Pacific Highway from Blaine to Ferndale, including the Dakota Creek Bridge, opens to traffic on October 13, 1928.

County Commissioners approve new Comprehensive Plan for King County on October 13, 1964.

SuperSonics play first regular season game on October 13, 1967.

Tacoma City Light's Mossyrock Dam on the Cowlitz River generates electricity on October 13, 1968.

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rules National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) applicable to proposed Trident submarine base at Bangor on October 13, 1976.

Port of Tacoma opens the North Intermodal Yard, the first dockside intermodal railyard on the West Coast, on October 13, 1981.

Two men with automatic weapons burst into a Pasco auto body shop and kill five on October 13, 1987.

University Branch, The Seattle Public Library, reopens after renovations on October 13, 2007.

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Maxine Cushing Gray publishes the first issue of Northwest Arts on January 17, 1975.

Gray, Maxine Cushing (1909-1987)

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