William O. Douglas Betty Bowen Carl Maxey Chief Joseph Bertha Landes Buffalo Soldier Home
Search Encyclopedia
Advanced Search
Donate Now! Book Store Featured Eassy Sponsor of the Week
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
6771 HistoryLink.org essays now available      
Donate Subscribe


Cyberpedias Cyberpedias
Timeline Essays Timeline Essays
People's Histories People's Histories

Selected Collections
Cities & Towns Cities & Towns
County Thumbnails Counties
Biographies Biographies
Interactive Cybertours Interactive Cybertours
Slide Shows Slideshows
Public Ports Public Ports
Audio & Video Audio & Video

Research Shortcuts

Map Searches
Alphabetical Search
Timeline Date Search
Topic Search


Book of the Fortnight
Audio/Video Enhanced
History Bookshelf
Klondike Gold Rush Database
Duvall Newspaper Index
Wellington Scrapbook

More History

Washington FAQs
Washington Milestones
Honor Rolls
Columbia Basin
Walla Walla
Roads & Rails

April 17, 2014 - April 23, 2014

High in the Sky

On April 17, 1961, a modest crowd gathered in Seattle to watch groundbreaking ceremonies for the Space Needle. It took a month to dig the 30-foot-deep hole for the foundation, which required 2,800 cubic yards of concrete and rebar to fill. Eight months later, workers topped off the structure, which was then fitted out and sharpened up in time for the opening of the Seattle World's Fair on April 21, 1962.

The concept for the Needle came to Seattle World's Fair Commission chair Eddie Carlson in 1959, while he dined in a restaurant atop a broadcast tower in Stuttgart, Germany. Convinced that a similar structure would become a defining symbol for the space-age fair in Seattle, he doodled his idea for fellow fair officials, who passed it along to architects John Graham Jr., Victor Steinbrueck, and John Ridley to give it form.

Graham, who had previously built Northgate Mall -- which also celebrates an anniversary this week -- led the design process, and also became one of five investors to fund the Needle's construction, along with Bagley Wright, Ned Skinner, Norton Clapp, and Howard S. Wright. Building the structure was an engineering feat that required tremendous amounts of steel to support the observation platform and revolving restaurant at the top.

The Space Needle proved to be one of the most popular attractions at the Century 21 Exposition, and remains so in the actual twenty-first century that it was meant to inspire. It was designated a City of Seattle historic landmark 15 years ago this week, and it still looks as modern today as it did five decades ago.

Down on the Ground

On April 20, 1825, Scottish naturalist David Douglas arrived at Fort Vancouver, one month after the fur-trading outpost opened on the north bank of the Columbia River in present-day Clark County. Douglas, a collector for England's Horticultural Society, was dispatched to the Northwest coast to bring back specimens and seeds of regional plants for introduction into British gardens and forests.

For the next two years, Douglas traveled extensively throughout present-day Washington and Oregon collecting thousands of plant specimens, as well as geological samples. Most of his first year was spent exploring the wet western forests, and included the first recorded ascent of the Cascade Mountains. In 1826, he extended his explorations eastward and visited retired fur trader Jaco Finlay, founder of Spokane House. After returning to England, Douglas made two more journeys to the Columbia River before dying under mysterious circumstances in Hawaii in 1834.

News Then, History Now

Meet and Greet: On April 22, 1812, less than a year after he arrived at Kettle Falls, explorer and mapmaker David Thompson left there for Montreal, his survey of the Columbia River complete. During his travels, Thompson documented many of his meetings with Indian tribes, including the Sanpoil, the Nespelem, the Methow, the Sinkayuse, the Wanapum, and the Palus.

Feel the Heat: One hundred and twenty-five years ago this week, on April 18, 1889, a devastating fire wiped out much of Cheney. The town rebuilt in brick, but suffered yet again when the main administration building of the State Normal School -- now Eastern Washington University -- burned down on April 24, 1912.

Ferry Call: One hundred years ago this week, on April 23, 1914, the ferry Suquamish -- the first diesel-powered passenger vessel built in the United States -- was launched in Seattle. Sixty years ago this week, on April 17, 1954, the ferry Rhododendron entered service as the first vessel purchased by the newly formed Washington State Ferries. Last year, the Rhody was sold following her retirement.

Music Hall: Eighty-five years ago this week, on April 19, 1929, the Fox Theatre became the last movie house to open in Seattle before the stock market crashed later that year. Renovated by new owners and renamed the Roxy, the venue became the target of a mysterious bombing incident on April 17, 1933. Despite the best efforts of Allied Arts, a wrecking ball demolished the theater -- by then called the Music Hall -- in 1991.

Walkout: One of Washington's longest and nastiest strikes began on April 22, 1948, when aeromechanics walked out of Boeing. Group Health Cooperative expressed solidarity with the machinists, but the strike took a peculiar twist when Boeing allied with Teamsters leader Dave Beck to lure workers into an alternative union local. The IAM beat back Beck, but returned to work after six months with no new contract.

Green Sprout: The first Earth Day celebration was held on April 22, 1970, to raise awareness of environmental issues. On that day, Washington Senator Henry M. Jackson -- a leader on environmental legislation -- spoke at UW and WSU, but was jeered due to his hawkish stance on the Vietnam War. Some students pelted him with marshmallows, but Jackson caught a few and threw them back, eliciting cheers.

Quote of the Week

There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.

                          --G. K. Chesterton

Image of the Week

The Tacoma Dome opened on April 21, 1983.

Today in Washington History      RSS Feed

Contract for construction of Cedar River Pipeline Number One awarded on April 19, 1899.

Gisell Herzog founds first Seattle chapter of Hadassah on April 19, 1923.

Fox (Music Hall) Theatre opens in Seattle on April 19, 1929.

Seattle's Monorail is christened on April 19, 1962, just two days before Century 21 opens.

Stokely Carmichael speaks to 4,000 at Seattle's Garfield High School on April 19, 1967.

Seattle Radical Women hold what is likely the nation's first women's liberation demonstration on April 19, 1968.

Seattle City Council approves open housing ordinance on April 19, 1968.

The Washington House of Representatives votes to restrict pay toilets on April 19, 1977.

Democratic State Senator Sid Snyder shocks Legislature by resigning from office to protest GOP tactics on April 19, 1997.

Space Needle officially becomes a City of Seattle historic landmark on April 19, 1999.

State Senate adopts Resolution 8675 honoring the sesquicentennial of the landing of the Denny Party on Alki Beach on April 19, 2001.

Seattle pioneer Doc Maynard's gravestone in Seattle's Lake View Cemetery is rededicated on April 19, 2003.

King County is renamed in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 19, 2005.

New Essays This Week       RSS Feed

Wehn, James A. (1882-1973)

Everson -- Thumbnail History

Special Suites
A-Y-P Exposition
Century 21 Exposition
Civil War in Washington
Dance Marathons
Group Health
King County 1st Citizens
Lewis & Clark
Port of Seattle
Port of Tacoma
Rose Red & Spooks
Sea-Tac Airport
Seattle Children's Hospital
Seattle City Light
Seattle Public Library
Southeast Seattle
Washington Forests
Washington Islands
Washington Public Ports
Washington State Ferries
WTO Protests 1999
Agriculture | Asian & Pacific Islander Americans | Aviation | Biographies | Black Americans | Buildings | Business | Calamities | Celebrities | Cities & Towns | Counties | Crime | Curiosities | Economics | Education | Environment | Exploration | Fairs & Festivals | Film | Firsts | Gays & Lesbians | Government & Politics | Health | Hispanics & Latinos | Industry | Infrastructure | Irish Americans | Italian Americans | Jews in Washington | Labor | Landmarks | Law | Maritime | Media | Most-Least | Music & Musicians | Northwest Indians | Organizations | Pioneers | Recreation | Religion | Roads & Rails | Roots | Scandals | Scandinavians | Science & Technology | Seattle Neighborhoods | Slavic Americans | Society | South-Asian Americans | Sports |Theater & Dance | Vanished | Visual Arts | War & Peace | Washington Rivers | Weather | Women's History | Writers & Poets
Major Funding Provided By
4 Culture City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture Port of Seattle Washington Ports Vulcan Inc. Seattle Public Library Group Health Coop Port of Tacoma Bartell Drugs Tupper Mack Jensen Wells PLCC The Next Fifty KCTS Seattle Channel MOHAI Washington State Historical Society BlackPast.org King County
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search

HistoryLink.org is the first online encyclopedia of local and state history created expressly for the Internet. (SM)
HistoryLink.org is a free public and educational resource produced by History Ink, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt corporation.
Contact us by phone at 206.447.8140, by mail at Historylink, 1411 4th Ave. Suite 803, Seattle WA 98101 or email admin@historylink.org