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June 25, 2015 – July 1, 2015

Double Birthdays

Soon after Washington became a state in 1889, more than a few communities decided to incorporate. This week two cities celebrate their 125th birthdays, beginning with Snohomish, which incorporated on June 26, 1890. This actually was the city's second incorporation. The first, given the name Cadyville, was made under territorial law in 1888 but invalidated once statehood was achieved.

Snohomish was primarily a lumber town, but the city's early residents showed an interest in culture, as well as the fine (and sometimes not so fine) arts. The town was the seat of Snohomish County until 1897, when that status -- along with the county records -- were moved to the boomtown of Everett. Today the city's downtown business district, along with several residential blocks, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We invite you to visit Snohomish, using our historic downtown cybertour as your guide. And on your way there, be sure to check out some of Snohomish County's historic farms and barns.

Farther north, in Skagit County, Mount Vernon incorporated on June 27, 1890, just one day after Snohomish had done so. Mount Vernon owed much of its early growth to logging, mining, and farming and was a hub on one of Puget Sound's early light-rail corridors. The city also enjoys long-standing support for the performing arts and since incorporation has remained Skagit County's seat. And although it is still a nexus of highways and byways, Mount Vernon received some unfortunate national attention in 2013 when the I-5 Skagit River Bridge collapsed after being dinged by a passing truck.

Multiple Crossings

Speaking of bridges, quite a few of them have anniversaries this week. On July 1, 1891, Seattle's Latona Bridge connected Eastlake with the University District, but was replaced on July 1, 1919, by the University Bridge, which is still in use today. Nearby, the Montlake Bridge opened on June 27, 1925. And in 1940 the Tacoma Narrows Bridge opened for traffic on July 1, but it too suffered a collapse, this one of epic proportion.

And one Washington bridge has two anniversaries this week. On June 30, 2010, the South Park Bridge over the Duwamish River ended its career after carrying traffic for more than 80 years. The neighborhood mourned its loss, but celebrated four years later when a new bridge opened on June 29, 2014.

News Then, History Now

Rocking Ability: Some say that lightning doesn't strike twice, but what about earthquakes? On June 29, 1833, the first eyewitness account of an earthquake in the Puget Sound region was recorded. Thirty-six years later to the day, another quake hit that was felt as far south as Oregon.

Docking Facility: On June 26, 1914, Westport was incorporated at the mouth of Grays Harbor. The town has long been a fishing community and still maintains the largest marina on the Washington coast.

Police Homicide: On June 25, 1901, former Seattle police chief William Meredith -- who had just lost his job due to accusations of corruption made by theater owner John Considine -- attempted to kill Considine in Pioneer Square, but instead was himself gunned down inside the G. O. Guy drugstore. Although the press portrayed Considine as the assailant, he was found not guilty of murder and went on to become a noted and respected member of Seattle society.

Please Take a Ride: A century ago tourists were just beginning to explore the Cascade Mountains by car. On July 1, 1915, the Sunset Highway through Snoqualmie Pass was dedicated, and on July 1, 1917, Paradise Inn welcomed its first weary travelers to Mount Rainier.

Nooks for Books: On June 29, 1973, Walter Carr opened the Elliott Bay Book Co. in Seattle's Pioneer Square. The store has since moved to Capitol Hill. This week also marks the opening of the Carnegie Library in Pasco on June 30, 1911.

A Crowd that's Proud: During the last week of June 1974 local lesbians and gays celebrated Seattle's first Gay Pride Week. Sexual minorities had played leading roles in Seattle history virtually since the town's founding, but they did not emerge from the closet in large numbers until after New York City's infamous Stonewall riots in 1969.

Scintillating and Titillating: On June 28, 2003, the former Civic Auditorium and Seattle Center Opera House opened as Marion Oliver McCaw Hall after an extensive remodel that uncovered some interesting historical artifacts. And on the other end of the cultural spectrum, this week marks the fifth anniversary of the June 27, 2010, closing of the Lusty Lady, a remnant of Seattle's bawdy past.

Quote of the Week

What is the city but the people?

                     --William Shakespeare

Image of the Week

Sixty-five years ago this week, on June 26, 1950, the hydroplane Slo-mo-shun IV, piloted by Stan Sayres, shattered the world speed record on water during a run on Lake Washington.

Today in Washington History      RSS Feed

Latona Bridge spanning Seattle's Lake Union is dedicated on July 1, 1891.

City of Tacoma buys Tacoma Light and Water Co. on July 1, 1893.

Army and National Guard troops hold American Lake Maneuvers beginning on July 1, 1904.

Seattle retires chain gang and opens the Municipal Workhouse and Stockade on Beacon Hill on July 1, 1909.

The National American Woman Suffrage Association holds its first formal evening meeting at Seattle's Plymouth Congregational Church on July 1, 1909.

Highland Park & Lake Burien Railroad begins service on July 1, 1912.

Sunset Highway through Snoqualmie Pass is dedicated on July 1, 1915.

Paradise Inn on Mount Rainier opens on July 1, 1917.

Seattle's University Bridge opens on July 1, 1919.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge is dedicated on July 1, 1940.

William Adair Bugge assumes duties as Director of Highways on July 1, 1949.

State Supreme Court issues confusing ruling in Washington v. Satiacum on treaty fishing rights on July 1, 1957.

First sit-in of the civil rights movement in Seattle occurs on July 1, 1963.

Magnolia Branch, The Seattle Public Library opens on July 1, 1964.

Roy Perry becomes general manager of Port of Tacoma on July 1, 1964.

Medicare becomes available on July 1, 1966, and Group Health Cooperative begins accepting older patients.

African American firefighters increase to 16 in Seattle Fire Department by July 1, 1968.

Immigration and Naturalization Act raises Asian American quotas on July 1, 1968.

Riots erupt in Seattle's Central Area after Franklin High protestors are sentenced on July 1, 1968.

Longshoremen vote to strike West Coast ports on July 1, 1971.

Group Health Cooperative Olympia Medical Center opens on July 1, 1972.

Group Health Cooperative head of Pharmacy Phil Nudelman unveils a computerized prescription system on July 1, 1975.

Mayor Wes Uhlman survives recall attempt on July 1, 1975.

New forest practices rules take effect on July 1, 1976.

Downtown Ellensburg is added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 1, 1977.

Catholic Archbishop of Seattle Hunthausen issues a letter against homosexual discrimination on July 1, 1977.

Washington State University opens Salishan Learning Center in Tacoma on July 1, 1996.

New Essays This Week       RSS Feed

City of Asotin -- Thumbnail History

Evergreen Point Floating Bridge opens on August 28, 1963.

MV Sanpoil makes maiden voyage across Columbia River on August 14, 2013.

Sommers, Helen Elizabeth (b. 1932)

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