May 16, 2013 - May 22, 2013
In 1895, the University of Washington moved from downtown Seattle to its present location, which at the time was heavily forested and undeveloped. The campus took root on the northern section of the property but, as the university grew, its regents sought ways to develop the rest of the grounds without breaking the budget. They found their golden opportunity when Seattle began making plans to host a world's fair.
UW supporters like professor Edmond Meany advocated locating the fairgrounds of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (AYP) on campus in order to gain new buildings and clear and grade the forested acreage for future use. The regents agreed, and on May 17, 1907, they approved John C. Olmsted's plan for the grounds, the legacy of which can still be seen today.
Olmsted had arrived in Seattle four years earlier to design city parks, and the AYP project meshed perfectly with his master plan for parks and boulevards throughout the city. But with only two years before the fair's opening there was plenty of grading and landscaping to be done, along with all of the building construction.
In the end the AYP was a huge success as was Olmsted's layout. On May 18, 1915, the UW regents approved a new campus plan by architect Carl F. Gould, who built upon Olmsted's legacy and added important changes of his own. The campus has seen many more changes since then, but the Olmsted "footprint" can still be seen, long after it was imprinted more than a century ago.
Sights and Sounds
Thanks to funding from 4Culture, we've added more video clips to some of our essays. For starters, check out Round One of the historic bout between Pete Rademacher and Floyd Patterson for the world heavyweight championship, in Seattle's Sicks' Stadium on August 22, 1957. If that doesn't knock you out, watch Impresario Extraordinaire Cecilia Schultz in 1966, discussing the circumstances that brought her to Seattle in the first decade of the twentieth century and her early experiences promoting classical music in what was in many ways still a frontier town.
Dr. Ruby Shu, and her daughter Karen, are interviewed about "Dr. Ruby's" pioneering role as the first Japanese American woman physician in Seattle. And we've got two clips of President Kennedy's participation in groundbreaking ceremonies for construction of the N-Reactor at the Hanford Nuclear site on September 26, 1963. Finally, complete your viewing pleasure with a glimpse of the 1939 Firecracker Golf Tournament in Spokane, featuring Hitt's Fireworks of Seattle.
News Then, History Now
New in Town: On May 16, 1864, a ship carrying 11 young women arrived in Seattle from New England under the escort of Asa Shinn Mercer. This first of two contingents of Mercer Girls had an instant impact on Seattle's mostly male frontier culture and included the town's first public school teacher. Much later it inspired the TV series Here Come the Brides.
Up and Down: On May 17, 1877, Seattle adopted a datum point -- the point from which all other elevations in the city are based -- in Pioneer Square. After the Great Fire of 1889, it was moved a block north, where you can still see it marked today. And in other topographical history, this week is the anniversary of a mysterious island's appearance in Lake Union on May 16, 1962. It came, it went, as did a few others. None have been seen since.
Dockside Tumble: On May 19, 1912, a deadly tragedy occurred at Seattle's Colman Dock. Less than a month earlier, the ferry terminal suffered severe damage after being struck by the steamship Alameda. While the structure was being repaired, ferry passengers had to board vessels via a freight gangplank. This unusual docking situation led to a collapse that injured 58 and killed two.
Buildings Crumble: On May 19, 1935, tragedy struck Yakima's Frontier Days parade when a building collapsed, killing one spectator and injuring 32. And on May 20, 1958, a massive fire destroyed the Seattle Cedar Manufacturing plant in Ballard, but thankfully with no loss of life.
Concert in the Park: On May 18, 1952, Paul Robeson performed at an outdoor concert for more than 25,000 people at Peace Arch Park in Blaine. Robeson's passport had been confiscated due to his political views, which prevented his entry into Canada. Two days later, he was almost barred from speaking and performing in Seattle, but he overcame cold-war hysteria to make his voice heard.
Onset of the Dark: On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens popped its lid, belching out rivers of mud and a plume of boiling gas. Ash dumped all over Eastern Washington, forcing travelers off the highways. This caused tremendous problems in Ritzville, some 200 miles away from the volcano.
Cities Make Their Mark: A handful of Washington cities celebrate birthdays this week. In 1890, Shelton, Blaine, and Hoquiam incorporated days apart from each other, on May 17, May 20, and May 21, respectively. One year later, Anacortes incorporated on May 19, 1891. And Arlington became a city on May 20, 1903.
Quote of the Week
Life is like a landscape. You live in the midst of it but can describe it only from the vantage point of distance.
Image of the Week
On May 22, 1903, Teddy Roosevelt spoke atop this stump in Chehalis. A few years later, Ezra Meeker posed next to it.