Fred Hutchinson James Delmage Ross Dixy Lee Ray George W. Bush Hazel Wolf Henry M Jackson Warren G. Magnuson Home
Search Encyclopedia
Facebook
Advanced Search
Donate Now! Book Store Featured Eassy Sponsor of the Week
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
6805 HistoryLink.org essays now available      
Donate Subscribe

Shortcuts

Libraries
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

Features

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
Everett
Olympia
Seattle
Spokane
Tacoma
Walla Walla
Roads & Rails

Timeline Library

< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Potlatch rioters sack IWW and Socialist headquarters on July 18, 1913.

HistoryLink.org Essay 2541 : Printer-Friendly Format

On July 18, 1913, while thousands throng the streets to watch the Potlatch Days festival parade, soldiers and sailors, aided by civilians, ransack the headquarters of the Industrial Workers of World (IWW) and the Socialist Party. They also begin to trash a mission in the mistaken belief that it is an IWW branch.

The events were precipitated by a melee on July 17, 1913, in which three soldiers and two sailors confronted an IWW street speaker and were assailed by the crowd. The Seattle Times, under the flamboyant publisher Alden Blethen (1845-1915), combined this event with a patriotic speech given at the same time by Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels. The resultant article had the effect of whipping up sentiment against the IWW and Socialists, and against Mayor George Cotterill (1865-1958) for his policy of allowing "anarchist" street speakers.

Rioting in the Streets of Seattle

The following night, on July 18, the rioters, seeking revenge for the previous night's attack, planned their assault while police were busy with the Potlatch parade crowd. The headquarters of the Socialists at 5th Avenue and Virginia Street and those of the IWW at Occidental Avenue and Washington Street were sacked. Literature and furnishings, including two pianos, were piled in the street and set on fire. At 4th Avenue and Pike Street a Socialist news stand owned by Millard Price was demolished. Windows were broken and other property destroyed.

The mob entered a mission on Occidental Avenue and began destruction there, before someone realized it was not IWW-affiliated and called off the attack.

Secretary Daniels said that his speech, which had been portrayed by the Times as an attack on the IWW, was not intended to refer to that organization nor to the local situation, but was simply a call to patriotism. He said it was the same speech he had given in Erie, Pennsylvania, and was not specific to Seattle.

No Regrets

A rear admiral in charge of the reserve fleet expressed regret about the outbreak and said he had dispatched a patrol to round up the troublemakers.

The Seattle Times on the other hand expressed no such regrets in its news article:

Anarchy, the grizzly hydra-headed serpent which Seattle has been forced to nourish in its midst by a naturalized chief executive for eighteen months, was plucked from the city and wiped out in a blaze of patriotism last night.

Sources:
"Anarchy in Seattle Stamped Out When Sailors Get Busy," The Seattle Times, July 19, 1913; "Soldiers and Sailors Mob and Sack Offices of Socialists and I.W.W.," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 19, 1913; Nick Bauroth, "Belltown History: A May Tribute to Anarchy in Seattle," Belltown's Regrade Dispatch, May 5, 2000, p. 5; Sharon A. Boswell and Lorraine McConaghy, Raise Hell and Sell Newspapers: Alden Blethen and The Seattle Times (Pullman: Washington State University Press, 1996).


Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Related Topics: Government & Politics | Fairs & Festivals | Media | Labor | Crime |

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You




Potlatch advertising card, 1911
Postcard


Moose Lodge float in Potlatch parade, Seattle, 1910s
Postcard


Vandalized Seattle headquarters of the IWW, between 7th and 8th avenues on Olive Way, 1913
Courtesy UW Special Collections (Neg. Ashahel Curtis 26837)


Colonel Alden J. Blethen (1845-1915)



 
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