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Japanese shipping firm begins regular run between Seattle and Japan on August 31, 1896.
On August 31, 1896, the Japanese steamship Miiki Maru
arrives in Elliott Bay at the port of Seattle. The Miike Maru
is the first ship owned by the Nippon Yusen Kaisha (Japan Steamship Company) to begin a regular run between Japan and North America. The Yusen Kaisha considered San Diego, San Francisco, Portland, and other Pacific Coast ports before choosing Seattle as its only North America port.
File 1973: Full Text >
Harbor Island, at the time the world's largest artificial island, is completed in 1909.
In 1909, the Puget Sound Bridge and Dredging Co. finishes building Harbor Island with dredge spoils from the Duwamish River and soil dug and sluiced from Beacon Hill in the Jackson Street and Dearborn Street regrades. It is the largest artificial island in the world at approximately 350 acres. Harbor Island will lose this distinction in 1938 to Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay, but will increase in size and surpass Treasure Island once again in 1967. Today, at least two artificial islands are larger. (In the Port of Kobe, Japan, Port Island, completed in 1981, is 1,064 acres, and Rokko Island, completed in 1992, is 1,432 acres.)
File 3631: Full Text >
Governor Marion Hay signs Port District Act, which authorizes creation of public ports to develop and operate harbors, on March 14, 1911.
On March 14, 1911, Governor Marion E. Hay (1865-1933) signs legislation authorizing the establishment of public port districts. The Port District Act, which allows citizens to end private monopoly control of urban harbors, is a victory for progressive and populist reformers then at the height of their influence in Washington. Voters in Seattle and Grays Harbor will create the first two port districts later that year and many more will be established around the state in succeeding years.
File 7241: Full Text >
King County voters create Port of Seattle on September 5, 1911.
On September 5, 1911, a long struggle for control of Seattle's central waterfront climaxes when King County voters approve formation of the Port of Seattle and elect the Port's first three Commissioners: General Hiram Chittenden (1858-1917), Robert Bridges (1861-1921), and Charles Remsberg. The election is a high water mark for the local Progressive Movement, which advocates public control of essential facilities and utilities, and a pivotal defeat for the railroads that had dominated Seattle's harbor since 1874 thanks to imprudent municipal concessions.
File 1002: Full Text >
Port of Seattle commissioners meet for the first time on September 12, 1911.
On September 12, 1911, one week after King County voters created the Port of Seattle and elected them, Seattle's port commissioners meet for the first time. Retired Army Corps of Engineers General Hiram M. Chittenden (1858-1917), radical labor organizer Robert Bridges (1861-1921), and Fremont banker Charles E. Remsberg begin the massive task of planning and developing Seattle's first publicly owned and operated port facilities. These will include Fishermen's Terminal on Salmon Bay and the huge piers that now compose Terminal 91 at Smith Cove, both still integral components of Seattle's waterfront, as well as the original Bell Street Pier and the Port's first docks on the Duwamish Waterway. Over the next century, the Port of Seattle will build on these initial efforts as it transforms Elliott Bay into one of the world's leading container ports, builds and operates Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and develops the fishing fleet terminal, marinas, cruise ship berths, and other facilities that collectively make it a major contributor to regional economic growth.
File 9726: Full Text >
Longshoremen shut down Port of Seattle from January 5-13, 1938.
On January 5, 1938, 1500 Seattle Longshoremen shut down the Port of Seattle. The work stoppage lasts from January 5-13, 1938.
File 743: Full Text >
Port of Seattle agrees to build new regional airport on March 7, 1942.
Soon after Japan attacks Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941), the federal Civil Aviation Authority offers $1 million to any local government that will build a new airport to serve the greater Seattle area. City and county governments are reluctant to undertake the task, but Port of Seattle Commission chairman Horace Chapman feels "it is our duty." The Port Commission agrees on March 7, 1942. The original landing strips at Seattle Tacoma International Airport are completed in October 1944 at a cost of $4 million, and a modern terminal opens on July 9, 1949.
File 1005: Full Text >
Port of Seattle Commission proposes to rename Seattle-Tacoma Airport for Philip G. Johnson on September 15, 1944.
On September 15, 1944, the Port of Seattle Commission votes to rename the new Seattle-Tacoma Airport "Johnson Field" in honor of Philip G. Johnson (1891-1944), Boeing's wartime president, who died the previous day. Tacoma officials quickly block the plan and the name-change is cancelled.
File 3718: Full Text >
Airliner crash kills nine and injures 17 at Sea-Tac Airport on November 30, 1947.
On November 30, 1947, at approximately 2:25 p.m., an Alaska Airlines C-54 charter airliner with 25 passengers and three crewmembers aboard crashes while landing at Seattle-Tacoma Airport, killing nine and injuring 17. One of the dead is a blind passenger in an automobile struck by the airplane.
File 3067: Full Text >
Governor Arthur Langlie dedicates Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on July 9, 1949.
On July 9, 1949, Governor Arthur Langlie (1900-1966) presides at the dedication of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. He warns eagles, hawks, and skylarks to move over for "We, too, have at last won our place beside you in the firmament of heaven." Emphasizing the governor's point, squadrons of Air Force and Navy bombers and jet fighters thunder overhead, while on the ground crowds line up to tour commercial airliners and military planes. Opened during World War II, the facility has been serving passengers for several years under the name Seattle-Tacoma Airport. The dedication ceremony celebrates both the completion of a modern new administration building and passenger terminal and the official naming of Seattle-Tacoma International
File 1006: Full Text >
King County voters approve Port of Seattle expansion on November 8, 1960.
On November 8, 1960, King County votes to expand the Port of Seattle Commission from three to five members and approves a $10 million bond issue for Port development, including construction of revolutionary new cargo container facilities at Piers 46 and 28. Voters elect Gordon Newell and John Hayden to the expanded Port Commission.
File 1983: Full Text >
Ivar Haglund buys Pier 54 on the Seattle waterfront on June 7, 1966.
On June 7, 1966, Ivar Haglund (1905-1985) buys Pier 54 on the Seattle waterfront, home of his Acres of Clams restaurant, for $500,000.
File 2509: Full Text >
Port of Seattle launches record-breaking expansion on January 20, 1968.
On January 20, 1968, the Port of Seattle launches an $80 million expansion, the largest expansion in its history. Plans include the construction of a container-handling facility at the original site of Boeing Plant 1 and a large grain terminal.
File 1361: Full Text >
Police arrest demonstrators protesting construction employment discrimination at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on November 6, 1969.
On November 6, 1969, police arrest 48 protestors during a demonstration at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) protesting discrimination in construction employment. The demonstration is part of an ongoing direct action campaign by the Central Contractors Association (CCA) to win more union construction jobs for blacks and other minorities. CCA leaders Tyree Scott (1940-2003) and Michael K. Ross (1941-2007) are among those arrested. CCA's campaign has previously succeeded in temporarily shutting down all major federally funded construction sites in the Seattle area and prompted a federal civil rights lawsuit against the largely white building trades unions. After the November demonstration at Sea-Tac, a federal judge imposes more restrictions on CCA demonstrations, but in just over six months the same judge will find the unions in violation of civil rights law and mandate a broad affirmative action program to desegregate them.
File 8920: Full Text >
Port of Tacoma becomes new home of TOTE shipping line on June 4, 1976.
On June 4, 1976, with the loading of its vessel Great Land
in Tacoma, Totem Ocean Trailer Express (TOTE) signals a move of its operations from the Port of Seattle to the Port of Tacoma in order to keep pace with demand for shipping to Alaska. Tacoma's Local 23 of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union (ILWU) agree to training to accommodate the vessel's new "roll on, roll off" technology, and workers accomplish a 14.5-hour loading time their first time around, shorter than the unsatisfactory 18 hours in Seattle. Thus begins TOTE's more than three-decade tenancy at the Port of Tacoma and the Port's growing business with Alaska, which by 2008 reaches 70 percent of all shipping to that state from the continental United States.
File 8735: Full Text >
China-U.S. trade resumes as M.V. Liu Lin Hai docks at Port of Seattle on April 18, 1979.
On April 18, 1979, the arrival of the M.V. Liu Lin Hai
at Port of Seattle Terminal 91 ends America's 30-year trade embargo against China. The United States had severed commercial and diplomatic relations with mainland China following the victory of Mao Zedong's Communist forces and the creation of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949.
File 1696: Full Text >
Ivar Haglund is elected, unintentionally, to the Seattle Port Commission on November 8, 1983.
On November 8, 1983, Seattle restaurateur and celebrity Ivar Haglund (1905-1985) is unintentionally elected to a six-year term on the Seattle Port Commission, after he files to run as a publicity gag.
File 2511: Full Text >
Supersonic Concorde airliner pays its first visit to Seattle on November 15, 1984.
On November 15, 1984, a British Airways Concorde supersonic airliner pays its first visit to Seattle. The slender delta-winged SST lands at Boeing Field bearing a cargo of just-bottled Beaujolais nouveau wine accompanied by Seattle restaurateur Mick McHugh and his guests. The following day, the plane carries passengers on a "Flight to Nowhere" over the Pacific Ocean as a fundraiser for the Museum of Flight. It departs Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on November 17, 1984. Nineteen years later the Concordes will be retired. One aircraft will return to Seattle on November 5, 2003, to join the permanent collection of the Museum of Flight.
File 4261: Full Text >
Port of Seattle issues study on December 28, 1988, forecasting that by 2000 Sea-Tac International Airport could reach maximum capacity.
On December 28, 1988, the Port of Seattle publishes a "Comprehensive Planning Review and Airspace Update Study." This study concludes that the existing two runways at Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) International Airport could reach "maximum efficient capacity" by the year 2000, giving impetus to the idea of constructing a third "dependent" runway.
File 4198: Full Text >
Port of Seattle and Puget Sound Council of Governments launch Flight Plan study on May 23, 1989.
On May 23, 1989, the Port of Seattle and Puget Sound Council of Governments (reorganized as the Puget Sound Regional Council in 1991) sign an Interagency Agreement to launch the "Flight Plan" study of future air service capacity needs and solutions, including the possible expansion of the Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) International Airport. The effort is guided by a 39-member Puget Sound Air Transportation Committee and will lead to a controversial decision in 1992 to add a third "dependent" runway at Sea-Tac to maintain airport capacity during low visibility weather conditions.
File 4199: Full Text >
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