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April 16, 2015 – April 22, 2015

Earth Day

Forty-five years ago this week, on April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day celebration was held to raise awareness of environmental issues. On that day, Washington U.S. Senator Henry M. Jackson -- a leader on environmental legislation -- spoke at UW and WSU on the dangers of environmental degradation. In Pullman, some students pelted him with marshmallows due to his hawkish stance on the Vietnam War, but Jackson caught a few and threw them back, eliciting cheers.

In keeping with Earth Day celebrations, we also note that this week marks anniversaries of two analyses of the Northwest's natural world that took place two centuries ago. On April 22, 1812, fur trader, explorer, and geographer David Thompson left Kettle Falls for Montreal, having spent the previous year undertaking a scientific survey of the Columbia River. His explorations led to the first accurate rendition of the Inland Northwest north of the Snake River.

And 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. A year later, he made the first recorded ascent of the Cascade Mountains.

This Earth Day, we hope you'll do some exploring of your own to learn more about the state we live in. HistoryLink currently has close to 600 essays that pertain to Washington's environment and environmental history -- plenty to keep you informed and aware. So grab a tablet or smart phone and enjoy some of them under that tree you just planted. Hopefully on a sunny day.

Opening Day

Century 21 -- America's Space Age World's Fair -- opened in Seattle on April 21, 1962, and for the rest of that summer visitors got an optimistic glimpse of things to come, even though the fair got off to a rocky start and almost ended with a bang.

Two of the fair's notable icons each have double anniversaries this week. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on April 17, 1961, for the Space Needle and it was named a City of Seattle historic landmark on April 19, 1999. And April 19, 1962, saw the maiden run of the Monorail, which was named a landmark on April 16, 2003.

News Then, History Now

Firefight: On April 18, 1889, a devastating fire wiped out most of downtown Cheney. It was just the first of many notable conflagrations throughout the state that year. Seattle's Great Fire struck in June, much of Ellensburg went up in flames a month later, and Spokane residents felt the heat a month after that. This week also marks the anniversary of a major fire on the Sammamish Plateau, on April 16, 1939.

Home Site: On April 22, 1889, Duncan Hunter filed a homestead claim to 80 acres of dense forest in south Snohomish County, becoming the first non-Indian resident of what would become Lynnwood. Other homesteaders soon followed, but the city didn't incorporate until April 20, 1959.

Work Stops: 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.

Open Shops: Sixty-five years ago this week, on April 21, 1950, hordes of shoppers attended the opening of Northgate Mall, which was designed by John Graham Jr., later chief architect for the Space Needle. Graham's architectural firm also helped shape Seattle's waterfront.

Two of a Kind: Fifty-five years ago this week, on April 16, 1960, Tacoma's new Cheney Stadium hosted its first baseball game. Twenty-three years later, the city welcomed a larger sports arena when the Tacoma Dome opened on April 21, 1983.

Nevermind: On April 17, 1991, Nirvana debuted the song "Smells Like Teen Spirit" at Seattle's OK Hotel, an all-ages rock club located in Seattle's Pioneer Square. The song went on to become a smash hit and an anthem for a generation of rock 'n' roll fans.

Quote of the Week

Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children's children.

                               --Theodore Roosevelt

Image of the Week

On April 16, 1971, this billboard appeared in response to the Boeing Bust.

Today in Washington History      RSS Feed

Seattle's first automatic traffic light begins operation on April 21, 1924.

Japanese Americans are ordered to evacuate Seattle on April 21, 1942.

Northgate Shopping Mall (Seattle) opens on April 21, 1950.

Century 21 World's Fair opens in Seattle on April 21, 1962.

Plane crashes during Century 21 opening day festivities on April 21, 1962.

Belgian waffles are introduced in America at the Seattle World's Fair on April 21, 1962.

Tacoma Dome opens its doors on April 21, 1983.

Next 50 celebration starts its six-month run with opening day ceremonies at Seattle Center on April 21, 2012.

New Essays This Week       RSS Feed

M.V. Liu Lin Hai, first ship from People's Republic of China to visit U.S., docks at Pier 91 in Seattle on April 18, 1979.

Victor L. Kandle is awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously on May 11, 1945.

Gogerty, Robert Emmett "Bob" (1940-2014)

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