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Century 21 -- The 1962 Seattle World's Fair, Part 1
The 1962 Seattle World's Fair, otherwise known as Century 21, gave visitors a glimpse of the future and left Seattle with a lasting legacy. The exposition gave Seattle world-wide recognition, effectively "putting it on the map." Years of planning went into the fair through the hard work of visionaries, go-getters, civic boosters, and dreamers. Many of the concepts and icons of Century 21 remain ingrained in Seattle culture, even as the "real" 21st Century begins.
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Century 21 -- The 1962 Seattle World's Fair, Part 2
To many, there never was a fair to compare to the Seattle World's Fair, or Century 21. Between April 21 and October 21, 1962, close to 10 million people visited the fair to climb the Space Needle, ride the Monorail, see the exhibits, take in a show, and enjoy the food, fun, and festivities. Maybe one of these people was you.
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Chief Seattle (Seattle, Chief Noah [born si?al, 178?-1866])
Chief Seattle, or si?al in his native Lushootseed language, led the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes as the first Euro-American settlers arrived in the greater Seattle area in the 1850s. Baptized Noah by Catholic missionaries, Seattle was regarded as a "firm friend of the Whites," who named the region's future central city in his honor. He was a respected leader among Salish tribes, signing the Point Elliott (Mukilteo) Treaty of 1855, which relinquished tribal claims to most of the area, and opposing Native American attempts to dislodge settlers during the "Indian Wars" of 1855-1856. Chief Seattle retired to the Suquamish Reservation at Port Madison, and died there on June 7, 1866. This essay includes a sound recording of the correct pronunciation of Chief Seattle's name, provided by Skagit elder Vi Hilbert (1918-2008).
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Chief Seattle -- his Lushootseed name and other important words pronounced in Lushootseed by Vi Hilbert
In this sound recording, renowned Skagit elder Vi Hilbert (1918-2008) correctly pronounces Chief Seattle's name and other common names in Lushootseed, the language of the several Coast Salish peoples. The recording was done on December 7, 2006, by Janet Yoder, a longtime student of Hilbert's and who has written on her life and work in preserving the Lushootseed language. The file also contains a transcription of the tape.
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Clinton, Gordon Stanley (1920-2011)
Gordon Clinton served as the mayor of Seattle more than a half century ago, but he helped lay the groundwork for the city that exists today. During his eight years in office, Seattle adopted its first comprehensive plan; began cleaning up Lake Washington; reached out to a former enemy by establishing a Sister City program in Japan; and welcomed the future with Century 21, the Seattle World’s Fair. Clinton’s tenure also marked a transition between the sedate fifties and the turbulent sixties, when a number of festering and contentious social issues began to move onto the public stage. The city’s first "sit-in" to protest racial discrimination took place in his office. Neighborhood activists took to the streets to demand changes in the design of the Seattle Freeway (today’s Interstate 5), which they derisively called "the Big Ditch." Clinton reacted to these and other challenges with a mix of Eisenhower-era conventionality and forward-thinking progressivism. He left City Hall in 1964 with an untarnished reputation for fairness and integrity. "My Democratic friends said I appointed too many Republicans," he told HistoryLink co-founder Walt Crowley in a 2004 interview. "My Republican friends said I appointed too many Democrats. So I did it just right."
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Dunbar, Bonnie J. (b. 1949)
Bonnie Dunbar, the first woman from Washington state to become an astronaut, rocketed into space five times. Only a handful of other American astronauts have heard the countdown to liftoff from the inside of a spacecraft more often than she has. After her last flight, in 1998, she worked as an administrator for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and then as chief executive officer of the Museum of Flight in Seattle. But she defines herself as first and foremost an engineer, with an abiding interest in the problems that need to be solved if human beings are ever going to be able to explore the farther reaches of space. She loved the view she had of earth, looking down while orbiting 200 miles above the planet, but she was equally inspired by looking the other way, straight ahead, toward the stars, into infinity and the future. "There's no edge," she says. "We really won't know what's out there until we explore, and we need to do that" (Tate interview).
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Dyer, Pauline (Polly) (b. 1920)
Polly Dyer is a Seattle conservationist and environmentalist. Her dedication to safeguarding Washington's Olympic coastline and forests and to protecting wilderness areas across the state has had a profound impact on the successful preservation of Washington's natural areas -- untouched, untrammeled wilderness. For more than a half century, Dyer has inspired her peers and succeeding generations of conservationists. Her efforts have ranged from grand -- lobbying congress and the state legislature, spearheading major environmental movements, rallying recruits with hundreds of stirring public speeches -- to grassroots -- feeding and housing wilderness workers and serving as "den mother" and entry point into conservationism for scores of young people.
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Ellis, James Reed (b. 1921)
A retired municipal bond lawyer, James R. Ellis has never held public office, never headed a major corporation, and never been rich. Yet he has left a bigger footprint on Seattle and King County than perhaps any other single individual, as a citizen activist for more than half a century. He was a leader in the campaigns to clean up Lake Washington in the 1950s; to finance mass transit, parks, pools, and other public facilities through "Forward Thrust" bonds in the 1960s; to preserve farmlands in the 1970s; to build and later expand the Washington State Convention & Trade Center in the 1980s, and to establish the Mountains to Sound Greenway along the I-90 corridor in the 1990s. He is known for his tenacity when taking on an issue: most of these projects became realities only after years of opposition. He's been slammed from the right as a Communist and from the left as a lackey for the business community. He has also been much honored, including a First Citizen award from the Seattle-King County Association of Realtors in 1968, a national Jefferson Award in 1976, and a Lifetime Achievement award from American Lawyer in 2005.
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Ethiopian and Eritrean Communities in Seattle
Ethiopians and Eritreans have lived in the Seattle area since the late 1960s, beginning with university students. From 1980 with the passage of the Refugee Act until about 2000, thousands of Ethiopians and Eritreans arrived in Seattle as immigrants and as refugees as a result of oppressive political regimes, drought, and war. In the early twenty-first century, Ethiopians and Eritreans have come to the United States through the Diversity Immigration Visa program, which grants permanent resident cards to potential immigrants based on a lottery system. Both Ethiopian and Eritrean communities have thrived in Seattle, but also face similar challenges. These include preparing the aging first generation of immigrants for retirement and keeping children in school and helping them to become good citizens through after-school programming at their respective community centers. Community centers provide a social space and many programs including those designed to help preserve culture and heritage. The Ethiopian Community Mutual Association welcomes all Ethiopians. (Ethiopians are ethnically diverse and speak different languages.) The Eritrean Association in Greater Seattle serves the Eritrean community.
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Evans, Daniel J. (b. 1925) and Nancy Bell Evans (b. 1933)
Dan and Nancy Evans have devoted nearly half a century to public service, in and out of political office, with a level of commitment matched by few of their fellow citizens. As a three-term governor of Washington and later United States senator, Dan Evans earned the nickname "Straight Arrow." He was so widely admired and his administration so untouched by scandal that a prominent columnist once joked he was "no fun." Nancy Evans has served on the boards of innumerable educational and nonprofit organizations, including the Board of Trustees of her alma mater, Whitman College. The Evanses are known for the heft of their Rolodex and their willingness to tap into it in support of various good causes. Together they personify the term "power couple" in Washington state. The Seattle-King County Association of Realtors named Dan and Nancy Evans First Citizens of 2003.
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Everett Massacre (1916)
The Everett Massacre of Sunday, November 5, 1916, has been called the bloodiest labor confrontation in Northwest history. On that day a group of Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), also known as Wobblies, traveled from Seattle to Everett aboard the steamers Verona
, intending to speak at the corner of Hewitt and Wetmore avenues in support of a strike by local shingle-weavers. A group of citizen-deputies under the authority of Snohomish County Sheriff Donald McRae (b. 1868) refused to let them land. A shot was fired, followed by several minutes of gunfire that killed at least five Wobblies and two deputies. The ships returned to Seattle, where 74 IWW members were arrested and taken back to the Snohomish County jail. Teamster Thomas H. Tracy was first to be tried, for the murder of Jefferson Beard. In the dramatic trial that followed, held in Seattle, Tracy was acquitted and the other Wobblies were released.
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Farmer, Frances (1913-1970) -- Part 1
Seattle-born actress Frances Farmer, a rising star in the 1930s, is remembered today more for her unfortunate life story than for her once promising career. Talented and beautiful, Farmer was also a willful, troubled, and self-destructive woman. After a period of increasingly erratic behavior, she was declared legally insane and institutionalized in 1944. Released in 1950, she spent the rest of her life in relative obscurity. Since her death in 1970, however, she has become something of a cult figure, the subject of three books, three movies (the best known of which is the 1982 film Frances
, starring Jessica Lange), several off-Broadway plays, scores of magazine articles, and a song, "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle," by Kurt Cobain, which includes this line: "She'll come back as fire, to burn all the liars, and leave a blanket of ash on the ground."
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Farmer, Frances (1913-1970) -- Part 2
The once-promising career of Seattle-born actress Frances Farmer had declined by the early 1940s. A talented but troubled woman, she was relegated to minor roles in low-budget films and then dropped by the major studios altogether. In 1944, after a period of increasingly erratic behavior, she was declared legally insane and institutionalized. She attempted a comeback in the 1950s but never regained the momentum of her early years in Hollywood and on Broadway. Since her death in 1970, however, she has become something of a cult figure, better known for her harrowing personal life than for her relatively brief career. This is Part Two of her story.
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Foster, Donald Isle (1925-2012)
The great-grandson of Oregon Trail emigrants, Donald Isle Foster hails from a solid line of Pacific Northwest pioneers. He first came to prominence in the business community as the Director of Exhibits for Seattle's 1962 World's Fair (the Century 21 Exposition). Later he earned a reputation as one of the town's consummate aesthetes and a pillar of the local arts establishment during his 30 years with the taste-making Foster / White Gallery in Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood. Along the way, Foster fostered the careers of many of the Northwest's finest artists and he also benefited the community by serving on high-profile posts with the Seattle Symphony board, the Seattle Repertory Theater board, and the guiding committee of the Seattle Art Museum. (Note: This essay benefits greatly from extensive quotes taken from a recorded interview with Foster conducted in 2010 by Kathrine Beck and C. David Hughbanks.) Donald Foster died on March 24, 2012, in Palm Springs, California, survived by his longtime partner, Terry Arnett.
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Goldsworthy, Patrick Donovan (b. 1919)
Patrick Goldsworthy's initial entry into hiking was through the original Sierra Club Chapter in his hometown of Berkeley, California, where he realized it took citizens' active participation to protect the beautiful places they loved. After moving to Seattle, he co-founded the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Sierra Club and the North Cascades Conservation Council (N3C). He worked for decades to protect the North Cascades, playing an instrumental role in establishing the North Cascades National Park, preventing High Ross Dam, and creating designated wilderness areas within the park boundaries. Goldsworthy earned a respected position amongst his colleagues for his humble persistence and leadership, his consensus making skills, his ability to inspire loyalty amongst others, and his unwavering devotion to the ideals of conservationism.
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Gossett, Larry (b. 1945)
In 1968, Larry Gossett served time on the top floor of the King County Courthouse after being arrested for leading a sit-in at Franklin High School. In 1993, he returned to the same floor -- which had been converted from jail to office space -- as a member of the King County Council. His career -- from Black Power activist in the 1960s, African American community organizer in the 1970s and 1980s, to his current position as an elected politician -- has followed the ups and downs of the civil rights movement in Seattle and its aftermath.
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Greive, R. R. ("Bob") (1919-2004)
R. R. "Bob" Greive was a political force in Washington state for more than 40 years, first as a state senator and then as a member of the King County Council. He was a tireless fundraiser, an astute tactician, and a master of hardball politics. As Senate Majority Leader in the 1950s and 1960s, he solicited donations from lobbyists and used the money to help elect senators who, in turn, helped him retain his position as Majority Leader. He once threatened to vote for a Republican as chairman of the County Council if his fellow Democrats didn't let him keep an influential committee chairmanship. Although he advocated affordable housing and other programs that benefited the poor, he scoffed at the idea that politicians were motivated by altruistic notions of public service. "Now, I'm not saying that it's impossible for a person to be motivated just by public service," he said in an oral history recorded in 2001, "but I don't think that's very often the case. I think a person is motivated more by the love of battle and the power and importance and the instant notoriety and all of the other things that go to make up a human being" (Greive, 6).
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Hanford Reach National Monument
The Hanford Reach National Monument -- one of the most important wildlife refuges in Washington state -- is an inadvertent legacy of the United States' nuclear weapons program. Lands within the monument originally served as a buffer around the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. For nearly half a century, Hanford was the primary source of plutonium for the nation's nuclear arsenal. The need for secrecy and security kept the surrounding area free from development. Wildlife flourished, even in the shadows of the reactors that produced, along with plutonium, some of the most toxic waste in the world. The reservation itself remains off limits to the public, while it undergoes the most complicated and costly cleanup in history. But it is encircled by an ecological treasure trove, including the last free-flowing stretch of the Columbia River, the most valuable salmon spawning grounds left on the river, and the largest remnant of undisturbed shrub-steppe habitat in eastern Washington.
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Hansen, Cecile: Tribal Chairwoman of Seattle's Duwamish Peoples
Cecile Ann Hansen -- a descendant within the family of Chief Si 'ahl ("Chief Seattle") -- has served as the elected chair of her people since 1975. During those decades the Duwamish (or in the Salish language of Lushootseed: the Dkhw'Duw'Absh) have made much progress in the ongoing efforts to nurture their arts, language, and culture. But Hansen's original goal -- and the driving imperative behind her sustained efforts ever since -- has simply been to "correct an injustice." Or more precisely: a multitude of injustices that have faced the Duwamish -- ranging from the initial loss of their traditional lands (the town site of Seattle and much of King County) via the Point Elliot Treaty of 1855, to the loss of their fishing rights along the Duwamish River, to the even more tragic refusal of the federal government to grant them official recognition as a legitimate historic tribe.
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Hayner, Jeannette C. (1919-2010)
Despite a late start in politics and competing in a field dominated by men at the time, Jeannette C. Hayner became one of Washington's most powerful state legislators. In 1972 -- 30 years after getting her law degree and after raising three children -- she was elected to the State House of Representatives. Four years later she was elected to the State Senate. While still in her freshman term, she became leader of the Republican caucus in a surprising coup, and within two years was the first woman in state history to be Senate Majority Leader. Short, impeccably dressed, charming, and tough as nails, she ran her caucus with an iron fist, insisting that all members vote together. Her strong leadership made Republicans a force after years of domination by the Democrats. Although a staunch conservative, generally for limited government and against raising taxes, she also was a pragmatist who worked with the opposition to tackle budget crises and manage growth. She never lost an election. When she retired in 1993 at age 73, she had served as a caucus leader longer than anyone in state history. And then she helped launch TVW, Washington state's version of C-Span.
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