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Diablo Dam incline railway climbing Sourdough Mountain, 1930. Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archives, 2306.
Children waving to ferry, 1950. Courtesy Museum of History and Industry.
Loggers in the Northwest woods. Courtesy Washington State Digital Archives.

HistoryLunch is coming! 

Thursday, September 23rd, at 11:30 a.m.

Join us in supporting HistoryLink­—a treasure trove of Washington state history—as we take a look back at four disasters in Washington's past and the remarkable recoveries that followed, and consider how the past might guide us as we emerge from COVID-19. 

Limited seating at the in-person event at the Rainier Club in Seattle.
Unlimited space at the virtual event, which will stream on the event page.

Find out more and register at

Our thanks to Kiku Hughes for the illustration featured above.

This Week Then


News Then, History Now

Grant Visitation

On September 20, 1852, Captain Ulysses S. Grant arrived at Columbia Barracks on the Columbia River in what is now Clark County. In 1909, 32 years after Grant's two terms as U.S. president ended, Grant County was named in his honor.

Garden Location

On September 20, 1853, the Upper Yakamas in the Wenas Valley hosted the Longmire-Byles wagon train, headed for Naches Pass. Chief Owhi hmself supplied the pioneers with produce from his gardens. Three decades later, David Longmire, nine years old in 1853, returned to the Wenas Valley and purchased the site of Owhi's gardens, adding it to his farm. 

Fishing Vocation

On September 20, 1888, the Northwest's commercial-halibut fishery began when the schooner Oscar and Hattie arrived at Tacoma with 50,000 pounds of the tasty fish. Thirty-five years later, fish stocks had declined so drastically that the Pacific Halibut Convention was signed, and today the fishery is one of the world's healthiest.


Yakima County has three cities celebrating birthdays this week. Sunnyside incorporated on September 16, 1902, Wapato did the same exactly six years later, and Grandview became a city on September 20, 1909. Elsewhere in the state, Gold Bar incorporated on September 6, 1910, and on September 18, 1947, Winslow became a city, but later changed its name to Bainbridge Island after annexing the entire land mass.

Flu Infestation

On September 21, 1918, the worldwide "Spanish Flu" pandemic officially arrived in Washington with the report of 11 cases at Camp Lewis. Within two weeks, 700 cases were reported in Seattle, including one death at the University of Washington's Naval Training Center. The flu remained prevalent until the spring of 1919, during which time nearly 5,000 people were killed by it in Washington.

Voter Negation

On September 19, 1995, Seattle voters rejected a levy for the Seattle Commons -- a plan to transform the South Lake Union neighborhood into a high-tech corridor -- and also nixed funding for a new stadium for the Seattle Mariners. Nevertheless, South Lake Union has evolved into something similar, and baseball fans got their wish in 1999.

Today in
Washington History

New On HistoryLink

Image of the Week

Explosions at the Puget Sound and Alaska Powder Mill rocked Mukilteo and Everett on September 17, 1930

Quote of the Week

"Men may dam it and say that they have made a lake, but it will still be a river. It will keep its nature and bide its time, like a caged animal alert for the slightest opening. In time, it will have its way; the dam, like the ancient cliffs, will be carried away piecemeal in the currents."

--Wendell Berry

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