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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.

This Week Then


News Then, History Now

Healthy Desires

On August 2, 1878, the Sisters of Providence opened their first hospital in Seattle on the present site of the William Kenzo Nakamura Federal Courthouse. But their work was far from over. One year later, on August 3, 1879, the cornerstone was laid for St. Mary's Hospital in Walla Walla, adjacent to St. Vincent's Academy, established by the Sisters in 1864.

Notable Fires

On August 4, 1889, the Great Spokane Fire destroyed almost all of downtown Spokane Falls. On August 2, 1909, a fire destroyed the Snohomish County Courthouse in Everett. And on July 30, 1914, a flash fire destroyed Seattle's Grand Trunk Pacific dock.

Over the Wires

On July 31, 1899, hydroelectric generators began producing energy deep in the bowels of Snoqualmie Falls, and they are still in operation today. This week also marks the anniversary of FDR's first visit to Grand Coulee Dam on August 3, 1934. Three years later he signed the measure that created the Bonneville Power Administration, which continues to deliver power from Grand Coulee and 30 other dams.


This week marks the birthdays of two neighboring communities in south King County that incorporated nearly a half-century apart. The City of Pacific, which straddles the King-Pierce County line, incorporated on August 2, 1909, a few years after the Seattle-Tacoma Interurban Railway brought growth and development to the White River Valley area. Algona, located north of Pacific, was also platted in the 1900s, but didn't incorporate until August 1, 1955.

The View is Terrific

In 1929 freshman state representative Pearl Wannamaker succeeded in getting both houses of the state legislature to unanimously approve the construction of a bridge connecting Whidbey Island to the mainland. Unfortunately for island residents, Governor Roland Hartley vetoed the project. Wanamaker persevered and was able to pass the bridge plan after the 1932 election, which Democrats won in a landslide. The Deception Pass and Canoe Pass bridges joining Island and Skagit counties opened on July 31, 1935, and have since become one of Washington's most attractive tourist destinations.

The Heat was Horrific

On July 29, 2009, a scorching weeklong heat wave across the Pacific Northwest peaked with record-high temperatures throughout the state. Those records were again shattered last month when temperatures in Western Washington reached as high as 118 degrees. 

Today in
Washington History

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Image of the Week

Five years ago this week, on August 4, 2016, Pioneer Cemetery in Auburn, a burial site since the 1860s, was awarded landmark status by the City of Auburn and King County.

Quote of the Week

"I like to think that the Moon is there, even if I am not looking at it."

--Albert Einstein

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