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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

7/18/2019

News Then, History Now

Seward's Name

On July 21 and 22, 1869, former Secretary of State William Seward toured Puget Sound on his way to Alaska, and spoke out on the development of Washington Territory. Two years earlier, while in office, Seward had fought for the purchase of Alaska from Russia. Decades later, the discovery of gold in Alaska proved such a boon to Seattle that the grateful city memorialized Seward with a statue, a school, a park, and a neighborhood.

Up in Flame

On July 18, 1900, a fire destroyed half of the business district of downtown Pomeroy, and on July 24, 1924, a fire devastated Twisp. On July 18, 1959, the abandoned Wheeler-Osgood Company mill in Tacoma burned to the ground, and on July 24, 1994, the Tyee Creek Fire began north of Wenatchee, and burned 135,000 acres over 33 days.

When Autos Came

On July 23, 1900, Washington welcomed its first automobile when Ralph Hopkins, the owner of a Woods Electric, arrived in Seattle after driving his vehicle west from Chicago to San Francisco and then north (with lifts from trains helping out here and there). By 1904, there were enough cars in Washington to warrant creation of the state's first Auto Club and establishment of the original State Highway Board the following year.

Racing Tradition

Speedsters whetted their passion on July 20, 1929, when the state's first hydroplanes zoomed across the waters of Seattle's Green Lake. The sport later found a home on Lake Washington. This week also marks the anniversary of the first Unlimited Hydroplane Race on the Columbia River, which occurred at the Tri-Cities on July 24, 1966.

Water Condition

This week marks three anniversaries in water quality history, beginning with the groundbreaking of the Renton Treatment Plant on July 20, 1961, which included a parade through the "Metro Subway." Four years later, the July dedication of Renton's East Division Reclamation Plant took place on July 22, 1965, and on July 20, 1966, West Point wastewater treatment plant was dedicated in Magnolia. Both plants helped fulfill Metro's 1958 promise to clean up Lake Washington.

Out of Commission

On July 20, 1967, the Hyak became the first of four new superferries to ply the waves of Puget Sound. Built in San Diego, the vessel sailed into retirement last month, but her sister ships Kaleetan, Elwha, and Yakima are still in service for at least a few more years.

Today in
Washington History

New Articles This Week

Image of the Week

Eighty years ago this week, on July 24, 1939, the Show Box -- which was just granted landmark status -- opened in Seattle. (Image courtesy MOHAI)

Quote of the Week

"Pilots take no special joy in walking: pilots like flying. Pilots generally take pride in a good landing, not in getting out of the vehicle."

-- Neil Armstrong

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