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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.

Coronavirus Archive Project 

We aren’t waiting for this to be history! HistoryLink is documenting the impact of the pandemic on Washington communities in several ways so future generations can turn to HistoryLink to learn what happened. We have posted a number of articles about the key events so far: 

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We also want to hear your stories for our Coronavirus Archive Project. Our People’s Histories are a rich collection of first-person accounts, and we would like to add your experiences in this pandemic. Visit our Coronavirus Archive Project page to share your story.


This Week Then


News Then, History Now

Making Claims

On July 12, 1775, explorer Bruno de Hezeta landed at what is now Grenville Bay on the Washington coast and claimed the Pacific Northwest for Spain, despite a less-than-friendly welcome by the locals. Canadian explorer David Thompson fared better on July 9, 1811, when he planted the Union Jack at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia rivers, claiming that land for Great Britain. Thompson spent the next few days surveying Celilo Falls, The Dalles, and Cascades Rapids.

Changing Names

On July 13, 1857, Kitsap County was renamed in honor of Chief Kitsap, a Suquamish leader. It had previously been named Slaughter County, after U.S. Army Lieutenant William Slaughter, who was killed by Indians on the White River in 1855. This wouldn't be the only time that poor Lieutenant Slaughter was passed over for honors.

Moved Remains

In the 1860s Seattle's first municipal cemetery was filled with the city's deceased, many relocated from informal plots to make room for downtown development. On July 10, 1884, the graveyard -- located on land owned by David Denny -- was rededicated as Seattle's first public park. Its original residents were again re-interred, mostly to Washelli Cemetery, which is now part of Lake View Cemetery.

Flying Home

On July 9, 1949, the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport opened its first modern terminal, five years after the first runways opened in 1944. Work began on the airport in 1942, when the Port of Seattle agreed to develop a new airport at Bow Lake, midway between Seattle and Tacoma, to help relieve pressure on existing airports caused by the demands of World War II military aviation.

Future Unknown

On July 14, 1984, the West Seattle Bridge was dedicated, more than six years after its predecessor bridge was knocked out of commission by the freighter Chavez. This March the bridge was closed unexpectedly after rapidly expanding cracks were found in its support structure. Work is now underway to determine whether the bridge can be repaired or will have to be demolished.

My How They've Grown

Washington cities that celebrate birthdays this week include Benton City, which incorporated on July 14 1945; Gig Harbor, which incorporated on July 12, 1946; and Richland, which transitioned from being federally owned to being a self-governing city on July 15, 1958.

Today in
Washington History

New On HistoryLink

Image of the Week

On July 15, 1954, the Jet Age began in Seattle with the maiden flight of the Dash-80, prototype for the Boeing 707.

Quote of the Week

"The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering."

--Bruce Lee

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