The free online encyclopedia of Washington state history

7822 HistoryLink.org articles now available.

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

12/3/2020

News Then, History Now

County Inception

On December 7, 1899, Governor John R. Rodgers issued a proclamation that formally established Chelan County out of parts of Kittitas and Okanogan counties. Wenatchee was chosen as the county seat, but residents of Chelan -- which had competed for the honor -- were selected as county officials.

Hotel Reception

After the Washington Hotel was torn down in 1906, and the Lincoln Hotel went up in flames in 1920, Seattle set its sights on a new world-class accommodation. Fundraising began during the city's silver anniversary of the Klondike Gold Rush, and on December 6, 1924, the Olympic Hotel opened in grand style on the site of the old Territorial University.

Key Interception

On December 7, 1941, at 1:28 a.m., a secret United States Navy radio station on Bainbridge Island intercepted a message from Tokyo to the Japanese embassy in Washington, D.C. The message instructed the Japanese ambassador to break off ongoing peace negotiations with the United States, but its real purpose was to inform the ambassador that Japanese forces were about to attack Pearl Harbor. By the time the intercepted message was delivered to the U.S. Secretary of State in Washington, D.C., the attack had begun, and the U.S. declared war on Japan the next day.

Annexed Instead

On December 5, 1966, the city of Lacey, located next to Olympia, incorporated. Almost immediately, the western portion of the new city petitioned to be annexed to the state capital, while other residents favored reverting to unincorporated Thurston County. Court battles ensued, and in 1967 the annexation took place and Lacey was reduced in size.

Agency Head

Fifty years ago this week, on December 4, 1970, Bill Ruckelshaus was sworn in as the first administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Ruckelshaus is equally remembered for his actions as deputy attorney general in 1973, when he refused to fire Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox in the infamous "Saturday Night Massacre" during the Watergate scandal. In 1976 Ruckelshaus and his wife Jill moved with their family to Seattle and became well-known for their civic involvement.

Charging Ahead

On December 5, 1974, Seattle was awarded a professional football franchise. Two years later the Seattle Seahawks played  in their opening season just months after the Kingdome opened. And on December 4, 2018, the National Hockey League awarded an expansion franchise to Seattle, and work is currently underway to renovate the Climate Pledge Arena (formerly KeyArena)  in time for the Seattle Kraken's first home game next fall.

Today in
Washington History

New On HistoryLink

Image of the Week

One year ago this week, on December 8, 2019, the first Asian Giant "Murder Hornet" confirmed in the United States was found in Blaine.

Quote of the Week

"Prohibition is better than no liquor at all."

--Will Rogers

Major Funding Provided By

Education Partners