A Caroling We Go
This week we celebrate the holidays with a look at the "Twelve Days of Christmas" – HistoryLink-style. Please enjoy the many essays we've chosen, based on the gifts called out in the well-known carol.
Twelve Drummers Drumming – If you want to feel the beat, read up on Seattle's Belltown sounds, country music in the Northwest, and the Inland Empire sound of Eastern Washington. Then check out some Northwest bands, like the Jive Bombers, the Shades, the Barons and the Sonics, or look back at some historic venues – Birdland, the Evergreen Ballroom, Parker's, the Spanish Castle, or the Crocodile Café.
Eleven Pipers Piping – The Piper family were some of the earliest settlers of Seattle's Broadview neighborhood. In 1874, A. W. Piper wowed guests at a Seattle masquerade ball with his impersonation of Henry Yesler. Edgar Piper was an early editor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. In 1881, Cheney residents stole the county seat from Spokane Falls when that town's residents were at the wedding for a Miss Piper. In 1912, F. Stanley Piper designed the Bellingham National Bank, and in 1951 a Piper Cub landed on Mount Rainer. Bagpipers were popular at both the 1909 and 1962 World's Fairs, but let's not forget about other pipes, like the Cedar River Pipeline, Tacoma's Pipeline No. 5, and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.
Ten Lords-a-Leaping – In 1900 Alice Lord leapt at the chance to organize a Waitresses Union. Lord Walpole planted a historic tree in Spokane, and George Vancouver named Hood's Canal for Lord Hood. As to leaping, we've got claim jumpers, ski jumpers, track jumpers, smokejumpers, high divers, and skydivers.
Nine Ladies Dancing – Check out the folks who cut a rug at dance marathons, from Playland to Bellingham to Spanaway to Fife to Yakima to Spokane to Wenatchee to Vancouver.
Eight Maids-a-Milking – First stop, the Carnation milk factory in Kent, which later moved to Tolt. It was there that Possum Sweetheart broke a world's record for milk production. Read about dairy farming, the state's first cooperative creamery in Skamokawa, a dairy co-op in Arlington, and the beginnings of Vitamilk Dairy. But watch out for those mad cows.
Seven Swans-a-Swimming – James Swan was one of Washington's more unique early settlers. Lake Youngs was originally called Swan Lake -- which is also the name of a famous ballet -- and Green Lake's Duck Island was originally called Swan Island. As for swimming, we have Helene Madison, Bert Thomas, and Henry Hanson.
Six Geese-a-Laying – Eddie Bauer turned a $25 investment in goose down into a multimillion-dollar business. Hollywood star John Wayne enjoyed sailing his yacht Wild Goose in the waters off Port Angeles, and Little Goose Dam is on the Snake River. Roberta Williams designed the computer game Mixed Up Mother Goose. In 1968, Operation Mother Goose began distributing Canadian Geese across the state, but by 2000 they had become a nuisance.
Five Gold Rings – Gold has played a very important part in Washington history. Our region's economy has been boosted by the California Gold Rush, the Fraser Valley Gold Rush, and the Klondike Gold Rush, which begat Seattle's Golden Potlatch festivals that later led to other summertime fun.
Four Calling Birds – Telephones were demonstrated in Seattle as early as 1878, and five years later the city got its first phone subscribers. By 1893, phone lines were spreading throughout the state. Female telephone operators – then known as “Hello Girls” – served valiantly during World War I.
Three French Hens – Betty MacDonald raised chickens and wrote a book about it: The Egg and I. A portion of roadway near her old farm site is now called Egg and I Road.
Two Turtle Doves – Turtle costumes were one of the symbols of the 1999 WTO protests. And Mourning Dove was the pen name of Christine Quintasket, an Interior Salish woman who collected tribal stories among Northern Plateau peoples in the early twentieth century.
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree – Chelan County is best known for its apple and pear orchards. Whether or not partridges roost in them is something we'll have to look into.