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:
We are gathering images and video from around the state and sharing them on our Instagram feed. We’ll use them to illustrate articles on HistoryLink, too. Please send any photographs, graphics, or video footage you would like to share to Jennifer@HistoryLink.org.
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
Stars on Parade
This week HistoryLink highlights a few of the Washingtonians who made their way to Hollywood and achieved fame in movies and on television. We begin in the early days of cinema with Yakima Canutt, who acted in a few silent-era cowboy movies but later became best known as one of Hollywood's top stuntmen. In the 1930s young Patsy Britten's success as a Seattle radio star led to her being cast in the Our Gang movie comedies. Another child prodigy was Gypsy Rose Lee, whose career took quite a different path -- from vaudeville to burlesque and then to the silver screen.
West Seattle High graduate Frances Farmer started off with a promising film career in the 1930s, but her life later took a tragic turn. Bing Crosby -- who began his career crooning in Spokane -- had small film roles in the 1930s, and by the 1940s had become a box-office smash. Everett native Nancy Coleman had many memorable film roles in the 1940s and went on to work in television -- a medium with which she had some familiarity. Another film star who transitioned into TV was Keye Luke, famous in the 1930s as "number one son" in the Charlie Chan movies, and later well known as Kung Fu's Master Po in the 1970s.
Television was a breakout medium for many young thespians. In 1953, years before Clint Eastwood made a name for himself on Rawhide, the aspiring actor spent a summer teaching lifeguard-training classes in King County. In 1954, Tacoma native Elinor Donahue achieved stardom as the eldest daughter on Father Knows Best.
In the 1950s Bruce Lee was a child actor in Hong Kong, but after teaching martial arts in Seattle he got his first big break as Kato on TV's The Green Hornet. He also guest starred on an episode of Here Come the Brides, which starred Bridget Hanley, who grew up in Edmonds. And finally, Walla Walla-raised Adam West won fame while mostly being masked. Holy secret identity, Batman!
Local citizens had hoped that the Port would develop a robust ship-building industry during World War I. The war's end on November 11, 1918, ended those plans, but the Everett shoreline was already dominated by lumber and shingle mills, and a lumber boom in the 1920s helped the Port grow, as did the city's fishing industry.
By the 1960s the wood-products industry was in decline, but in 1967 the Boeing Company had just opened its massive assembly plant at Paine Field. The aerospace company soon became the Port's largest customer, with many of the oversized parts for Boeing's large jet airplanes arriving there by ship. The Port also received a boost in 1987, when its commissioners voted to sell part of the Port's property to the U.S. Navy as a homeport for the carrier USS Nimitz and other ships.
News Then,History Now
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.
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.
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.