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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.


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This Week Then


News Then, History Now

Land Acquisition

On September 20, 1853, the Upper Yakamas in the Wenas Valley hosted the Longmire-Byles wagon train, headed for Naches Pass. Chief Owhi himself supplied the pioneers with produce from his gardens. In 1871 David Longmire, who had been 9 years old in 1853, returned to the Wenas Valley and later purchased the site of Owhi's gardens, adding it to his farm. 

Plenty of Fishin'

On September 20, 1888, the Northwest's commercial-halibut fishery began when the schooner Oscar and Hattie arrived at Tacoma with 50,000 pounds of the tasty fish. Thirty-five years later, the drastic decline in the fish stocks led to the signing of the Pacific Halibut Convention, and today the fishery is one of the world's healthiest.

Viral Transmission

On September 21, 1918, the worldwide "Spanish Flu" pandemic officially arrived in Washington with the report of 11 cases at Camp Lewis. Within two weeks, 700 cases were reported in Seattle, including one death at the University of Washington's Naval Training Center. The flu remained prevalent until the spring of 1919, during which time nearly 5,000 people were killed by it in Washington.

Music Sensation

On September 23, 1927, the New York City-based Columbia Phonograph Company began a two-day round of recording sessions with various local musicians in Spokane. And on September 21, 1957, Los Angeles R&B singer Richard Berry brought "Louie Louie" to Seattle, where it became the Northwest's signature rock song. 

Leading the Nation

On September 20, 1971, John Singer and Paul Barwick requested a marriage license in Seattle, but were denied. They later filed one of the first same-sex-marriage lawsuits in the United States, but their claims of discrimination were rejected by the courts. It wasn't until 2012 that Washington became one of the first states to approve marriage equality by popular vote.

Delayed Transformation

On September 19, 1995, Seattle voters rejected a levy for the Seattle Commons -- a plan to transform the South Lake Union neighborhood into a high-tech corridor -- and also nixed funding for a new stadium for the Seattle Mariners. Nevertheless, South Lake Union has evolved into something similar to the Commons plan, and baseball fans got their wish for a stadium in 1999.

Today in
Washington History

New On HistoryLink

Image of the Week

Gonzaga College -- later Gonzaga University -- opened in Spokane on September 17, 1887.

Quote of the Week

"And so castles made of sand,
Fall in the sea,

--Jimi Hendrix

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