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
A Tragedy in Centralia
This week marks the centennial of the Centralia Tragedy -- also known as the Centralia Massacre -- when the city's first Armistice Day parade on November 11, 1919, erupted into a bloody altercation between members of the American Legion and the Industrial Workers of the World.
In 1917 the IWW opened a meeting hall in Centralia, but during a Red Cross parade in 1918 the hall was raided and the Wobblies were forced out of town. They soon returned and opened a new meeting hall in the Roderick Hotel. Fearing that they would be raided again, they distributed leaflets asking the local citizenry not to take the law into their own hands. (Image courtesy UW Special Collections) But when an Armistice Day parade was announced in 1919, the Wobblies planned for the worst, placing armed members inside the hall and rifle marksmen in buildings across the street.
As they expected, the hall was attacked and three Legionnaires -- including Post Commander Warren O. Grimm -- died in the shootout. Wobblies were rounded up and arrested, and later that evening a mob stormed the jail and lynched Wesley Everest, hanging him from a bridge and mutilating his body with gunshots. In a miscarriage of justice, seven Wobblies were later found guilty of Grimm's murder, and although the jury asked for leniency, the judge sentenced each of the men to 25 to 40 years in prison. After tempers had cooled and the realization grew that an injustice had been done, Governor Clarence D. Martin commuted their sentences ... 13 years later. Five men walked free, but one had died while in prison, and another refused to be released without a full pardon. Sadly, Elmer Smith, an IWW lawyer who fought hard for their release, did not live to see the long-delayed victory.
By 1900 Seattle was a burgeoning metropolis, and its population would triple to 240,000 by 1910. On November 13, 1905, Carson Boren and two other surviving members of the Denny Party gathered again on Alki Beach to dedicate a modest obelisk commemorating the city's birth.
Want to be notified when we update This Week Then each week? Please subscribe to our free weekly newsletter, which also includes other historical info and news you might find interesting.
News Then,History Now
On November 10, 1869, the Baker Boyer Bank opened for business in downtown Walla Walla. Today it is still family owned and operated, and at 150 years is Washington's oldest bank -- 20 years older than the state itself.
On November 12, 1875, the Washington Territorial Legislature incorporated Tacoma. In 1881 a neighboring town, called New Tacoma, was also incorporated by the territorial legislature, and in 1883 an act of that body merged what had been Old Tacoma (also known as Tacoma City) and New Tacoma into a single entity.
On November 8, 1912, a landslide obliterated a mile of track on the Highland Park and Lake Burien Railway in West Seattle. But one the state's most memorable structural disasters occurred on November 7, 1940, when the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed after increasing oscillations -- first noticed during its construction -- twisted it to the breaking point. It took 10 years to rebuild and was joined by a sister span in 2007.