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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.

This Week Then


News Then, History Now

Feeling Down

In the summer of 1788, English fur trader John Meares sailed along the Washington coast searching in vain for a river that Bruno de Hezeta had seen years earlier. He gave up on July 6 near the towering basalt column that served as Hezeta's landmark, and named it Cape Disappointment -- unaware that he was in the river's mouth.

Building Up

On July 5, 1858, workers in Bellingham began erecting Washington Territory's first brick building, helped along by a shipment of building materials from San Francisco. The T. G. Richards Building still stands, and it is the oldest brick structure in Washington.

Starting Out

Asotin incorporated for the second time on July 2, 1890, after the community's first attempt was invalidated when Washington achieved statehood in 1889. Years later, the small community received unwelcome national attention when the county sheriff was shot and killed by a 12-year-old boy.

Lofty Aims

In the late 1880s, developer C. C. Calkins hoped to draw homebuyers to his Mercer Island community of East Seattle, but his dreams were shattered by the tragic death of his daughter in 1890 and the financial Panic of 1893. On July 2, 1908, a few years after Calkins left the island, his grand hotel burned to the ground.

Double Names

On July 5, 1960, Mercer Island residents voted to incorporate the City of Mercer Island, which got off to a very strange start. One month later, property owners within the 70-acre business district -- already at odds with the island's rural residents -- voted to create the Town of Mercer Island within the City of Mercer Island, giving themselves greater control over issues related to urbanization. Although Town and City shared some services, both remained self-governing until their merger in 1970.

Up in Flames

On July 4, 1972, a fireworks mishap injured 18 people at the Seattle Center when an errant skyrocket landed in a crowd and exploded. And on July 4, 1985, a fireworks malfunction at the conclusion of Everett's Fourth of July fireworks display set part of Jetty Island ablaze.

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Image of the Week

The Seattle fireboat Duwamish was launched on July 3, 1909

Quote of the Week

"Architecture is not about space but about time."

--Vito Acconel

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