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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
On the Attack
This week HistoryLink looks at three events from 75 years ago that highlight Washington's significant role in the World War II home front. The first two took place on September 21, 1942, beginning with the maiden flight of Boeing's B-29 bomber, a top-secret aircraft that the company had been working on prior to America's entry into World War II. Although the project later suffered a setback, thousands of B-29s were eventually used in the Pacific theater, and the Superfortress became the only aircraft to ever drop atomicbombs during war.
The same day that Boeing engineers watched the prototype B-29 take to the air, military brass were gathered near Oak Harbor for the opening of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. During World War II, NAS Whidbey was used to train fighter and patrol-bomber crews, and it remains the navy's principal air facility north of San Francisco and west of Chicago.
The day after the B-29 launch and the opening of NAS Whidbey, one more event took place that few knew about at the time. President Franklin Roosevelt made a secret visit to Washington that the press was ordered not to report. He arrived by train on September 22, stopping first at Fort Lewis. From there he traveled north to tour the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard near Bremerton, and then viewed Boeing bombers being****embled in Seattle. After spending the night at his daughter's home on Mercer Island, the next day he traveled with her to Vancouver, where they toured the Alcoa plant before heading off to a ship launch at the Kaiser shipyard in Portland.
Down at the Track
At the beginning of the twentieth century, The Meadows south of Georgetown was the premier venue for horse racing in Washington until the state legislature banned gambling in 1909. In 1933 newly elected state Representative Warren Magnuson introduced a bill to allow pari-mutuel betting on horse racing, and the Sport of Kings made a spectacular comeback when Longacres Racetrack opened in Renton.
The sports venue "reined" supreme for almost 60 years, most notably under the direction of the late Morris Alhadeff. In 1977 Seattle Slew visited the oval, less than a month after his Triple Crown win, and starred in two "Golden Gallop" laps around the track to raise money for medical research at UW and WSU. Longacres closed 25 years ago this week on September 21, 1992, but thanks to investors like Herman Sarkowsky, thoroughbred racing lives on at Emerald Downs in Auburn.
News Then, History Now
On a Mission
On September 25, ***38, Protestant missionaries Elkanah Walker and Cushing Eells chose Tshimakain plain as the site to build a mission forSpokane Indians. Eells was later instrumental in the creation of Whitman College, and in 1907 his son Myron -- who was born on the Tshimakain mission -- donated a significant collection of books, papers, and artifacts to the college, where they became important nuclei of Whitman's library, archives, and museum.
Grown to Fruition
Harvest season for farmers is here, and it's a good time to show off their crops. On September 24, ***94, the first Washington State Agricultural Fair opened in Yakima. And on September 24, 1937, the Lincoln County Fair resumed in Davenport after a decades-long hiatus.
Driving on Through
On September 23, 1904, the Automobile Club of Seattle, predecessor of AAA Washington, was founded with 46 members and officers. This week also marks the 40th anniversary of the Washington State Department ofTransportation, which was created by the Washington State Legislature and officially came into being on September 21, 1977.
Catching the Flu
On September 21, 19***, the worldwide "Spanish Flu" pandemic struck Fort Lewis with a reported 11 cases.Within two weeks, 700 cases were reported in Seattle, including one death at the University of Washington's Naval Training Center. During the next six months, 1,600 lives were lost in Seattle alone. No area of the state was left untouched, and 70 years later Kenneth Knoll recalled its effects in Spokane in great detail.
Raising the Curtain
On September 24, 1926, thousands celebrated the grand opening of the 5th Avenue Theatre, in Seattle. The lavish playhouse was the brainchild of architect Robert Reamer, known for his designs of the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park, Spokane's Fox Theater , Bellingham's Mt. BakerTheatre, Seattle's Edmond Meany Hotel, and the 1411 4th Avenue Building.
Dropping the Needle
Ninety years ago this week, on September 23, 1927, the New York City-based Columbia Phonograph Company began a two-day round of recordingsessions with various local musicians in Spokane. Five musical acts were recorded, dance orchestras and solo singers that were popular at the time. And 60 years ago this week, onSeptember 21, 1957, Los Angeles R&B singer Richard Berry brought "Louie Louie" to Seattle, where it became the Northwest's signature rock song.
Today inWashington History
Federal anti-trust actions cause United Aircraft and Transport, a Boeing conglomerate, to dissolve on September 26, 1934.
Several thousand people tour house built in Spokane to promote the RKO movie Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House on September 26, 1948.
President Kennedy participates in ground-breaking ceremonies for construction of N Reactor at Hanford on September 26, 1963.
Five Puget Sound Women's Peace Camp protesters are arrested inside the Kent Boeing Aerospace Center's cruise missile facility on September 26, 1983.
First Port of Chehalis commissioners are sworn in on September 26, 1986.
Eric Liu completes two five-year terms on the Seattle Public Library Board of Trustees on September 26, 2012.
New Essays This Week
First issue of the Palouse Gazette, later Whitman County Gazette, is published in Colfax on September 29, ***77.
Image of the Week
South Bend incorporated on September 27, ***90.
Quote of the Week
There is one front and one battle where everyone in the United States -- every man, woman, and child -- is in action, and will be privileged to remain in action throughout this war. That front is right here at home, in our daily lives, and in our daily tasks.
--Franklin Delano Roosevelt
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