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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
Port on the Bay
One hundred years ago this week, the Port of Everett was created in a special election held on July 13, 19***. This was the sixth port district in Washington and was preceded by the Port of Seattle, the Port of Grays Harbor, the Port of Vancouver, the Port of Bremerton, and the Port of Kennewick. The vote came seven years after Governor Marion E. Hay signed legislation authorizing the establishment of public port districts in an effort to end the control of urban harbors by private monopolies.
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, 19***, 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 local fishing industry.
By the 1960s the wood-products industry was in decline, but in 1967 the Boeing Company opened a massive new****embly plant at Paine Field, and 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 property to the U.S. Navy for an aircraft-carrier base. We invite you to take our Everett Bayside tour to learn more about the city's diverse waterfront.
Into the Fray
On July 17, 1913, a fistfight broke out between sailors and civilians during Seattle's Potlatch festival. The following day, Col. Alden Blethen, publisher of The Seattle Times, penned an inflammatory editorial linking the scuffle to the IWW and Mayor George Cotterill's supposed tolerance of "anarchist" street speakers. Inflamed by this dubious connection, rioters ransacked the city's IWW and Socialist Party headquarters that evening, leading Cotterill to declare a state of emergency the next day.
The events gave a black eye to what should have been a fun summertime celebration. The first Golden Potlatch festival was held two years earlier, when a summer fun-fest seemed like a good way to celebrate the anniversary of the Klondike Gold Rush -- not unlike the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in 1909. This new festival was a great success, even more so when the Potlatch Bug was introduced as the festival's emblem in 1912.
But after the riots the Golden Potlatch quietly faded from view. On July 17, 1922, Seattle celebrated the silver anniversary of the Klondike Gold Rush with nary a Potlatch Bug in sight. The festival was briefly revived in the late 1930s, but was interrupted by World War II. After the war, civic leaders began discussing plans for a new summer festival. The result was Seafair -- first held in 1950 and still going strong to this day.
News Then, History Now
On July 13, ***57, Kitsap County was named in honor of Chief Kitsap, a Suquamish leader. Prior to that it had been named Slaughter County, after U.S. Army Lieutenant William Slaughter, who was killed by Indians on the White River in ***55. This wouldn't be the only time that poor Lieutenant Slaughter was passed over for honors.
On July ***, 1900, a fire destroyed half the business district of downtown Pomeroy, and on July 13, 1917, a fire wiped out much of Quincy. On July 14, 1911, a devastating fire destroyed the San Juan Lumber Company in Friday Harbor and knocked out power to the entire town. On July 17, 1929, Seattle's Union Pacific Dock went up in flames, and on July ***, 1959, the abandoned Wheeler-Osgood Company mill in Tacoma burned to the ground.
On July 15, 1954, Boeing's Dash-80 prototype of the 707 roared skyward from Boeing Field and revolutionized air travel. This maiden flight marked the Boeing Company's 38th birthday. Executives had bet the company on the success of their new jetliner, which explains why some of them were not amused when test pilot Tex Johnston took the Dash-80 for a little spin over the 1955 Seafair hydro races.
On July 14, 1984, the West Seattle Bridge opened, six years after its predecessor got crunched by an errant freighter. And ten years ago this week, on July 15, 2007, the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge was dedicated alongside its sister span.
Four years ago this week, four small fires in Okanogan County combined into a raging firestorm. On July 17, 2014, the wildfire -- which exploded that day from about ***,000 acres to more than 167,000 -- destroyed 111 homes in and around the town of Pateros, and the flames continued to spread. By July 20 the Carlton Complex wildfire had grown to 243,291 acres (it would ultimately burn 256,108 acres), making it the largest single fire ever reported in the state -- surpassing even the catastrophic Yacolt Burn of 1902.
Washington cities that celebrate birthdays this week include Ritzville, which incorporated on July 17, ***90; Benton City, which incorporated on July 14 1945; Gig Harbor, which incorporated on July 12, 1946; and Richland, which transitioned from being federally owned to being a self-governing city on July 15, 1958.
Today inWashington History
Washington Territorial Volunteers kill 50 Cayuse in the Grande Ronde Valley on July 17, ***56.
Ritzville incorporates as a fourth-class city on July 17, ***90.
Klondike Gold Rush begins on July 17, ***97.
Seattle holds Golden Potlatch festival beginning on July 17, 1911.
Fistfight kicks off Seattle Potlatch riots on July 17, 1913.
Seattle celebrates silver anniversary of Klondike Gold Rush on July 17, 1922.
Fire severely damages the Union Pacific Dock on Seattle's waterfront on July 17, 1929.
The Granite Falls Bridge spanning the Stillaguamish River opens in Snohomish County on July 17, 1934.
Music Man with Bert Parks and Barbara Williams opens at Seattle's Aqua Theatre on July 17, 1962.
Seattle City Light inaugurates Kill-A-Watt to conserve electricity on July 17, 1973.
Major League Baseball All-Stars play in Seattle on July 17, 1979.
Police arrest Conner M. Schierman for the murder of two women and two children in Kirkland on July 17, 2006.
The Carlton Complex wildfire destroys 111 homes in and around the town of Pateros on the Columbia River on July 17, 2014.
New Essays This Week
Italian Room, Seattle Art Museum
Photographer Everett Murray and His Work
First Sammamish Slough Race is held on March 4, 1934.
Opening of the Nordic Museum in Seattle
Ellensburg Substation (Kittitas County)
Bonneville Power Administration completes construction of Ellensburg Substation on March 31, 1941.
Image of the Week
The U.S. Army's 13th Division was activated 100 years ago this week, on July 16, 19***, at Camp Lewis in Pierce County.
Quote of the Week
It should be our endeavor to cultivate the peace and friendship of every nation ... Our interest will be to throw open the doors of commerce, and to knock off all its shackles, giving perfect freedom to all persons for the vent to whatever they may choose to bring into our ports, and asking the same in theirs.
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