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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

Passing Through

On March 19, 1881, while scouting routes for the Northern Pacific Railroad, a group of surveyors led by Virgil Bogue found Stampede Pass to be the perfect spot to connect the rail line to Tacoma. A tunnel wasn't completed until 1888, but it provided a new railroad gateway from Puget Sound to the East.

Sprouting Up

March 20 marks the first day of spring, and as the flowers begin to bloom we celebrate by noting that Puyallup held its first Daffodil Parade on March 17, 1934. But long before non-Native settlers arrived in the Pacific Northwest, Indians throughout the region cultivated Camas flowers and harvested their bulbs as a sweet, fructose-rich food.

Starting Out

On March 16, 1891, Lynden incorporated in Whatcom County, and nearby Ferndale incorporated  on March 19, 1907. This week also marks the start of Selah, in Yakima County, which incorporated on March 17, 1919. Before the vote, the town's population mysteriously grew by half and just met the 300-resident threshold required by the law for incorporation.

Dancers' Toll

On March 15, 1937, Governor Clarence Martin put his foot down on Washington's dance marathons, years after cities like Tacoma and Bellingham had banned them. The craze had risen to popularity in the 1920s, but the Great Depression intensified the fad as grueling endurance contests saw partners dancing for weeks and even months on end.

Rock and Roll

On March 16, 1958Seattle Bandstand debuted on KING-TV and became an instant hit with Northwest teens. Modeled after Dick Clark's Philadelphia-based, nationally broadcast American Bandstand, the two-hour weekly program launched the careers of several local bands, and led to the creation of similar shows on NBC affiliates in Yakima, Spokane, and Portland.

Winning Goal

Two years after Seattle was officially granted an expansion franchise for Major League Soccer, the Seattle Sounders FC made its debut on March 19, 2009, and has since smashed league records for attendance. It is the only team to have won four U.S. Open Cups, and captured its first MLS cup in December 2016.

Today in
Washington History

New Essays This Week

Image of the Week

The Hat 'n' Boots gas station design was patented on March 20, 1956.

Quote of the Week

It is good people who make good places.

--Anna Sewell

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