The free online encyclopedia of Washington state history

7390 articles now available.

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

Railroad Destination

In 1873, the Northern Pacific Railroad chose Tacoma as its West Coast terminus, much to the dismay of Seattle boosters. On June 17, 1884, the first Northern Pacific train running between Tacoma and Seattle raised Seattle's hopes of a reliable transcontinental rail link, but the line proved to be a bust. The people of the city then turned their sights to James J. Hill, who was struggling to bring his Great Northern line to the Northwest. After Hill was granted the needed right-of-way and other concessions, the first Great Northern passenger train left Seattle bound for St. Paul, Minnesota on June 18, 1893.

Freedom Celebration

On June 19, 1890, African Americans from Tacoma and Seattle, many of them former slaves, gathered in Kent to celebrate the area's first Juneteenth, which marked the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, news of which reached Texas slaves on June 19, 1865.

Holiday Creation

In 1909 Sonora Smart Dodd sat in a Spokane church listening to a sermon about motherhood. Having been raised with five younger brothers by her widowed father, Dodd felt that fatherhood also deserved a "place in the sun," and she took it upon herself to advocate a special day for dads. After receiving an enthusiastic endorsement from the Spokane Ministerial Alliance and the YMCA, the first Father's Day was celebrated in Spokane on June 19, 1910. The concept spread, and by the 1920s Father's Day was commonly observed throughout the country.

Feats of Aviation

Vancouver's Pearson Field was one of the nation's first airfields, and home to such pioneering aviators as Lincoln Beachey. On June 20, 1937, the airstrip was the terminus for the first transpolar flight, when a Russian ANT-25 monoplane touched ground after leaving the Soviet Union three days earlier.

On The Reservation

Eighty years ago this week, on June 16, 1938, the S'Klallam became one of the first tribes to benefit from the Wheeler-Howard Act when they received a 1,234-acre reservation on Port Gamble Bay, where they had lived for centuries. Many of them were displaced when Port Gamble first became a mill town, and in 1855 the tribe ceded its land rights in the Treaty of Point No Point. Today, the S'Klallams' culture lives on at their ancestral home.

Waterfront Location

Two Lake Washington communities are celebrating birthdays this week. On June 15, 1959, Yarrow Point incorporated on the east side of the lake. Two years later, on the north end, Lake Forest Park incorporated on June 20, 1961.

Today in
Washington History

New Essays This Week

Image of the Week

Seventy-five years ago this week, on June 15, 1943, the first WAACs arrived at Paine Field near Everett.

Quote of the Week

Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.

--George Bernard Shaw

Major Funding Provided By

Education Partners