The free online encyclopedia of Washington state history

7469 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

Work to Be Done

On December 15, 1868, 24-year-old Chun Ching Hock -- believed to be Seattle's first Chinese immigrant -- opened the Wa Chong Company, a general-merchandise store at the foot of Mill Street (now Yesler Way.) Chun moved back to China in 1900, but remained an owner of the company, which later moved to 719 S King Street -- now home to the Wing Luke Asian Museum  -- in the Chinatown-International District.

Merged into One

On December 19, 1898, the Skagit County towns of Sedro and Wooley merged after almost a decade of rivalry. Sedro began as a coal town and incorporated in 1891, right around the time railroad developer Philip A. Woolley platted his own namesake company town right next door. Even after the merger, some of the residents sought to maintain each half's individual identity.

Streetlights to Run

In 1929 Tacoma was facing a dark holiday due to a drought-caused power shortage, and the municipality had the bright idea to ask the federal government for help. After some debate, the navy sent the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Lexington to the city. It steamed into port on December 17, plugged the ship's powerful generators into the city's system, and supplied about a quarter of Tacoma's electricity for nearly a month.

Field Position

On December 17, 1933, Orillia native Morris "Red" Badgro scored the first touchdown in the first official NFL championship game. Badgro, who was playing for the New York Giants, later became a college football coach at several schools, including UW, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981.

High Ambition

On December 17, 1947, the prototype for the Boeing B-47 Stratojet took its maiden flight, opening up new vistas in aviation. Aided by German research captured after World War II, development of the B-47 led to the use of jet technology in the Boeing 707. More recent examples of Boeing's cutting-edge technology -- such as the December 15, 2009, launch of the Boeing 787 -- can be seen at the Future of Flight Aviation Center, which opened at Paine Field on December 16, 2005.

Fleet Addition

In December 1965, the State Highway Commission -- seeking to build four new ferryboats -- turned to California when a thin budget precluded any plans to contract with a Washington shipyard. The Hyak and the Elwha were launched on December 17, 1966, and December 16, 1967, respectively, and the ferries' sister ships Kaleetan and Yakima soon followed in their wake.

Today in
Washington History

New Essays This Week

Image of the Week

Twenty-five years ago this week, on December 13, 1993, Nirvana performed their legendary Live and Loud concert on Pier 48 in Seattle.

Quote of the Week

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

--F. Scott Fitzgerald

Major Funding Provided By

Education Partners