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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

Gather Together

In an effort to peacefully dispossess Eastern Washington tribes, Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens convened the First Walla Walla Council on May 29, 1855. It didn't work out quite as planned. Stevens's earlier Point
Elliott Treaty
with Puget Sound tribes proved equally messy, although this did not prevent a commemoration of its signing at Juanita Beach on May 27, 1933.

Rainy Weather

On May 27, 1894, a flash flood on the north fork of Salmon Creek destroyed much of Conconully. On May 30, 1948, the Vanport Flood -- so named for the town it washed out just north of Portland, Oregon -- began. The flood waters along the Columbia River extended as far as Kennewick and
, and by the time they finally receded the flooding had killed at least 50 people and caused about $102 million in damage.

Farmland Affected

On May 27, 1905, the Burlingame
irrigation ditch was completed in the Walla Walla Valley, bringing much needed water to local farmers and supplementing the Old Lowden Ditch that had been dug years earlier. In the 1830s Marcus Whitman was the first person to bring irrigation water to
the valley
, but his efforts died with him in the 1847 attack that became known as the Whitman Massacre.

Getting Connected

On May 29, 1907, Seattle annexed Ballard in a year that saw the city greatly extend its boundaries. Thirty-three years later, on May 25, 1940, the neighborhood celebrated the opening of the rebuilt Ballard Bridge, which provided easier passage across the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

Daredevil Sports

On May 30, 1926, Al Faussett took advantage of the spring runoff to ride his canoe over Sunset Falls on the Skykomish River in Snohomish County. A year later, on June 1, 1927, he tried to do the same at Spokane Falls, but was injured and had to be rescued when his boat got caught in a whirlpool.

Guests of All Sorts

Washington has welcomed a diverse set of visitors this week in history. On May 30, 1914, labor activist Mother Jones spoke to workers in Seattle before traveling to Tacoma and Cle Elum. Exactly nine years later, movie heartthrob Rudolph Valentino wowed crowds during his Seattle visit. Crown Prince Olav of Norway attended Stanwood's Toftezen Memorial dedication on May 27, 1939, and on May 30, 1968, heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali spoke at the University of Washington.

Today in
Washington History

New Essays This Week

Image of the Week

Kent incorporated on May 28, 1890.

Quote of the Week

Golf is supposed to be fun, but I don't think anything is fun if you're not doing it reasonably well.
--Fred Couples

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