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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

Seed Germination

On September 20, 1853, the Upper Yakamas in the Wenas Valley hosted the Longmire-Byles wagon train, headed for Naches Pass. Chief Owhi himself supplied the pioneers with produce from his gardens. Three decades later, David Longmire, nine years old when he traveled with the wagon train, returned to the Wenas Valley and eventually purchased the site of Owhi's gardens, adding it to his farm.

Ocean Sensation

On September 20, 1888, the Northwest's commercial Pacific halibut fishery began when the schooner Oscar and Hattie arrived at the port of Tacoma with 50,000 pounds of the tasty fish. Thirty-five years later, fish stocks had declined so rapidly that the Pacific Halibut Convention was signed, and today the fishery is one of the world's healthiest.

First Congregation

On September 14, 1892, Spokane's Temple Emanu-El became the first Jewish synagogue to open in the state of Washington. Four days later, Congregation Ohaveth Sholum opened the first synagogue in Seattle.

Leading the Nation

On September 20, 1971, John Singer and Paul Barwick requested a marriage license in Seattle, but were denied. They later filed one of the first same-sex-marriage lawsuits in the United States, but their claims of discrimination were rejected by the courts. It wasn't until 2012 that Washington became one of the first states to approve marriage equality by popular vote.

Fast Transportation

This week marks three anniversaries in Puget Sound regional transit. On September 15, 1990, bus service began in Seattle's transit tunnel, which now also handles light rail. On September 18, 2000, Sound Transit inaugurated Sounder commuter rail service between Tacoma and Seattle. And two years ago, on September 18, 2015, commuters began traversing Elliott Bay aboard the water taxi MV Doc Maynard.

Delayed Transformation

On September 19, 1995, Seattle voters rejected a tax levy for the proposed Seattle Commons -- a plan to transform the South Lake Union neighborhood into a high-tech corridor -- and also nixed funding for a new stadium for the Seattle Mariners. Nevertheless, South Lake Union has evolved into something similar, and baseball fans got their wish in 1999.

Today in
Washington History

New Essays This Week

Image of the Week

One hundred and thirty years ago this week, on September 17, 1887, Gonzaga College (later University) opened in Spokane.

Quote of the Week

Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.

-- Jane Jacobs

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