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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

Naming Rights

On August 20, 1845, Oregon's Provisional Legislature created Vancouver District in what is now southwest Washington. Later that year Lewis County was formed from the western portion of Vancouver District, which then became Vancouver County. The name was changed to Clark County in 1849, although it was soon afterward misspelled as "Clarke County," an error that the state legislature finally corrected 76 years later, in 1925.

Sacred Rites

The first Christian religious service in Seattle occurred on August 22, 1852, when visiting Bishop Modeste Demers celebrated Catholic Mass, supposedly in Henry Yesler's sawmill cookhouse. Although many Native Americans, including Chief Seattle, had been baptized by Catholic missionaries, most if not all of Seattle's first non-Native settlers were Protestant. Methodist missionaries David and Catharine Blaine arrived in 1853 and two years later built the town's first church.

Travel Sites

On August 21, 1886, General William Tecumseh Sherman -- one of the Union's most renowned military leaders during the Civil War -- arrived in Seattle for a five-day visit. This wasn't the first time Sherman had been in the Northwest. In 1883, as one of his last acts as General of the Army, he inspected all of the forts in the West. But in 1886 the retired general was here on pleasure, and while in Seattle he enjoyed a steamer tour of Lake Washington and Lake Union and was the honored guest at a clambake held at Alki Point

Walking Out

During the summer of 1917, IWW members in Spokane led a statewide loggers' strike demanding an eight-hour workday and better working conditions. Throughout the state, Wobblies were arrested, in many cases without due process of law. On August 19, 1917, things came to a head with a raid on the Spokane IWW office, the arrest of union leaders, and a declaration of martial law. Defeated, loggers returned to work in the fall, but kept up the fight.

Twist and Shout

On August 20, 1925, an outdoor concert in Seattle by world-famous opera diva Mme. Schumann-Heink was cut short by a tugboat blast. But on August 21, 1964, when KJR disc jockey Pat O'Day introduced the Beatles to more than 14,300 fans inside the Seattle Center Coliseum, their screams and shouts were as loud as the music, if not louder. And on August 17, 1984, a new sound was heard when Seattle's "underground" hip-hop scene broke out into the mainstream.

Title Bout

On August 22, 1957, Olympic boxing champion Pete Rademacher, who grew up in the Yakima Valley town of Tieton, fought Floyd Patterson for the world heavyweight championship in Seattle's Sicks' Stadium. Rademacher lost the match, but the event focused national attention on Seattle at a time when the city had no major sports teams. 

Today in
Washington History

New Essays This Week

Image of the Week

Founded in 1880, the town of Carbonado incorporated 70 years ago this week, on August 17, 1948.

Quote of the Week

Terrene travellers cannot thus independently reject history; they must humble themselves to be followers where tribes have tramped before.

 --Theodore Winthrop, The Canoe and the Saddle

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