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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 July 13, 1857, Kitsap County was named in honor of Chief Kitsap, a Suquamish leader. Prior to that it had been named Slaughter County, after U.S. Army Lieutenant William Slaughter, who was killed by Indians on the White River in 1855.  This wouldn't be the only time that poor Lieutenant Slaughter was passed over for honors.

Fiery Sights

On July 18, 1900, a fire destroyed half the business district of downtown Pomeroy, and on July 13, 1917, a fire wiped out much of Quincy. On July 14, 1911, a devastating fire destroyed the San Juan Lumber Company in Friday Harbor and knocked out power to the entire town. On July 17, 1929, Seattle's Union Pacific Dock went up in flames, and on July 18, 1959, the abandoned Wheeler-Osgood Company mill in Tacoma burned to the ground.

Notable Flights

On July 15, 1954, Boeing's Dash-80 prototype of the 707 roared skyward from Boeing Field and revolutionized air travel. This maiden flight marked the Boeing Company's 38th birthday. Executives had bet the company on the success of their new jetliner, which explains why some of them were not amused when test pilot Tex Johnston took the Dash-80 for a little spin over the 1955 Seafair hydro races.

Lofty Heights

On July 14, 1984, the West Seattle Bridge opened, six years after its predecessor got crunched by an errant freighter. And ten years ago this week, on July 15, 2007, the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge was dedicated alongside its sister span.

Fire Fights

Four years ago this week, four small fires in Okanogan County combined into a raging firestorm. On July 17, 2014, the wildfire -- which exploded that day from about 18,000 acres to more than 167,000 -- destroyed 111 homes in and around the town of Pateros, and the flames continued to spread. By July 20 the Carlton Complex wildfire had grown to 243,291 acres (it would ultimately burn 256,108 acres), making it the largest single fire ever reported in the state -- surpassing even the catastrophic Yacolt Burn of 1902. 

City Sites

Washington cities that celebrate birthdays this week include Ritzville, which incorporated on July 17, 1890; Benton City, which incorporated on July 14 1945; Gig Harbor, which incorporated on July 12, 1946; and Richland, which transitioned from being federally owned to being a self-governing city on July 15, 1958.

Today in
Washington History

New Essays This Week

Image of the Week

 The U.S. Army's 13th Division was activated 100 years ago this week, on July 16, 1918, at Camp Lewis in Pierce County.

Quote of the Week

It should be our endeavor to cultivate the peace and friendship of every nation ... Our interest will be to throw open the doors of commerce, and to knock off all its shackles, giving perfect freedom to all persons for the vent to whatever they may choose to bring into our ports, and asking the same in theirs.

--Thomas Jefferson

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