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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

Tribal Woes

On January 22, 1855, at Mukilteo, Chief Seattle joined other Puget Sound tribal leaders and Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens in signing the Point Elliott Treaty. After the federal government denied a Duwamish request for a reservation on the Duwamish River, some members of that tribe moved to the Muckleshoot Reservation, which was created on January 20, 1857. For more than a century, the Duwamish Tribe sought federal recognition, and triumphed for an instant on January 19, 2001, before victory was snatched away two days later.

There It Goes

On January 23, 1863, the Territorial Legislature established Ferguson County in Central Washington. Don't bother looking for it on any recent map, however. Two years later the act was repealed, and most of the land became part of Yakima County, which was established on January 21, 1865. During the 1865 session, the legislature also erased Skamania County but its boundaries were restored two years later.

Final Throes

On January 18, 1882, a lynch mob overpowered police -- causing the death by heart attack of King County Sheriff Lewis V. Wykoff -- and hanged three accused murderers in the streets of downtown Seattle. At least one of the hanged men, Benjamin Payne, was most likely innocent.

Voyagers in Need

On January 22, 1906, the SS Valencia -- lost in the rain and fog en route to Victoria, British Columbia -- missed the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and smashed into the coast of Vancouver Island. In the ensuing mayhem of abandoning ship, 136 passengers and crew either drowned or were dashed against the rocks. As the ship foundered, women on board the craft were heard singing "Nearer My God to Thee," a song later associated with the sinking of the Titanic.

A Long Beach, Indeed

On January 18, 1922, the town of Long Beach incorporated, more than a century after Captain William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition traveled to the site via a well-used Indian trail and carved his name into the side of a tree. Homesteaders reached the narrow peninsula between Willapa Bay and the Pacific Ocean in the 1860s, but the community really blossomed in the 1880s as a seaside resort, especially after rail arrived.

Liquor and Weed

On January 23, 1934, Governor Clarence Martin signed the Steele Liquor Act establishing the Washington State Liquor Control Board. In recent years it has become the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, following the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2012.

Today in
Washington History

New Essays This Week

Image of the Week

Seventy-five years ago this week, on January 21, 1943, the WAVES hit Seattle at Sand Point.

Quote of the Week

I was charged with the unique job of building a new government and establishing all the new departments and naming who would run them. The new government was to be more efficient, to get things done and so forth. It hasn't always turned out that way.

--John Spellman

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