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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

Seward's Ambition

On July 21 and 22, 1869, former Secretary of State William Seward toured Puget Sound on his way to Alaska and spoke on the development of Washington Territory. Two years earlier, while still in office, Seward had fought for the purchase of Alaska from Russia. Nearly three decades later the discovery of gold there proved such a boon to Seattle that the grateful city memorialized Seward with a statue, a school, a park, and a neighborhood.

Price of Admission

On July 20, 1909, the Dime Theater opened in Walla Walla at a time when movie tickets typically cost 10 cents. Within a few years ticket prices went up a nickel, and Seattle movie-theater operator John von Herberg promoted a novel way to capitalize on this. Legislation to mint a 15-cent coin was introduced in Congress in 1918, but no change came of it.

Racing Tradition

 Speedsters whetted their passion on July 20, 1929, when the state's first hydroplanes zoomed across the waters of Seattle's Green Lake. The sport later found a home on Lake Washington. This week also marks the anniversary of the first unlimited hydroplane race on the Columbia River, which took place at the Tri-Cities on July 24, 1966.

Feel the Beat

On July 24, 1939, Seattle's Showbox Ballroom opened as the Show Box. Over the years this venerable venue from the Jazz Age has moved with the groove and featured rock, punk, hip-hop, grunge, pop, and more. In other music history, this week marks the anniversary of the three-day Seattle Pop Festival, when Led Zeppelin, the Doors, Santana, Chuck Berry, and other rockers performed in Woodinville beginning on July 25, 1969.

Mission Complete

On July 20, 1969,  humans first landed on the moon, thanks to a boost from the Boeing-built Saturn V rocket. Two years later the Boeing-built Lunar Rover helped astronauts zip across the moon’s surface at speeds of up to 9 m.p.h.

Where They Compete

On July 20, 1990, King County welcomed Ted Turner's Goodwill Games, which left the Federal Way aquatic center in their wake. Exactly 12 years later, football fans got their first glimpse inside Seahawks Stadium, now known as CenturyLink Field.

Today in
Washington History

New Essays This Week

Image of the Week

 The historic carousel, which opened at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo on July 22, 2006, turns 100 this year.

Quote of the Week

The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land.

--Luna Leopold

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