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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

Landward Transitions

On December 11, 1851, the ship's cook deliberately torched the schooner Robert Bruce after he dosed the crew with laudanum. A Willapa Bay logger and his Indian workers saved the oystermen who were aboard and brought them ashore. The rescued men later settled what became Bruceport. Today, the Willapa Light Station guides the way for any other addled mariners in the vicinity.

County Positions

On December 7, 1899, Governor John R. Rogers formally established Chelan County out of parts of Kittitas and Okanogan counties. Wenatchee was chosen as the county seat, but residents of Chelan -- which had campaigned to be the seat -- were selected as county officials.

Books and Musicians

On December 12, 1907, Walla Walla residents gathered at the Keylor Grand Theater to see the Walla Walla Symphony Orchestra's first concert, two years after having attended the dedication ceremonies for their brand new, Carnegie-funded library.


Grandeur Achieved

After the Washington Hotel was torn down in 1906 and the Lincoln Hotel went up in flames in 1920, Seattle set its sights on a new world-class accommodation. Fundraising began during the city's silver anniversary of the Klondike Gold Rush, and on December 6, 1924, the Olympic Hotel opened in grand style on the site of the old Territorial University.

Message Received

On December 7, 1941, at 1:28 a.m., a secret United States Navy radio station on Bainbridge Island intercepted a message from Tokyo to the Japanese embassy in Washington, D.C. The message instructed the Japanese ambassador to break off ongoing peace negotiations with the United States, but its ulterior motive was to inform the ambassador that Japanese forces were about to attack Pearl Harbor. By the time the intercepted message was delivered to the U.S. Secretary of State the battle had begun, and the U.S. declared war the next day.

Never Retrieved

On December 12, 1919, while en route from Los Angeles to Seattle, famed musician Helen Louise Ferera vanished from the Pacific Steamship Company's SS President. The singer and guitarist had recently returned to the United States after spending most of the previous year in Hawaii with her husband and musical partner, Frank Ferera. Her body was never found.

Today in
Washington History

New Essays This Week

Image of the Week

Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum was established on December 6, 1934.

Quote of the Week

It seems to me we shall be happy to recall, in later years, these small beginnings.

--Mother Joseph

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