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
This week HistoryLink is proud to present a new suite of essays centering on three watersheds in Western Washington -- the Duwamish-Green, the Snoqualmie-Skykomish, and the Cedar-Sammamish. These new essays represent a fresh attempt to express the complex influence of place on human communities across time and describe how people have shaped the landscape and waterways. Our thanks go out to 4Culture and the Snoqualmie Tribe for funding and support in the creation of these essays.
About 17,000 years ago, the watersheds began developing into the places we know today when retreating glaciers signaled the end of the Ice Age. Salmon began colonizing the Puget lowland about 14,900 years ago. After the ice retreated, people began establishing communities by at least 12,000 years ago. By about 5000 BCE, the climate became more like the modern era, and modern plant communities began to thrive. Over the millennia, Native people developed a complex web of relationships through trade and socializing, and a deep knowledge of the places in which they lived.
In addition to some of the essays mentioned above, we also urge you read up on other events that acknowledge the significance of river basins to tribal communities and the continuing presence and impact of tribes in our state today. These include passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act in 1978, the Paddle to Seattle journey in 1989, and the signing of the Centennial Accord later that year. Also of interest are essays on the Snoqualmie Tribe's blessing ceremony for the canoe Northwest Dipper in 2010 and the Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project's orchard planting in 2011.
Fort Vancouver plays a part in another anniversary this week. On January 23, 1851, Bishop Augustine Blanchet dedicated St. James Cathedral on land adjacent to the fort’s headquarters. In 1885 a new St. James Cathedral was completed in the city of Vancouver. It served as the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church in Western Washington for more than two decades, until Bishop Edward J. O'Dea moved the diocese to Seattle.
Vancouver was named in honor of Captain George Vancouver, who explored the Pacific Northwest in the 1790s. His name was also used by our neighbor to the north, when Vancouver, British Columbia, was incorporated in 1886. Yet another Canadian eponym is Vancouver Island, the site of one more anniversary this week, albeit an unpleasant one. The SS Valencia ran aground there on January 22, 1906, and 136 persons lost their lives.
On January 22, 1964, former state representative John Goldmark won $40,000 in a libel case against four individuals and a newspaper that had called him a Communist "tool." Although he was vindicated against the smear campaign the judgment was later reversed, based on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that a public official cannot collect damages for criticism of his or her official actions in the absence of proof of malice. Two decades later, Goldmark's son Charles and family were murdered in Seattle by a right-wing extremist who said he killed them under the mistaken impression that the Goldmarks were communists
When the Supreme Court legalized most abortions with its decision in Roe v. Wade on January 22, 1973, it superseded the more restrictive standards of a referendum in which Washington voters had liberalized the state's abortion laws in 1970. Voters returned to the issue in 1991 by narrowly adopting Roe v. Wade as state law, but the issue remains a source of social and political division.
Choosing the Best
On January 25, 1994, the Tacoma City Council appointed Harold Moss as mayor after the sudden death of Mayor Jack Hyde. The vote was unanimous, and Moss -- the first African American member of both the Tacoma City Council and the Pierce County Council -- became Tacoma's first African American mayor.