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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 High Ground

On August 11, 1774, the Spanish ship Santiago was emerging  from a persistent coastal fog when the crew spotted a towering mountain on the far shore. Captain Juan Perez dubbed it Cerro Nevada de Santa Rosalia, giving the first European place name to a feature of the future Washington state. After Spain ceded the region to Britain in 1790, Perez's peak was renamed Mount Olympus and the mountain chain of which it is a part became the Olympics.

News Gets Around

On August 9, 1873, Thomas Prosch began publishing Tacoma's first newspaper, the Pacific Tribune. Prosch later became publisher of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Another noteworthy newspaper event this week in history occurred on August 10, 1896, when The Seattle Times published its first edition to be edited by the paper's new co-owner, Alden J. Blethen.

Crossing the Sound

On August 14, 1890, Edmonds was incorporated in Snohomish County. In 1923 the town welcomed automobile-ferry service, which facilitated direct travel to the Olympic Peninsula. That trip became even easier with the opening of the Hood Canal Bridge on August 12, 1961.

Mark Twain Presents

In 1895 Mark Twain embarked on a year-long national lecture tour to help pay off massive business debts incurred during the Panic of  1893. On August 13 he regaled a large Seattle audience in a performance the Post-Intelligencer called a "continuous laugh." The following evening he spoke in New Whatcom (now Bellingham) and later joined some of the audience at a nearby club for drinks and cigars.

Olympic Events

On August 9, 1936, Lee Orr of Monroe placed fifth in the 200-meter dash at the Berlin Olympics, an event won by Jesse Owens. And on August 14, the University of Washington rowing crew -- propelling a George Pocock shell -- won a gold medal. In 2013 the crew was immortalized in Daniel James Brown's award-winning book, The Boys in the Boat.

Emotions Run Tense

On August 10, 1969, hundreds of teens clashed with police at Alki Beach in West Seattle.  The following night the battle shifted to the University District and turned "the Ave" into an intergenerational war zone before neighborhood volunteers enforced a tense truce on August 15. Attorney and civic leader Cal McCune helped to restore peace to the neighborhood, which led to Seattle's first street fair the following year.

Today in
Washington History

New Essays This Week

Image of the Week

Five years ago this week, on August 14, 2013, the MV Sanpoil made its maiden voyage across the Columbia River between Lincoln and Ferry counties.

Quote of the Week

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

--Mark Twain

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