Seattle Sesquicentennial Presentation of Channel 150 News, November 14, 2001 -- Part 2 of 3

  • By Walt Crowley and Chris Goodman
  • Posted 2/13/2002
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 10274

This three-part People's History by Walt Crowley and Chris Goodman recounts the celebrations of the sesquicentennial of the first landing by settlers on Alki Point. On November 14, 2001, the Seattle Rotary 4 and Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce presented a special luncheon program in the Washington State Convention & Trade Center to celebrate the previous day's sesquicentennial of the Alki Beach landing of Seattle's founding settlers. The program recapped Seattle's history in the form of "The Early, Early Report" of "Channel 150 News." Anchors and reporters from KING, KIRO, and KCPQ television news played themselves and Chamber and Rotary members and other citizens portrayed various historical figures (see the cast list below).

Part 2: November 14, 2001, Seattle Sesquicentennial Luncheon: "Channel 150 News"

Cast:
Anchor Team 1: KIRO: Steve Raible and Susan Hutchison
Anchor Team 2: KCPQ: Scott Engler and Leslie Miller
Anchor Team 3: KING: Jean Enersen and Dennis Bounds
Announcers: Dorothy Bullitt, Rotary Club of Seattle
Alan Stein, HistoryLink
Field Reporters: Eric Bremner
Deborah Horne, KIRO
Don Porter, KING
Labor Reporter: Kate Joncas, Downtown Seattle Association
Science Reporter: Roger Oglesby, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Political Reporter: Walt Crowley, HistoryLink
Meteorologist: Henry Webrink, KCPQ
Business Reporter: Mike Flynn, Puget Sound Business Journal
Sports Reporter: Tony Ventrella, KIRO
Arthur Denny: Ralph Munro, Former Secretary of State
Chief Seattle: James Rasmussen, Duwamish Tribe
John Back: Jahn Hedberg, Consul of Sweden
Erastus Brainerd: Mac MacDonald, The LYFE Enhancement Company
Anna Louise Strong: Mary McWilliams, Regence Blue Shield

(News Team 2: KCPQ)

Scott Engler: Welcome back to the Early, Early Report. It's July 14, 1873, and we've just learned that the Northern Pacific has announced that Tacoma will be the Puget Sound terminus for the new transcontinental railroad.

Leslie Miller: That's got to be bad news for Seattle. Let's see how the town's taking the news. Channel 150 reporter Don Porter in on the scene. What's the reaction?

Reporter (Don Porter): It was pretty gloomy when Arthur Denny read the Northern Pacific's telegram. The news popped the town's first real estate bubble, but they're not taking it lying down. Everybody went down to the Duwamish and started building their own railroad to Walla Walla.

Engler: That's pretty ambitious. How far did they get?

Porter: Georgetown. (pause) Fortunately, Chinese workers have taken over the job and they're laying tracks to the new coal mines outside of Renton. Looks like the railroad might work out after all, but a lot of white workers seem to resent the Chinese. There could be trouble ahead.

Miller: Yes, we're hearing reports of violent anti-Chinese riots and new exclusion laws all up and down the Coast. But first, this weather and traffic update from Channel 150 meteorologist Henry Webrink.

Meteorologist (Henry Webrink): The commute is definitely picking up. The exclusive Channel 150 Heliograph reports a swarm of steamships on the Sound as thick as mosquitoes. The roads are still pretty slow, but the new streetcars and cable cars are running smoothly. Turning to the weather, looks like the spring and summer of 1889 are going to set new records. We're predicting a scorcher for June 6, so you ladies out there, don't forget your parasols.

Engler: This just in: A fire has broken out in a cabinet shop at First and Madison. The Channel 150 News Buggy is on the scene with this live report...

Porter: It's just incredible here. There's a brisk wind off the bay and the fire is spreading fast. Uh, oh, there goes the Frye Opera House... and now the Occidental Hotel. Mayor Moran says 29 city blocks are now engulfed in flames.

Miller: Where are the volunteer firemen? Why aren't they putting it out?

Porter: They were right on the spot, but they can only get a trickle out of the private water company mains.

Engler: Any idea how it started?

Porter: As a matter of fact, I'm standing here with John Back, who recently arrived from Sweden and worked in the Clairmont Cabinet Shop. What happened, John?
John Back (Jahn Hedberg, in accent): I cut some balls of glue and put them in the glue pot on the stove ... [and] went to work about twenty-five feet away, near the front door. After a while somebody said 'Look at the glue.' Another fellow, a Findlander from New York, then took a piece of board and laid it on to smother the glue, but the board caught fire. Then I run and took the pot of water to smother the fire and poured it over the pot of glue, which was blazing up high. When I throw the water on, the glue flew all over the shop into the shavings and everything take fire.
Porter: That's pretty amazing. What are you going to do now?

John Back: Change my name and move to San Francisco.

Porter: Probably not a bad idea. Mayor Robert Moran says the city will definitely rebuild, but he's recommending using stone and bricks this time. And he'll be sponsoring a referendum next month to create a public water utility and tap the Cedar River. The City Light says it might build a hydroelectric dam down there, too.

Miller: Sound's like a good plan -- if the economy holds up. Speaking of which, it's time to check the market with Channel 150 Business Reporter Mike Flynn:

Business Reporter (Mike Flynn): It's looking pretty grim at the moment. After a Post-fire rally fueled by Seattle's reconstruction and the arrival of the Great Northern Railway, investors panicked in 1893 when the Fed reported that it was out of gold. Stocks fell and bankruptcies rose across the nation. Business and employment have been flat for over four years and there's no sign of recovery. Only a miracle could revive the local economy now. Meanwhile, salmon futures are down...

Miller: I'm sorry to interrupt but we're going to cut now to Schwabacher's Wharf for a breaking story. We see a huge crowd has gathered to meet the steamship Portland. What's the occasion....

Porter: It's pandemonium down here. This morning's Post-Intelligencer reported that the Portland is carrying more than a ton of gold mined along the Klondike River up in the Yukon Territory. P-I reporter Erastus Brainerd met the boat, and I understand he's just been hired by the Chamber of Commerce to promote Seattle. What's you're mission, Mr. Brainerd.

Erastus Brainerd (Mac MacDonald): We're going to make this city known the world around as the Gateway to Alaska!

Porter: How will you do that?

Brainerd: First, we'll get the government to base the assay office here, then we'll mobilize every ship in the region to serve Alaska. Meanwhile, I'm sending press releases and brochures to every editor, reporter, and dime-novelist I can track down.

Porter: Don't you want to head north and look for gold yourself?

Brainerd: Why would I do that? All these miners are going to need supplies, and the lucky ones will be eager to spend their gold when they return. All we got to do is pick their pockets coming and going.

Engler: Well, the city needed a miracle, and I guess it got its wish. Sounds like a good excuse for a party.

Miller: As a matter of fact, the city and business community are planning a world's fair for 1909. They're calling it the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. The city also just opened a new public market down at Pike Place and a lunch group called a "Rotary" has started meeting. R.H. Thompson has flattened Denny Hill, typewriter king L. C. Smith is erecting the West's tallest building, and William Boeing is working on some kind of flying machine. It looks like the sky's the limit for Seattle.

Engler: Machines flying, right. Next, we'll have women voting. Oh, this just in: After decades of struggle, women in Washington won the vote in 1910, and it looks like the state is going to go dry in 1915.

Miller: I guess every party has to end some time, and it's important to remember that not everybody's got a reason to celebrate these days. In fact, there's a lot of grumbling down on the docks and in the shipyards. We've sent Channel 150 labor reporter Kate Joncas to cover the waterfront.

Labor Reporter (Kate Joncas): There's a lot of tension here. Seattle School Board member Anna Louise Strong has called for a general strike to shut down the entire city. Ms. Strong, this is big gamble for unions. What do you predict?

Anna Louise Strong (Mary McWilliams, stridently): We are undertaking the most tremendous move ever made by labor in this country, a move which will lead -- NO ONE KNOWS WHERE!

Joncas: That's not very comforting. What about essential services?

Strong: Labor will feed the people. Labor will care for the babies and the sick. Labor will preserve order!

Joncas: There you have it. Strong words down here on the waterfront.

Engler: Either too strong or not strong enough, we are hearing. The strike is already fizzling out after less than a week. It could be a long time before organized labor recovers. For more on the economy, we return to Channel 150 business reporter Mike Flynn.

Mike Flynn: They don't call economics a "dismal science" for nothing, and I'm afraid I've got more bad news from Wall Street. Stocks started falling in October 1929, and they're showing no sign recovery. International trade at the Port of Seattle has dried up, a thousand unemployed workers live in a shantytown they call Hooverville, and there's a new waterfront strike brewing on the West Coast. President Roosevelt has promised a New Deal, but we may run out of chips before the cards are dealt.

Miller: Is there no bright spot in business?

Flynn: It looks like another world war is brewing. That's usually good for the economy.

Miller: Somehow, that doesn't cheer me up. We'll return after this word from the last sponsor we have left...

Announcer (Alan Stein): Are you heading to Berlin? Or aiming for Tokyo? Maybe you're just planning a short hop to Chicago. Well, wherever you're going, get there in a Boeing! (Rapidly) An equal opportunity employer with jobs for every race, creed and religion -- and you, too, Rosie. So make a B-line for Plant 2, and buy more War Bonds! (Music: Wild Blue Yonder)

 


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