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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

Casting a Vote

On June 6, 1870, Charlotte Emily Olney French – after a debate with Thurston County election judges – became the first woman to cast a vote in a Washington territorial election. The next year, the territorial legislature voted to deny Washington women the vote, but it would be regained for a few years before statehood in 1889. It wasn't until 1910 that Washington's all-male electorate ratified Amendment 6 to the state constitution granting women the right to vote, making the state the fifth in the nation to permanently enfranchise women.

An Expo of Note

Exactly two years after its groundbreaking ceremony, the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition opened on June 1, 1909. Some out-of-town visitors stayed at the Sorrento Hotel, which had opened two days earlier. Others enjoyed a nice drive to the fair along the newly opened University Boulevard.

Troubles Afloat

On June 7, 1942, a Japanese submarine torpedoed and sank the freighter SS Coast Trader near Cape Flattery, an incident the Navy tried (unsuccessfully) to censor for fear of panicking the West Coast. Another sub rosa event occurred on June 3, 1958, when the submarine U.S.S. Nautilus stopped in Seattle enroute to a top-secret Cold War mission to transit the North Pole underwater. A leaking condenser threatened the mission, but crewmen donned civilian clothes and scoured the city's gas stations for every can of Bar's Leaks they could buy.

Listening In

On June 7, 1962, the Seattle Symphony – led by Milton Katims – staged its first full opera, a lavish production of Verdi's Aida for Century 21, the city’s world's fair. And on June 5, 1988, an obscure grunge band from Aberdeen played a set at the Central Tavern in Seattle's Pioneer Square. Among those in attendance to hear Nirvana were the founders of Sub Pop Records, who later released the band's debut single.

Cheer the Big Win

On June 1, 1979, the Seattle SuperSonics beat the Washington Bullets 97-93 in Landover, Maryland, and won the team's first (and only) NBA championship. This was Seattle’s first major professional-sports trophy since the Seattle Metropolitans hockey team won the Stanley Cup in 1917.

Time to Begin

Communities that celebrate birthdays this week in history include Colville, which incorporated on June 7, 1890; White Salmon, which incorporated on June 3, 1907; and Ephrata, which incorporated on June 1, 1909.

Today in
Washington History

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Image of the Week

On June 1, 1911, the Fisher Flouring Mills opened on Harbor Island in Elliott Bay.

Quote of the Week

At Bonneville now there are ships in the locks
The waters have risen and cleared all the rocks
Shiploads of plenty will steam past the docks
So roll on, Columbia, roll on.

–Woody Guthrie, "Roll On Columbia"

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