The free online encyclopedia of Washington state history

8085 articles now available.

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

News of the Day

On August 9, 1873, Thomas Prosch began publishing Tacoma's first newspaper, the Pacific Tribune. Prosch later became publisher of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which got its start on August 5, 1867. Another noteworthy news anniversary this week occurred on August 10, 1896, when The Seattle Times published its first edition edited by the paper's new co-owner, Alden J. Blethen.


Blazing Away

On August 4, 1889, a fire broke out in a wooden building along Railroad Avenue in Spokane. The flames quickly spread to other wooden structures, stoked by rubbish and refuse dumped between buildings. Firefighters had no chance to extinguish the blaze, which grew to engulf the more substantial brick and stone buildings of the business district. By nightfall the inferno had destroyed 32 square blocks, virtually the entire downtown.

Crime Doesn’t Pay

This week is a dark one in Asotin County history. On August 5, 1903, a mob lynched the confessed murderer of a 12-year-old girl. And on August 5, 1931, a 12-year-old boy shot and killed the county sheriff.

Olympic Gains

On August 8, 1932, Helene Madison won the first of three gold medals at that year's Summer Olympics, making her the first athlete born or raised in Washington to do so. Since then, six other swimmers, three boxers, two shooters, one canoeist, and one track and field star have won individual golds at the summer games.

Jumping from Planes

On August 10, 1940, two U.S. Forest Service fire guards, Francis Lufkin and Glen H. Smith, became the first smokejumpers to parachute into a forest wildfire in the state of Washington. Five years later, the North Cascades Smokejumper Base opened in the Methow Valley, one of seven smokejumper bases operated by the Forest Service for airborne firefighting across the Western states.

Small Paper Cranes

On August 6, 1990, -- the 45th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing -- dedication ceremonies were held for the Seattle Peace Park. Conceived by Quaker peace activist Floyd Schmoe, the park features a statue of Sadako Sasaki -- who died at age 12 of leukemia caused by the atomic bombing -- holding a folded paper crane. Since its installation, the statue has been continually graced by colorful strings of paper cranes, placed there by visitors.

Today in
Washington History

New On HistoryLink

Image of the Week

Forks incorporated on August 7, 1945.

Quote of the Week

"That’s the first time I ever walked home from a boat race!"

-- Bill Cantrell

Major Funding Provided By

Education Partners