The free online encyclopedia of Washington state history

7852 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

Shaken, Indeed

On January 26, 1700, a massive earthquake struck the Pacific Northwest, sending a tsunami across the Pacific that slammed into Japan. There several sources recorded the event, making it the earliest documented historical occurrence in our region. It is estimated that the temblor was at least 9.2 on the modern Richter scale, making it the region's most powerful earthquake ... yet.

Liquor and Weed

On January 23, 1934, Governor Clarence Martin signed the Steele Liquor Act establishing the Washington State Liquor Control Board. In recent years it has become the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, following the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2012.

Taking the Lead

On January 27, 1930, construction began on Rock Island Dam, located between Chelan and Douglas counties. When it was completed in 1933, it became the first dam built on the Columbia River, although its construction was not related to the massive projects undertaken by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dam other stretches of the river.

Game Over

A rare upset occurred in the world of sports on January 21, 1952, when the Seattle University Chieftains beat the Harlem Globetrotters by a score of 84 to 81. Much of the credit for the Chieftains' victory went to the "Flyin' O'Briens" -- Ed and John -- who went on to become the university's athletic director and a King County commissioner, respectively.

Shot Down

On January 26, 1969, civil rights leader and Seattle Urban League Executive Director Edwin Pratt was killed by a shotgun blast outside his home in Shoreline. The assailants were never found.

Sworn In

On January 25, 1994, the Tacoma City Council unanimously appointed Harold Moss as the city's first black mayor. Term limits prevented him from running again in the next election (Tacoma's mayor is considered part of the council), but in 1997 Moss was elected as the first black member of the Pierce County Council, where he served until 2004.

Today in
Washington History

New On HistoryLink

Image of the Week

Yakima County was established on January 21, 1865.

Quote of the Week

"To describe the beauties of this region will on some future occasion be a very grateful task to the pen of a skilled panegyrist."

--Captain George Vancouver

Major Funding Provided By

Education Partners