7606 HistoryLink.org articles now available.
On July 12, 1775, Bruno de Hezeta landed on what is now Grenville Bay and claimed the Pacific Northwest for Spain, despite a less than friendly welcome by the locals. For the next two decades, Spain had a virtual monopoly on settlement and trade throughout the region, but ceded its claims when it signed the Nootka Convention with Great Britain in 1790.
On July 13, 1857, Kitsap County was named in honor of Chief Kitsap, a Suquamish leader. Prior to that it had been named Slaughter County, after U.S. Army Lieutenant William Slaughter, who was killed by Native Americans on the White River in 1855. This wouldn't be the only time that poor Lieutenant Slaughter was passed over for honors.
Forty years ago this week, on July 17, 1979, Seattle hosted the 50th Major League All-Star Game, attended by baseball fans throughout the Northwest. And 20 years ago this week, on July 15, 1999, Safeco Field (now T-Mobile Park) opened, providing the Seattle Mariners with a long-sought, baseball-only stadium.
Thirty-five years ago this week, on July 14, 1984, the West Seattle Bridge was dedicated, more than six years after its predecessor bridge was knocked out of commission by an errant freighter. The new bridge was a welcome sight to residents of West Seattle, who had suffered through dismal traffic jams since the accident, and industries along the Duwamish Waterway, which had spent years clamoring for a high bridge at the river's mouth to allow easier access to large vessels.
Five years ago this week, four small fires in Okanogan County combined into a raging firestorm. On July 17, 2014, the wildfire, having spread out over 18,000 acres, destroyed 111 homes in and around the town of Pateros, and the flames continued to spread. By July 20, the Carlton Complex wildfire had grown to 243,291 acres, making it the largest single fire in Washington history -- surpassing the Yacolt Burn of 1902.
Washington cities that celebrate birthdays this week include Ritzville, which incorporated on July 17, 1890; Benton City, which incorporated on July 14 1945; Gig Harbor, which incorporated on July 12, 1946; and Richland, which transitioned from being federally owned to being a self-governing city on July 15, 1958.
"Gold -- what can it not do, and undo?"
-- William Shakespeare
Help us tell more of Washington’s stories.