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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

First Congregation

On September 14, 1892, Temple Emanu-El in Spokane became the first Jewish synagogue to open in the state of Washington. Four days later, Ohaveth Sholum Congregation opened the first synagogue in Seattle.

Poor Sanitation

On September 13, 1909, some cats went stark raving mad at the Ballard police station, but there was a more serious health problem in the region. A day earlier, Seattle health officials reported an outbreak of typhoid fever, but it wasn't until later that the cause was determined to be contaminated drinking water at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition.

Big Celebration

On September 15, 1915, the citizens of Mabton celebrated their abundant alfalfa crop by opening the Hay Palace -- built almost entirely of hay bales. And on September 13, 1923, Ellensburg held its first rodeo, an event now held each Labor Day weekend. This celebration of Western culture harkens back to the days of the town's origin as a trading post named Robber's Roost.

Bold Aviation

During the summer and early fall of 1927, soon after returning from his historic solo flight across the Atlantic, aviator Charles Lindbergh traveled the country in the Spirit of St. Louis, promoting airplanes and the building of airports. In Washington, he landed in Spokane on September 12, then made many low-altitude flyovers of cities along his route to Seattle the next day.

Guitar Innovation

On September 13, 1934, the Los Angeles-based Orville Knapp Orchestra performed a Seattle concert at the Club Victor featuring what is almost certainly the local public debut of the electric guitar. On September 16, 1957, Dave Bunker submitted a patent application for his dual-necked "Touch Guitar." Thirty-four years later, on September 13, 1991, Nirvana held a release party at Seattle's Re-bar dance club for their Nevermind album, which made music history by selling more than 10 million copies in the U.S. alone.


Quite a few Washington cities celebrate birthdays this week, beginning with Port Orchard, which incorporated as Sidney on September 15, 1890. Sunnyside  incorporated on September 16, 1902, and Wapato did the same exactly six years laterGold Bar incorporated on September 6, 1910,  while Moses Lake incorporated on September 15, 1938. And finally, on September 18, 1947, Winslow became a city, but later changed its name to Bainbridge Island after annexing the entire land mass.


Today in
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Image of the Week

One hundred years ago this week, President Woodrow Wilson visited Seattle on September 13, 1919.

Quote of the Week

"To me, history ought to be a source of pleasure. It isn't just part of our civic responsibility. To me, it's an enlargement of the experience of being alive, just the way literature or art or music is."

--David McCullough

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