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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

County Affairs

Walla Walla County got its start on April 25, 1854, when it was carved out of Skamania County. Indians and settlers had confrontations and conflicts, but within a few years local citizens had a major thoroughfare, a school, a newspaper, a bank, and a railroad. The first Washington Constitutional Convention convened in the town of Walla Walla, then the largest in the territory, in 1878.

Needing Repairs

On April 25, 1912, the steamship Alameda rammed Seattle's Colman Dock and toppled its clock tower into Elliott Bay. The accident led to an even greater tragedy three weeks later, when a gangplank failed during the dock's reconstruction, drowning two and injuring 58.

Bomb Threats and Scares

One hundred years ago this week, on April 28, 1919, Seattle mayor Ole Hanson received a bomb in the mail, part of a nationwide plot by anarchists to attack politicians and well-known businessmen. Fortunately, it did not explode. The same can't be said for an aerial bomb that fatally injured Spokane pioneer aviator Major John T. Fancher on April 29, 1928, after a flight demonstration in East Wenatchee. Fancher had been instrumental in bringing the 1927 National Air Derby and Air Races to Spokane's Felts Field.

Swing and Sway

On April 29, 1965, 20 years to the day after a smaller temblor had struck Western Washington, a major earthquake jarred the region, causing seven deaths and extensive damage. The quake also led to a strange occurrence near Kirkland, much to the relief of one lucky goldfish.

Come and Play

On May 1, 1988, Kurt Cobain posted a "Drummer Wanted" ad in Seattle's The Rocket newspaper. The ad proved fruitless, but within weeks Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic connected with drummer Chad Channing and recorded Nirvana's historic first single. The band, which went through a succession of drummers before finding Dave Grohl, gained worldwide fame, but not before playing in Seattle clubs like The Crocodile, which opened on April 30, 1991.

On Their Way

Communities celebrating birthdays this week include Issaquah, which incorporated as Gilman on April 29, 1892, and Toppenish, which incorporated on April 29, 1907. And on April 30, 1992, Bothell doubled in size when it annexed Canyon Park.

Today in
Washington History

Image of the Week

On April 26, 1917, Washington received its first federal highway grant to pave a portion of Pacific Highway in Thurston County.

Quote of the Week

"Not considering this opening worthy of more attention, I continued our pursuit to the Northwest, being desirous to embrace the advantages of the prevailing breeze."

--Captain George Vancouver

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