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.
Coronavirus Archive Project
We aren't waiting for this to be history! We are documenting the impact of the pandemic on Washington communities in several ways so future generations can turn to HistoryLink to learn what happened. We have posted a number of articles about the key events so far, and you can access them here. Check back for new articles that are coming soon.
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The venue, which was designed by B. Marcus Priteca, "reined" supreme for almost 60 years under the direction of founder Joe Gottstein and his son-in-law Morris Alhadeff. In 1976 Alhadeff and his wife, Joan, both of whom were arts patrons, invited renowned painter Kenneth Callahan to the track. The artist was so captivated by the experience he returned for weeks to sketch the horses. He then used those drawings to produce two series of gouache and oil paintings, some of which were displayed in the Longacres Turf Club.
Seattle Slew visited the oval less than a month after his 1977 Triple Crown win and starred in two "Golden Gallop" laps around the track to raise money for medical research at UW and WSU. Longacres closed in 1992 and was later demolished to make way for Boeing's Customer Service Training Center. But thanks to investors like Herman Sarkowsky, thoroughbred racing lives on at Emerald Downs in Auburn.
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 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.
Spokane was the last in a string of Washington cities to suffer a devastating fire that year. The nearby town of Cheney had its downtown reduced to rubble on April 18. On June 3, half of the business district of Republic went up in flames. Three days later much of downtown Seattle burned to the ground, and on July 4, 200 homes and 10 business blocks were destroyed in Ellensburg.
Two neighboring communities in south King County that incorporated nearly a half-century apart mark those anniversaries this week. On August 2, 1909, the City of Pacific, which straddles the King-Pierce County line, incorporated a few years after the Seattle-Tacoma Interurban Railway brought growth and development to the White River Valley area. Algona, located north of Pacific, was also platted in the 1900s, but took a bit longer to achieve city status. Its residents waited until the 1955 to incorporate, and Algona celebrates that anniversary on August 1.
Bridge with a View
In 1929 freshman State Representative Pearl Wannamaker succeeded in getting both houses of the state legislature to unanimously approve the construction of a bridge connecting Whidbey Island to the mainland. Unfortunately for island residents, Republican Governor Roland Hartley vetoed the project. Wanamaker persevered and was able to pass the bridge plan after the 1932 election, which Democrats won in a landslide. The Deception Pass and Canoe Pass bridges opened on July 31, 1935, and are now one of Washington's most attractive tourist destinations.
On August 4, 1952, Seattle's burgeoning African American population kicked off a six-day celebration of community and culture, which they named Mardi Gras as a salute to the annual New Orleans-based event. The Seattle Mardi Gras Festival, which coincided with Seafair, remained a fixture into the mid 1960s, when it was renamed the Pacific Northwest Black Community Festival.
On July 30, 2013, a huge machine named Bertha began digging the new State Route 99 tunnel beneath downtown Seattle. Excavation was expected to be complete in 2014, but due to a mechanical breakdown, Bertha didn't emerge from the depths until 2016. The tunnel finally opened to traffic last year, after which the Alaskan Way Viaduct was torn down.