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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


Henry Yesler

News Then, History Now

Spanish Claim

On July 12, 1775, Bruno de Hezeta came ashore at Grenville Bay on the coast of what is now Grays Harbor County and claimed the Pacific Northwest for Spain, despite a less than friendly welcome by the locals. For several years 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.

Treasure Came

On July 17, 1897, the steamer Portland docked in Seattle carrying two tons of gold from the banks of the Klondike River in Canada's Yukon Territory. Besides lifting the city out of an economic depression, the ensuing Gold Rush eventually led to many lasting legacies.


Boxing Fame

On July 11, 1936, Freddie Steele defeated Eddie "Babe" Risko at Civic Stadium in Seattle to become boxing's middleweight champion. Known as "The Tacoma Assassin," Steele went from prizefighter to Hollywood actor, appearing in several films in the 1940s, including a supporting role in the acclaimed movie The Story of G.I. Joe.

Standing Tall

Fifty years ago this week, on July 12, 1974, the Austin A. Bell Building in Seattle was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Designed by architect Elmer Fisher and completed in 1890, the building was conceived by Austin Americus Bell, the only son of Seattle founding father William N. Bell for whom Belltown is named.

Let's Play Ball

On July 17, 1979, Seattle hosted the 50th Major League All-Star Game, attended by baseball fans from throughout the Northwest. And 25 years ago this week, Safeco Field (now T-Mobile Park), opened on July 15, 1999, providing the Seattle Mariners with a long-sought, baseball-only stadium.

Congrats to All

Washington cities that celebrate birthdays this week include Kalama, which incorporated on July 16, 1890; Ritzville, which incorporated on the next day; Benton City, incorporated on July 14 1945; Gig Harbor, incorporated on July 12, 1946; and Richland, which transitioned from being federally owned to becoming a self-governing city on July 15, 1958.

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Image of the Week

Liberty Bell in Seattle, 1915

On July 14, 1915, the Liberty Bell visited Everett, Seattle, and Tacoma en route to the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco.

Quote of the Week

"Huzza for Seattle! It would be folly to suppose that the mill will not prove as good as a gold mine to Mr. Yesler, besides tending greatly to improve the fine town-site of Seattle, and the fertile country around it, by attracting thither the farmer, the laborer, and the capitalist. On with improvements!"

 --Untitled note published on October 30, 1852, in The Columbian newspaper of Olympia

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