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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

Needed at School

On May 16, 1864, a ship carrying 11 young women under the escort of Asa Shinn Mercer arrived in Seattle from New England. This first of two contingents of Mercer Girls had an instant impact on Seattle's mostly male frontier culture, and included the town's first public school teacher. It would later inspire the TV series Here Come the Brides. And Asa Mercer is remembered too, appropriately enough, with a Seattle middle school named in his honor.

Keeping Things Cool

On May 13, 1872, Seattle's first imported ice went on sale for three cents a pound. Within a week, ice cream was sold for the first time in King County, and by the end of the month two Seattle "ice cream saloons" had opened for business. Two decades later, harvested ice had become a thing of the past and Diamond Ice handled most of Seattle's chilly needs.

A Dip in the Pool

On May 15, 1912, in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains, the first visitors to the Sol Duc Hot Springs resort enjoyed soothing warm waters in a sylvan setting. The spa became more popular after the Olympic Loop Highway opened in 1931.

Speaking Up

On May 18, 1952, Paul Robeson performed at an outdoor concert for more than 25,000 people at Peace Arch Park in Blaine. His passport had been confiscated because of his political views, which prevented his entry into Canada. Two days later he was almost barred from speaking and performing in Seattle, but he overcame Cold-War hysteria to make his voice heard.

Come On In

On May 13, 1977, the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center opened its doors in Discovery Park in Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood. Founded by Native American leader Bernie Whitebear, and with the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation as its parent organization, the Daybreak Star Center serves as an urban base for Native Americans in the Seattle area.


Starting Out

Cities celebrating birthdays this week include Shelton, which incorporated in 1890 on May 17; Anacortes, which incorporated on May 19, 1891; and Oak Harbor, which incorporated on May 14, 1915.

Today in
Washington History

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Image of the Week

Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980.

Quote of the Week

"There is a broken link between my race and the white people. So I thought I better look back and talk to the older people that are living and try to explain our history by getting their totems and carve them out on the pole like the way it used to be years ago."

--William Shelton

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