The free online encyclopedia of Washington state history

7787 articles now available.

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.

We need your help gathering stories, images, and video from around the state.

Visit our Coronavirus Archive Project page to share your story. Our People's Histories are a rich collection of first-person accounts, and we would like to add your experiences in this pandemic. Thank you to everyone who has sent in their stories already -- they are touching and interesting, and we can't wait to share them!

Please send any photographs, graphics, or video footage you would like to share to We will post the images and videos on our Instagram feed and use them to illustrate articles on HistoryLink.

This Week Then


News Then, History Now

Sisters Provide

On August 2, 1878, the Sisters of Providence opened their first hospital in Seattle on the present site of the William Kenzo Nakamura Federal Courthouse. But their work was far from over. One year later, on August 3, 1879, the cornerstone was laid for St. Mary's Hospital in Walla Walla,, adjacent to St. Vincent's Academy, established by the Sisters of Providence in 1864.

Grim Homicide

This week is a dark one in Asotin County history. On August 5, 1903, a mob lynched the confessed murderer of a 12-year-old girl. And on August 5, 1931, a 12-year-old boy shot and killed the county sheriff.


Towns Side by Side

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.

Festive Debut

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. 

Tunneling Through

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.

Today in
Washington History

New On HistoryLink

Image of the Week

On July 31, 1899, hydroelectric generators began producing energy within the bowels of Snoqualmie Falls. They are still in operation today.

Quote of the Week

"When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes."

--William Shakespeare, Henry V

Major Funding Provided By

Education Partners