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.
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This Week Then
World at War
Eighty years ago this week, on December 7, 1941, at 1:28 a.m., a secret United States Navy radio station on Bainbridge Island intercepted a message from Tokyo to the Japanese embassy in Washington, D.C. The message instructed the Japanese ambassador to break off ongoing peace negotiations with the United States, but its true purpose was to inform the ambassador that Japanese forces were about to attack Pearl Harbor. By the time the intercepted message was delivered to the U.S. Secretary of State in Washington, D.C., the battle had begun, and the U.S. declared war on Japan the next day.
On December 6, 1913, the ferry Leschi was launched at Rainier Beach for service on Lake Washington. Originally used to transport passengers and vehicles between Seattle and Bellevue, the Leschi was Western Washington's first auto ferry.
For centuries, Native Americans traversed Lake Washington by canoe. After settlers arrived in the late 1800s, larger vessels were needed to ferry those who moved to the Eastside. In 1884, the scow Squak became the first power vessel to provide regular ferry service over the lake, as well as up Squak Slough to Lake Sammamish. Sleeker passenger ferries soon followed.
By the end of the century, Kirkland was the prime destination for most lake ferries, and in 1900 the town's residents requested a dock and a public ferry run to serve their needs. A decade later, Bellevue farmers requested a route to their community, but with a vessel that could transport cars and trucks. When the Leschi was launched in 1913, the automotive age entered the realm of Pacific Northwest maritime history.
December 8 is the feast day of the Immaculate Conception and marks several historic anniversaries in local Roman Catholic history. The Sisters of Providence arrived at Fort Vancouver on that date in 1856, and the Seattle School of the Immaculate Conception dedicated its first new building on December 8, 1894, evolving from there into today's Seattle University. One hundred and five years later, the university co-hosted the historic visit of South African leaders Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel on December 8, 1999.
Fruits and Hay
On December 4, 1889, Walter Granger and a group of Minnesota investors organized the Yakima Land and Canal Company, which in turn created the Sunnyside Project, the valley’s first commercial irrigation venture. Grateful landowners soon named a town after Granger, although the businessman lived in nearby Zillah.
Thirty years ago this week, on December 5, 1991, the Seattle Art Museum moved to its present downtown location after spending nearly 60 years at its Art Deco home in Volunteer Park, later rededicated as the Seattle Asian Art Museum. In early 2007, SAM celebrated the opening of the Olympic Sculpture Park, located one mile northwest of the downtown museum.