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Topic: Curiosities

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Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (1909): Baby Incubator Exhibit and Cafe

Washington's first World's Fair -- the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition -- was held in Seattle on the grounds of the University of Washington campus between June 1 and October 16, 1909, and drew more t...

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Barackman, Mervin (1894-1977) and His Wrestling Bears

The "spectator sport" of bear wrestling is an ancient, if disturbing, one that is still practiced in only a few nations. In America, the man-vs.-bear spectacle became a fad among beered-up tavern patr...

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B&I Circus Store (Lakewood)

World War II army veterans M. Leo Bradshaw (1916-1993) and Earl Leonard Irwin (1909-1973) opened the B&I Sales Company, an army surplus store located in Lakewood in southern Pierce County, in 1945...

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Bicycle Tree at Snohomish (1890-1927) -- A Slideshow

This slideshow presents the vintage postcard collection of Peter Blecha on the enormous and curious "bike tree," located in Snohomish County within what is now Snohomish city limits. The slide show wa...

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Bobo's Fifth Birthday

Bobo (1951-1968) was a beloved gorilla who for 15 years entertained visitors to the Great Ape House at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo. Before moving to the zoo, Bobo lived with a human family. Bobo's hum...

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Burnley Ghost and Other Seattle Apparitions

In his famous, possibly apocryphal, speech of 1854, Chief Seattle is said to have warned his new neighbors that "the dead are not altogether powerless." There have been numerous reports of ghosts and ...

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Edith Wilson Macefield: A House Is Your Home

When someone refuses to sell property while everyone around her does, it is known as a holdout. In China, holdout houses that remain while developments are built around them are called "dingzihu" or "...

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Ferry Whistles on Puget Sound: A Slideshow

For more than a century, ferryboat captains on Puget Sound have used the distinctive docking signal made up of a long blast on the boat's whistle followed by two short ones. In maritime terms, this is...

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Finding Cherry Grove by Hunter Brown

Hunter Brown (1992-2017) wrote this account of locating and then traveling to the site of Cherry Grove, Illinois. Cherry Grove was the town the Denny/Boren family left behind in April 1851 when they s...

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Flying Saucers

The modern phenomena of UFOs and "flying saucers" began in Washington state on June 24, 1947, when Kenneth Arnold spotted nine mysterious, high-speed objects "flying like a saucer would" along the cre...

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Fort Lewis Prisoners of War (World War II)

During World War II, Fort Lewis in Pierce County held about 4,000 German prisoners of war. The POWs were confined there between 1942 and 1946. A few died from illness or from their war wounds, but mos...

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Haunted Email from Rose Red

This essay contains selected email queries received by HistoryLink concerning Rose Red, an ABC-TV mini-series which aired in January 2002 and was based on a story concept by Stephen King and a related...

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Lusty Lady: A Seattle Panoram

The Lusty Lady, a "panoram," or peepshow, was a remnant of Seattle's bawdy past, an overly lipsticked cousin in a gentrifying family. The pawn shops, tattoo parlors, and strip clubs that were once its...

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Mapleine Advertisement, 1909

Mapleine is an imitation maple flavoring originally produced by Seattle's Crescent Manufacturing Company in 1905. Mapleine quickly became Crescent's signature product. The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposit...

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Oil Exploration in Washington

David Brannon has provided this overview of oil exploration and production in Washington, beginning with Native Americans and ending as recently as the 1960s.

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Prunarians (Vancouver, Washington, 1920s)

This piece on the Prunarians, a group of civic-minded Vancouver businessmen active in the 1920s, was written by Bill Alley. During the 1920s, Clark County, Washington, was the prune capital of the wor...

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The Story of Willie Keil

This account of the strange journey of Willie Keil (1836-1855) over the Oregon Trail was written by Dorothea Nordstrand (1916-2011) and first appeared in Adventure West in November 1994.

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The Swinging Chandelier: A Story for April 1 by Ralph Munro

Ralph Munro served as Secretary of State from 1980 to 2001. This story of the chandelier in the Capitol Building in Olympia also involves another person, Jack Metcalf (1927-2007), a Washington state s...

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Vashon Island's "Bike in the Tree"

In this People's History, Leigh Sheridan, HistoryLink's education intern, recounts her first encounter with Vashon Island's famous "Bike in the Tree." Her narrative focuses on how she learned more abo...

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Wild Man of the Wynoochee

A year and a half after killing two teenage boys on Washington's Olympic Peninsula, and then disappearing into the deeply forested Wynoochee Valley (in southern Grays Harbor County), John Tornow -- a ...

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World War I Era Spiritualism in Seattle

This story, prepared by museum historian Lorraine McConaghy, Ph.D., begins with a Ouija board held in the collection of Seattle's Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI). The simple wooden board meas...

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