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Topic: Firsts

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Beaver, SS, First Steamship in Pacific Northwest

The first steamship to operate in the eastern Pacific Ocean was the HMS Beaver, a stout little craft commissioned by the Hudson's Bay Company. She saw continuous service from 1835 until July 26, 1888,...

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Being the 9,000,000th (nine-millionth) visitor to the 1962 Seattle World's Fair: Paula Dahl (Jones) remembers

Paula Dahl (Jones) was just 6 years old when she became the nine-millionth visitor to Century 21, Seattle's 1962 World's Fair. She and her family were greeted at the gate and given prizes and a red-ca...

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Boeing's Model 314 Clipper Flying Boat

During the 1930s, transoceanic travel was beyond the capability of all but a handful of aircraft. The solution was offered by giant dirigibles such as the Graf Zeppelin and Hindenburg and by ever larg...

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Bracken, Robert (1841?-1906)

Robert "Bob" Bracken was the first non-Indian to settle permanently in what soon became Asotin County. He arrived late in 1861 when the area was still part of an Indian reservation. Bracken engaged i...

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First Woman Crane Operator at the Port of Seattle

In 1980, a year after graduating from the University of Washington, Kevin Catherine Castle was in the first group of women to join International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Seattle Local 19, ...

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Gipson, Carl (b. 1924)

Carl C. Gipson traveled a winding and often-difficult path from his birth in the Deep South to a long career of public service in Everett. Born in rural Arkansas, he attended high school in Little Roc...

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Hollingsworth, Dorothy (b. 1920)

Dorothy Hollingsworth was the first black woman in Washington state to serve on a school board. She was elected in 1975 to the Seattle School Board and was elected its president in 1979. She guided th...

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Hornbein, Thomas (b. 1930)

Tom Hornbein is known for one of mountaineering's epic achievements: the 1963 climb of Mount Everest's West Ridge with Willi Unsoeld (1926-1979), in which the two men traversed the 29,028-foot summit ...

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How the Dandelion Came to Seattle, and Why by Dorothea Nordstrand

In this People's History, Dorothea (Pfister) Nordstrand (1916-2011) tells the story of how Catherine Maynard (1816-1906) brought the first lowly dandelions to Seattle for use in the medical practice o...

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Japanese Castaways of 1834: The Three Kichis

The first Japanese known to have visited what is now Washington arrived in a dismasted, rudderless ship that ran aground on the northernmost tip of the Olympic Peninsula sometime in January 1834. The ...

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Lacrosse in Seattle: The Forgotten Early History

The first documented game of lacrosse in Seattle was played in 1896, between two teams from British Columbia, Canada. The original Seattle Lacrosse Club was formed in 1900. Many of its players came fr...

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Landes, Bertha Knight (1868-1943)

Bertha Knight Landes, elected mayor of Seattle in 1926, became the first woman to lead a major American city. She ran on a platform of "municipal housekeeping," vowing to clean up city government. She...

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Larrabee State Park (Whatcom County)

Larrabee State Park was established in 1915, and bears the distinction of being Washington's first state park. Located along and near Chuckanut Drive in Whatcom County south of Bellingham, the 2,683-a...

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Lavizzo, Dr. Blanche Sellers (1925-1984)

Dr. Blanche Sellers Lavizzo was the first African American woman pediatrician in the state of Washington. She arrived in Seattle in July 1956 and began her pediatric practice on East Madison Street an...

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Lawson, Walter Vernon (1926-1982)

Walter Vernon Lawson was the first African American police officer in the Seattle Department to be promoted to Sergeant (July 1964). He went on to become Seattle's first African American police Lieute...

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Lewis and Clark in Washington

In May 1803, the United States purchased Louisiana from France. The doubling of U.S. territory caused President Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) to send Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) on a westward expediti...

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Little White Church Cemetery (Seattle)

The first church in Seattle was the Methodist Episcopal or the "Little White Church," located downtown on 2nd Avenue and Columbia Street. The White Church Cemetery, next to the church, was Seattle's f...

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Lopes, Manuel (1812-?)

Manuel Lopes arrived in Seattle in 1852, and operated a barbershop equipped with the first barber chair to be brought around Cape Horn. He was Seattle's first black resident, businessman, and property...

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Marijuana Legalization in Washington

Washington became one of the first two states, along with Colorado, to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana when voters approved Initiative 502 on November 6, 2012. The vote was the culminatio...

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McAdoo, Benjamin (1920-1981)

Benjamin F. McAdoo was the first African American architect to maintain a practice in the state of Washington. He was a local civic leader and national advocate for the advancement of low-cost housing...

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Miller, Dr. Rosalie Reddick (1925-2005)

Dr. Rosalie Reddick Miller was the first African American woman dentist to practice in the State of Washington. She arrived in Seattle with her husband, Dr. Earl V. Miller, the first black urologist i...

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Morrison, Morrie and Alice -- Northwest Music Industry Pioneers

At the dawn of the Roaring Twenties, a Pacific Northwest couple -- Howell Oakdeane "Morrie" Morrison (1888-1984) and his wife, Alice Nadine Morrison (1892-1978) -- launched what became the region's fi...

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Owen, Frances Penrose (1900-2002)

Frances Owen served on the Seattle School Board, and on the boards of the Children's Orthopedic Hospital, the Ryther Child Center, and the National Child Welfare League. She chaired the women's divisi...

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Prim, John (1898-1961)

John Edmondson Prim was the first African American to serve as deputy prosecuting attorney for King County and the first African American judge in the state.

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