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AFM Seattle Local 493 (1918-1958), "Negro Musicians' Union"

Today's labor union for Seattle's professional musicians is the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) Local 76-493, and that numerically cumbersome name reflects perfectly the organization's tangled ...

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Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (1909): Music at the Fair

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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All Shook Up: Elvis Rocks Sicks' Stadium

In this People's History, HistoryLink staff historian Cassandra Tate (b. 1945) recalls a memorable encounter with Elvis Presley at Sicks' Seattle Stadium in Rainier Valley, on Labor Day weekend, 1957.

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Allen, Paul (1953-2018)

Despite having made billions of dollars as a result of his computer programming skills, Paul Gardner Allen insisted that he was not a geek.  "I wasn’t a nerd," Allen writes in his 2012 auto...

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Allied Arts of Seattle

Allied Arts of Seattle is one of the city's most influential advocates for urban design and the arts. It grew out of the Beer & Culture Society, a small circle of academics, architects, and artist...

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Anderson, Ernestine (1928-2016), Jazz Singer

Ernestine Anderson launched her amazing career as a jazz singer while still a teenaged Seattle high school student back in the 1940s. By the 1950s she was an experienced performer who'd toured widely ...

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Anderson, Otto (1857-1938), Furniture Designer and Guitar-Maker

The excellent wood-working skills of Swedish immigrant, Otto Edward Anderson provided him with good job opportunities upon his arrival in the Pacific Northwest in 1888. One highlight of his career mus...

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Aqua Theatre -- Seattle

The Aqua Theatre was an open air stadium on the south shore of Seattle's Green Lake. The nationally famous Aqua Follies opened the new theater on August 11, 1950. Sell-out crowds came to see the wate...

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Asberry, Nettie Craig (1865-1968)

Nettie Craig Asberry was an extraordinary, early African American resident of Tacoma who was known for her work in fighting racism and in helping to open doors for women. A founding member of the ...

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Barnett, Powell S. (1883-1971)

Powell S. Barnett, a Seattle musician, baseball player, and community leader, was the organizer and first president of the Leschi (neighborhood) Community Council. He was a leader in organizing the Ea...

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Barons, The: The Northwest's First Hit-making '50s Teen Rock 'n' Roll Group

A half-decade prior to the Pacific Northwest's great rock 'n' roll eruption of 1959-1960 -- a period that saw a series of teenage groups (including the Fleetwoods, Frantics, Shades, Gallahads, Wailers...

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Barton, Kearney (1931-2012): The Man Who Engineered the Northwest Sound

Seattle's Kearney Barton was the man whose audio engineering work can be credited with forging the powerful aural esthetic that became widely known as the "original Northwest Sound." Numerous musician...

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Belltown Sounds: A Brief History of Music in the Neighborhood

Several of Seattle's distinct neighborhoods are closely associated with their rich musical histories, including the Jackson Street area's early jazz scene, E Madison Street's funky R&B past, and d...

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Berry, Don (1932-2001)

Primarily known for his historical novels of early Oregon country -- Trask, Moontrap, and To Build a Ship -- Don Berry lived and worked from 1974 until his death in 2001 as a writer, painter, musician...

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Birdland: Seattle's Fabled 1950s R&B Hotspot

Seattle's long-time musicians and music fans alike hold fond memories of numerous long-gone 1950s nightclubs and dancehalls. But of all the fabled rooms, there is one that is probably missed more so t...

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Boles, Joe (1904-1962): Seattle's First Hit-Making Sound Engineer

Jay F. "Joe" Boles -- well-known founder of the Seattle Harbor Water Tours -- is far more famous as the proprietor of Seattle's first truly successful recording studio. A one-time hi-fi audiophile who...

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Book Review:
Sonic Boom: The History of Northwest Rock, from "Louie Louie" to "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

By Peter Blecha Backbeat Books, 2009 Paperback, 304 pages Photographs, Record Labels, Posters, News Items, Discography, and index ISBN 978-0-87930-946-6 $19.99 To write a book this good you have to...

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Boreson, Stan (1925-2017)

Musician, recording artist, humorist, and pioneering '50s kiddie-TV show star -- Stan Boreson was Everett's king of Scandinavian humor. He has brought joy to generations in his native Northwest, acros...

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Britten, Patsy (1923-2013)

An overnight star on the Seattle radio airwaves in the 1920s, sweet little Patsy Britten was promoted as a "baby 'blues singer,'" a "baby radio star," "a child wonder," and then the "Sweetheart of KOL...

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Bumbershoot's Formative Years (1971-1979)

"Festival 71" was the first of what would become an annual music and arts festival at Seattle Center that became known as "Bumbershoot" starting in 1973. In this People's History, Seattle historian (a...

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Bunker, Dave (b. 1935) and his Electric "Touch" Guitars

Dave Bunker has been deemed an "extremist in guitar invention" and his radical instrument designs once earned him a spot on a list of the Top Ten Weirdest Guitars ever made. Bunker will likely be reme...

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Cafe Racer: Seattle's Famously Quirky Dive

Easily one of Seattle’s all-time quirkiest and best-loved neighborhood dives, the Café Racer Espresso (5828 Roosevelt Way NE), has since 2005 offered up good coffee, simple food, cheep beer, and fu...

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Cage, John (1912-1992)

Experimental music pioneer John Cage created some of his most astounding work while teaching, composing, and performing at Seattle's Cornish School during the pivotal years 1938 through 1940. At once ...

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Century 21 Exposition (1962): Music at the Fair

Seattle's Century 21 Exposition (Seattle World's Fair) was initially conceived to be the major attraction of the decade -- and with over 10 million tickets sold to both locals and visiting tourists du...

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