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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.

This Week Then


News Then, History Now

Gather and Meet

In an effort to peacefully dispossess Eastern Washington tribes of their land, Washington Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens convened the First Walla Walla Council on May 29, 1855. It didn't work out quite as planned. Stevens's earlier Point Elliott Treaty with Puget Sound tribes proved equally messy, although this did not prevent a re-enactment of its signing, held at Juanita Beach on May 27, 1933.

Welcome and Greet

On May 23, 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt signed in as the inaugural guest at Seattle's Washington Hotel atop Denny Hill, followed by a visit to Fort Lawton. Two days later he briefly visited North Yakima before heading off to Walla Walla, where he spoke at Whitman College.

Watching the Fleet

In 1908 Teddy Roosevelt dispatched the U.S. Navy's Great White Fleet from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, including a tour of Puget Sound. When the ships arrived in Elliott Bay on May 23, 1908, Seattleites beamed with pride upon seeing the USS Nebraska, which had been launched from the Moran Brothers shipyard four years earlier. The Nebraska was the only battleship ever built in Washington state, and its construction was buoyed by $100,000 in community aid.

Early Irrigation

On May 27, 1905, the Burlingame Gardena irrigation ditch was completed in the Walla Walla Valley, bringing much needed water to local farmers to supplement the Old Lowden Ditch, which had been dug 12 years earlier. In the 1830s, Marcus Whitman was the first person to bring irrigation water to the valley, but his efforts died with him in the 1847 attack that became known as the Whitman Massacre.

Crime Investigation

On May 24, 1935, George Weyerhaeuser, the 9-year-old heir to the company that was the world's largest producer of lumber, was kidnapped in Tacoma while on his way home from school. After a $200,000 ransom was paid, the boy was released unharmed and the largest manhunt in the Northwest up to that time began. Arrests were quickly made, but it took more than a year for the FBI to track down the ringleader.

Cities' Celebration

Three of Washington's cities celebrate birthdays this week. In 1890 Davenport and Kent incorporated four days apart, on May 24 and May 28 respectively. And on May 28, 1917, Pomeroy incorporated.

Today in
Washington History

New Articles This Week

Image of the Week

The Central Library of The Seattle Public Library opened 15 years ago this week on May 23, 2004.

Quote of the Week

"Perhaps he does not want to be friends with you until he knows what you are like. With owls, it is never easy-come-easy-go." 
--T. H. White, The Sword in the Stone

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