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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

Goods to Be Sold

On December 15, 1868, 24-year-old Chun Ching Hock -- believed to be Seattle's first Chinese immigrant -- opened the Wa Chong Company, a general-merchandise store at the foot of Mill Street (now Yesler Way). Chun moved back to China in 1900 but remained an owner of the Wa Chong Company, which later moved to 719 S King Street -- now home to the Wing Luke Museum -- in the Chinatown-International District.

Windy and Cold

On December 17, 1871, record snow blanketed much of the Puget Sound region, and it was so cold that the Snohomish River froze. On December 17, 1990, a windstorm tore through Puget Sound and cost Washington State Ferries more than $3 million in damage. The Hanukkah Eve Wind Storm ravaged Western Washington beginning on December 14, 2006. And nine years ago this week, two weeks of awful winter weather battered the state beginning on December 17, 2008.

Into the Fold

On December 19, 1898, the Skagit County towns of Sedro and Woolley merged after almost a decade of rivalry. Sedro began as a coal town and incorporated in 1891, just about the time that railroad developer Phillip A. Woolley platted his own namesake company town right next door. Even after the merger, some residents sought to maintain each community's individual identity.

Out for a Row

On December 15, 1899, students at the University of Washington accepted an offer from developer and rowing aficionado E. F. Blaine to help establish a rowing club on campus. In 1923, a UW crew won the national rowing championship -- the school's first national title in any sport -- in a shell designed by George Pocock, who went on to design shells for the 1936 crew from UW that won Olympic gold and many other American Olympic champions.

Shoot a Free Throw

On December 20, 1966, the NBA awarded Seattle a franchise for a new basketball team. Team owners chose to name the team after the supersonic
-- a fast and high-flying jet plane of the future that was then under development at Boeing. But whereas the SST never left the runway, the Sonics (as they were generally called) took off and soared to great heights before leaving town in 2008.

Me Gotta Go

Fifty years ago this week, on December 22, 1967, "Rockin' Robin" Roberts died in an automobile accident in San Mateo, California. Seven years earlier, Roberts helped transform an obscure rhythm & blues song -- Richard Berry's "Louie Louie" -- into a garage-rock hit with his band, the Wailers.

Today in
Washington History

New Essays This Week

Image of the Week

Fifty years ago this week, the ferry Elwha was launched on December 16, 1967.

Quote of the Week

Do you know the difference between education and experience? Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't.

--Pete Seeger

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