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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

Sailing Around

During the last week of April 1792, British explorer Captain George
and American fur trader Captain Robert Gray met on the
high seas
near Cape Flattery before continuing on with their separate explorations. Vancouver sailed east into the Strait of Juan de Fuca and onward to uncharted waters that he began naming and surveying, while Gray continued south down the coast and explored the mouth of a huge river that he named for his ship.

Gaining Ground

Exactly 40 years after the Louisiana Purchase, a few hundred American settlers in Oregon declared a provisional government on May 2, 1843, although the region was then under joint occupation by both the United States and Great Britain. The latter finally struck its colors in 1846, and two years later Oregon Territory was formally established. In 1853, Washington Territory was formed at the request of settlers north of the Columbia River.

Growing Fast

Seattle doubled in size with the annexation of nearby communities on May 3, 1891. Exactly 16 years later, the city expanded again with the annexation of South Park and Columbia City on May 3, 1907.

Set to Blast

On April 28, 1919, Seattle mayor Ole Hanson received a bomb in the mail, part of a nationwide plot by anarchists to attack politicians and well-known businessmen. Fortunately, it did not explode. The same can't be said for a bomb that fatally injured pioneering Spokane aviator Major
John T. Fancher
on April 29, 1928, when he accidentally set it off following a flight demonstration in Wenatchee. Fancher had been instrumental in bringing the 1927 National Air Derby and Air Races to Felts Field.

Novel Tones

On April 28, 1940, experimental music pioneer John Cage debuted his "prepared piano" at Seattle's Repertory Playhouse. The instrument was augmented with screws, bolts, nuts, and leather strips that dampened the strings and produced a range of new sounds along with standard piano tones. Exactly 28 years later, thousands gathered in Duvall to witness an even stranger piano performance: to hear what one sounded like when dropped from a helicopter.


Communities celebrating birthdays this week include Issaquah, which incorporated (as "Gilman") on April 29, 1892, and Toppenish, which incorporated on April 29, 1907. And on April 30, 1992, Bothell doubled in size when it annexed Canyon Park.

Today in
Washington History

New Essays This Week

Image of the Week

Bellingham's Mt. Baker Theatre opened 90 years ago this week on April 29, 1927.

Quote of the Week

It has been said that, at its best, preservation engages the past in a conversation with the present over a mutual concern for the future.

--William Murtagh

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