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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

Achievement Fulfilled

On October 10, 1805, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and their Corps of Discovery became the first American non-Natives to enter the future state of Washington overland. Once here, the explorers pressed westward, following the Snake and Columbia rivers toward the Pacific.

The Crowds Were Thrilled

After coal was discovered in Newcastle in October 1863, the mining town became so successful that even Rutherford B. Hayes dropped by on October 11, 1880, during his tour as the first U.S. president to travel west of the Rockies. Hayes later attended a reception at Squire's Opera House in Seattle.

Blood was Spilled

On October 12, 1881, Ben Payne fatally shot Seattle policeman David Sires -- possibly by accident -- and was later hanged by an angry mob that had just lynched two armed robbers. And 40 years ago this week, on October 14, 1979, King County’s bloodiest jailbreak occurred when a convicted killer led seven inmates on a deadly shootout from the high-security jail on the 10th floor of the King County Courthouse.

Docked in the Bay

On October 14, 1891, the schooner Lizzie Colby landed the first load of Bering Sea cod in Anacortes, ushering in a new industry for the Skagit County city. For more than half a century, sailing schooners based in Seattle, Poulsbo, and Anacortes fished cod in the Bering Sea and Alaskan waters and returned home with their catch.

Yea or Nay

Darrington incorporated as a fourth-class town on October 15, 1945, but this wasn't the first time the small community had made an attempt at self-governance. In 1910, as Snohomish County prepared to ban the sale of alcohol, Darrington's citizens hoped to keep their liquor flowing by becoming a city and voting to keep the town "wet." Instead, they were rebuffed by Prohibitionists, who had more than a little help from local lumber interests.

Blown Away

On October 12, 1962, the Columbus Day Storm wreaked havoc throughout Western Washington. And 15 years ago this week, on October 12, 2004, the Seattle Storm wiped out the competition and became the Women's National Basketball Association champions, an honor the team achieved again in 2010, and for a third time last year.

Today in
Washington History

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Image of the Week

Twenty years ago this week, on October 16, 1999, Seattle's newly restored Union Station reopened as Sound Transit's headquarters

Quote of the Week

"History employs evolution to structure biological events in time."

--Stephen Jay Gould

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