Northwest History

University of Washington Libraries, Seattle Collection

If you walk through Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood with Peter Lape, he can show you the things that used to be.

Standing at the corner of First Avenue and Washington Street on a recent day, he gestured downhill.

"About half a block down is probably where that shoreline was ... when non-Native settlers moved here," Lape said.

RICHLAND, Wash. – Kennewick Man is coming back into the news. A new book includes some of the key findings about the 9,000-year-old skeleton found on the banks of the Columbia River in 1996. And next month, the book’s author and the lead researcher on Kennewick Man plans to share the results of years of study.

Tacoma has been known as the “City of Destiny” for more than 140 years.

And while the city’s slogan is unique because it has lasted for so long (when was the last time you heard Seattle referred to as “Jet City?”), it also comes from a 19 Century “crazy person” who was a relentless promoter of Tacoma.

Read more on I Wonder Why ... ?

King County

Celebrating taxes is a pretty uncommon event, but the King County Council did just that yesterday to mark the 30th anniversary of a property tax and the more than 100,000 acres of public lands it has paid to preserve.

The council also made its praise of the Conservation Futures Tax official with a resolution honoring those who created the program to spend the money.

Brianna / Flickr

The weather for the 4th of July this year is looking pretty good, with scattered clouds in the forecast and highs in the low seventies.  

That’s actually pretty typical, says Carl Carniglia with the national weather service in Seattle.  He looked back at local statistics from the late 1800s to the present and found the historical data contradicts the cliché of rainy weather for Independence day.

wikipedia.org

America's fascination with flying saucers began in Washington state on June 24, 1947. Businessman and pilot Kenneth Arnold was flying his small plane from Chehalis to Yakima when he spotted what appeared to be a formation of nine strange aircraft traveling near Mt. Rainier. Arnold calculated they were flying at supersonic speeds of at least 1,200 miles an hour, something military aircraft of the day were incapable of doing. 

Courtesy of Chinese Expulsion Remembrance Project

Bellingham Mayor Dan Pike has issued a formal apology to the Chinese community for the expulsion of their people,125 years ago.

Pike says the apology is meant to make it clear: authorities now see the racist actions by regional governments and their supporters more than a century ago were wrong.

In 1885 and 1886, thousands of Chinese immigrants were driven out of Puget Sound towns during an economic downturn. Civic leaders and town newspapers argued the new residents were taking jobs away from white people.

The apology and related events this week in Bellingham are part of a year-long Chinese Expulsion Remembrance Project. Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia and Mount Vernon are also taking part. The project also has a Facebook page.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Quick, name the oldest city in the Northwest.

You get a gold star if you answered Astoria, Oregon. It is named for wealthy fur trader John Jacob Astor. The settlement at the mouth of the Columbia River celebrates its bicentennial this year. The official kickoff is this weekend [May 20-22].  KPLU's Tom Banse reports Astoria's founding has left legacies that span the whole Northwest.

Asahel Curtis / U.W. Special Collections

With the start - or rather, resumption of tolling on the 520 bridge a few weeks away, history buffs are recalling the opening of the first Lake Washington Floating Bridge, 71 years ago.

Skeptics predicted it would sink, and that tolling would never pay for the cost of construction. Sound familiar?