"Remembering the past gives power to the present." - Faye Myenne Ng
I have a strong passion for the history of Seattle. I love reading books, hearing stories and looking at pictures that tell about an earlier time and a different way of life. I especially love seeing how homes have changed and neighborhoods have formed. What a remarkable transformation our city has been through! I often wonder if the people who grew up in Seattle during the late 1800's or early 1900's could even remotely fathom how their city would change over the next century. I think it is extremely important to know and honor our past. Our city has made some great improvements, some unfortunate choices and survived its share of turbulent times. Overall, we are a pretty progressive community.
On this page:
Seattle Timeline ("Seattle Through the Years")
Seattle Historical Links
||Grading West 57th Street in Ballard; circa 1890
A building boom started in Ballard after it was incorporated in 1890. Building streets was a real challenge. Loggers cut the trees, and teams of horses and mules dragged the stumps out of the ground. In a few cases, routes were laid out around stumps that couldn't be pulled. The streets then had to be cleared of debris, plowed, harrowed, and graded. Crews laid down wooden planks on some streets to make it easier to travel in mud.
||Ballard Avenue looking SE; 190_
In 1887, the town of Ballard was founded across Salmon Bay from Seattle. Many of its earlier residents were Scandinavian fishermen and their families. After the 1889 fire destroyed Seattle's business district, including Yesler's Mill, the lumber industry moved to Ballard. By 1904, the town had 10,000 residents. Most of the men either fished or worked at the lumber and shingle mills.
Children in a swimming class at Green Lake; 1934
For many years, Seattle residents have gone swimming in Green Lake. An annual water festival opened in 1931, and the city's first annual high school swim meet was held there two years later. By 1934, the Seattle Post Intelligencer was sponsoring regular swimming classes. Many of Seattle's swimming champions of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s got their start in Green Lake.
||Green Lake Electric Railway tracks along Green Lake; 189_
Beginning in 1888, electric streetcar lines were being built in many parts of Seattle. The Green Lake Electric Railway was begun in 1889 to serve the area north of Fremont. The tracks followed an old logging railway route and ran along the eastern shore of Green Lake, ending at about North 70th Street.
||Ice Skaters on Green Lake; 1906
Green Lake freezes rarely, but its shallow depth and still waters mean that it can freeze quite fast. Skaters flocked to the lake whenever it froze. In order to ensure safety, the Seattle Parks Department decreed that the ice had to be six inches thick before skating would be allowed. This only occurs during the coldest winters.
This photo shows skaters on Green Lake during the early years of the 20th century. It was probably taken in 1906, when park records indicate cold temperatures and an active "skater patrol."
||Student paper drive; 1945
Recycling is a relatively new word, but it's not a new idea. For years, people have bundled up newspapers to sell them back to pulp and paper mills. In many communities, this was an easy way for households and groups to raise money. During World War II, many of Seattle's school children collected newspapers as part of the war effort.
This photo, taken in March 1945, shows a group of Seattle school children piling newspaper into a trailer during a paper drive.
||Campers in Woodland Park; 1918-1920
As cars got less expensive and people had more free time, many people started to take car camping vacations. They camped in farmyards, by the roadside, or in city parks. Cities and towns soon started building organized campgrounds. In 1920, Seattle's park department opened an "Automobile Tourist Camp" in the northern part of Woodland Park, overlooking Green Lake.
This photo shows people camping at Woodland Park sometime between 1918 and 1920. Their tent is set up and ready, and their meal is cooking on the fire.
||Hillside house fallen off foundations in the Central District; 1953
Late one August afternoon in 1953, a wood frame house in Seattle's Central District on 24th Avenue slid off its foundation into the alley below. The unoccupied dwelling fell into the alley when its supporting posts gave way, and the crash was heard for several blocks. Neighbors crawled inside to rescue the owner's frightened dog.
||Seattle family outside wood frame house; circa 189_
In the 1890s, at least part of what is now Seattle's Central District was still rural. This photo from that time period shows a family outside their wood frame home at 193 20th Avenue in Seattle. This would place the house somewhere near what is now the intersection of 20th Avenue and Spruce Street.
||Towle-Wilcox house in the Central District; 1891
Arlen H. Towle and Frank N. Wilcox were architects and partners in business. In 1890-1891, they built a house at the southwest corner of 22nd Avenue South and Yesler Way, in what is now the Central District.
This photo shows the Towle-Wilcox house with its fancy shinglework, ornamental woodwork, and turreted towers. This type of architecture, called the Queen Anne style, was very popular in the 1890s.
||Measuring hems in sewing class at Ravenna School; 1943
Seattle schools taught classes in home economics, also called domestic science, starting as early as 1904. Most girls took these classes and learned to cook, sew and run a household
||Greenwood street scene; 1932
In the 1930s, Seattle's northern city limits were at 85th Street, in the Greenwood neighborhood. People could take the streetcar to Greenwood and catch the interurban railway north to Everett and other outlying towns.
This photo shows what the Greenwood business district looked like around 1932.
||Victory garden in Wallingford; 1944
Although backyard vegetable gardens have been popular for years, they were especially common during World War II. All over the United States, people turned unused yard space and vacant lots into Victory Gardens to raise fresh produce.
This August 1944 photo shows people working in a Victory Garden in the 2300 block of Corliss Avenue, in Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood. The Victory Gardens provided a place for neighbors to get together and raise their own food.
||Latona School; 1914
In 1891, a new Latona School building was built in Wallingford. This was the same year that the neighborhood became part of the city of Seattle. The wood-frame school had four large classrooms and four teachers, each paid $900.00 for the year. A new, larger school was built next door in 1906, and the older building was torn down.
||Lake Union was once primarily an industrial lake ringed by lumber mills, shipyards, tar and asphalt companies, and a gas works. For many years, the gas works supplied natural gas, made from coal, to Seattle's homes and businesses. The gasworks were shut down in 1956. In the late 1970s, the grounds were transformed into Gas Works Park
||Grocery wagons on Marion Street; 1905
Before the opening of Seattle's Pike Place Market in 1907, farmers sold their fruit and vegetables to the customer through brokers or other middlemen. Much of this wholesale produce trade took place in the so-called Commission District, in the area of Railroad and Western Avenues and Columbia and Marion Streets.
In this photo, taken around 1905, grocery wagons fill Marion Street in Seattle's Commission District. Western Avenue crosses in the center, near the utility pole. Railroad cars on Railroad Avenue block the view of the West Seattle Ferry dock.
||High Point housing project in West Seattle; 1942
When the United States entered World War II in December 1941, workers were already pouring into Seattle to work at Boeing and other war industry plants. The Seattle Housing Authority rushed to complete High Point in West Seattle to house some of the war workers. Some 650 carpenters and other laborers built 700 homes, mainly duplexes. The homes, most of which housed two families, are spread across the hillside overlooking Elliott Bay.
||Pioneer group at Alki Monument; 1905
On November 18, 1905, the surviving members of the Denny Party gathered at their old landing place on Alki Beach to dedicate a monument to the founding of Seattle. According to the inscription, the monument was erected by the Washington University State Historical Society and presented by Leonora Denny.
This photo shows the remaining pioneers standing by the monument. The bearded man standing closest to the monument has been identified as Carson Boren.
||Young women in war workers class; 1943
During World War II, many women were trained to fill the jobs left by men serving in the military. Women did auto repair, aircraft assembly and other jobs once considered men's work. This photo, taken in West Seattle in February 1943, shows young women studying a car engine. The auto mechanics class may have been photographed at West Seattle High School.
||Crowds and canoes at the waterfront in Leschi Park; 1911
Leschi Park, on the shore of Lake Washington, was a popular place for Seattle's city-dwellers to go for recreation. Many people caught a cable car at Pioneer Square and rode to the park along Yesler Way.
In this photo, taken at Leschi Park around 1911, some people sit or stroll. Others relax in their rented canoes. The men and women may seem formally dressed by late 20th century standards, but this would have been typical clothing for a summer outing in 1911.
||Miners and supplies outside Cooper & Levy; 1897
After news of Klondike gold reached Seattle in July 1897, many of Seattle's stores joined the excitement and became gold rush outfitters. Cooper & Levy, just south of Pioneer Square, provided gold-seekers with crates and sacks of flour, bacon, dried fruit, condensed milk, tea, soap, matches, and many other items needed for life in the north. This 1897 photo shows a group of gold seekers outside Seattle's Cooper & Levy grocery store on First Avenue South.
||Mt Rainier from Seattle; 1900
In 1900, Anders Wilse stood on top of Denny Hill to take this photo of downtown Seattle, Beacon Hill, and Mount Rainier. At that time, much of Beacon Hill was still wooded. Mount Rainier seems to float in the distance. The Pioneer Square area is in the lower right of the photograph.
||City Light power plant on Lake Union; circa 1926
Seattle City Light built a coal-burning steam plant in 1906 to generate electricity for the growing city. With its large windows and smokestacks, this distinctive building on Lake Union is still a landmark. The power plant operated until 1984. It is now the home of a research company which has preserved the building's earlier character.
||Interior of home on Lake Washington; 1897-1900
Judge Thomas Burke and his wife Caroline had a large home on Seattle's Boyleston Avenue on Capitol Hill. They built a summer home, which they named Illahee, on the western shore of Lake Washington. This photo, taken by Anders Wilse between 1897 and 1900, shows the living room at Illahee. The Burkes have followed one of the fashions of the times and decorated the room with bentwood furniture and Native American basketry. The floors are covered with polar bear skins.
||Looking up the Counterbalance Queen Anne Avenue; circa 1900
Cable cars were well suited to Seattle's steep hills. The North Seattle Cable Railway Company began construction on the Queen Anne cable car line in 1890. On Queen Anne Avenue, the car was linked by cable to a 16-ton counterbalance weight. As the weight slid down the hill in its underground tunnel, it pulled the cable car up. When the cable car came down the hill, it pulled the weight back up to the top. This photo, taken around 1900, shows two cable cars on Queen Anne Avenue, in the area some people still call "The Counterbalance." The huge weight is underground and cannot be seen in the photo. The counterbalance system stayed in operation until 1940.
||George A Conn family in front of William D. Wood's residence on Greenlake; circa 1897
William D. Woods' home where Greenlake Post Office now stands. George A Conn was the principal of the Latona School. The log cabin, which is barely visable behind the main house (in front) was the first building built at Greenlake.
||Woodland Park lodge and grounds; pre 1900
Woodland Park prior to its acquisition by the City of Seattle from its owner, Guy Phinney in 1900. The Lodge (or gatehouse) Hotel in right background. At the left entrance of Woodland Park is where Guy Phinney passed away.
||This picture shows the south slope of Queen Anne looking southeast; 1894
||Dike across East Green Lake Bay; 1913
A portion of east Green Lake was drained and filled-in as part of a land reclamation project.
||Chopping wood at Green Lake; 1897
||Electric streetcar of the Seattle Consolidated Street Railway Company; 1894
||Green Lake and Greenlake neighborhood looking west, 1906
Greenlake Public School at the far left. Woodland Park in the left background.
||Capitol Hill residential street. East side of 16th Ave E, north of Roy Street. 1906
||Aftermath of the Great Seattle Fire of June 6, 1889 showing the waterfront and 1st Avenue.
||Northeast shore of Greenlake, 1896
Picture shows station house of the Green Lake Electric Railway Company and water tower of a sawmill built by A.L. Parker. The original Green Lake School (which was only two rooms) is on the hill.
||Looking up Yesler Way from Post St, 1889
Photos courtesy of MOHAI
Reprinted from The Seattle Times
Nov. 13: Settlers, led by Arthur Denny, arrive at Alki Point.
Nov. 28: Charles Terry opens area's first store.
March 31: David "Doc" Maynard arrives. He is credited with naming Seattle after his friend Chief Sealth, leader of the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes.
April 3: Denny party moves across Elliott Bay.
Dec. 22: King County incorporated.
March 26: Henry Yesler opens his sawmill, the first on the Puget Sound.
May 23: Maynard files plats with streets based on compass points, not parallel to the shoreline as Denny and Carson Boren had done. This results in a permanent mismatch at Yesler Way, where two halves of town meet.
Jan. 22: Point Elliott Treaty, which cedes much of the Native American land in Western Washington to the U.S. government, is signed.
Jan. 26: The Battle of Seattle is fought. Seattle residents fire muskets at attacking Indians, upset over attempts to relocate them. The sloop Decatur fires its cannon, routing the Indians.
Feb. 18: Chief Leschi of the Nisquallies is hanged after being found guilty of leading an ambush in which two federal volunteers were killed in 1855.
Military Road from Fort Vancouver to Seattle is completed, the first road connecting Seattle to other Western Washington cities.
Nov. 4: Washington Territorial University - later the University of Washington - is established in downtown Seattle.
Dec. 10: The Gazette, Seattle's first newspaper, is published. It evolves into the Post-Intelligencer.
May 16: The Mercer girls arrive in Seattle. Asa Shinn Mercer, the UW's first teacher, traveled to New England to find wives for the men of Washington. He had intended to bring back hundreds of women but returned with far fewer.
June 7: Chief Sealth dies.
Seattle Public Library opens.
Dec. 2: Seattle incorporates.
Seattle's population is 1,107.
July 11: Henry Atkins is elected Seattle's first mayor.
March 25: The coal route from Seattle to Newcastle is completed, the first railroad in Western Washington.
Oct. 24: Seattle's first brick building erected.
July 14: Northern Pacific chooses Tacoma over Seattle as terminus of transcontinental railroad.
March 3: Steamship service to San Francisco begins.
First UW grad, Clara McCarty
The first UW graduate is Clara McCarty.
Aug. 7: Seattle YMCA founded.
Seattle Malting and Brewing, later Rainier Brewery, is established.
Aug. 2: Mother Joseph opens Providence Hospital, the first in Seattle, at Fifth Avenue and Madison Street.
Nov. 24: Squire's Opera House on First Avenue South between Main and Washington streets is the city's first theater.
Seattle's population is 3,533.
December: The first trans-Pacific steamship departs from Seattle, the first step in the city's ambition to become the gateway to the Pacific Rim.
Sept. 23: The first horse-powered streetcar line is established.
Feb. 6: Mob forces 350 Chinese to the docks for "deportation.'' Soldiers and sheriff's deputies intervene and five men are wounded.
Dec. 24: The City of Seattle is the first regularly scheduled ferry on Puget Sound.
The Bon Marché opens.
March 31: The first electric-trolley line begins.
June 6: The Great Seattle Fire leaves more than 25 blocks of downtown Seattle in smoldering ruins. But there were no confirmed deaths.
Sept. 21: Business and political leaders form the Washington National Building, Loan and Investment Association to help rebuild the city. It is the precursor to Washington Mutual.
George Bartell's first drug store.
Seattle's population is 42,837.
The Frederick & Nelson store opens. It becomes the city's premier department store for 101 years, until closing in 1992.
George Bartell buys his first drugstore.
Jan. 7: The first transcontinental train arrives in Seattle.
Sept. 4: First classes begin at the present site of the UW.
Aug. 10: Col. Alden Blethen buys The Seattle Daily Times.
July 17: The steamship Portland docks in Seattle loaded with gold, igniting the Klondike Gold Rush. Business generated by supplying prospectors brings great gains in wealth and population to the city.
Oct. 21: Seattle College opens, predecessor to Seattle University.
Dec. 28: City buys Guy Phinney's Woodland Park estate and its menagerie (now the zoo).
Seattle's population is 80,671.
Feb. 9: Fort Lawton is established on Magnolia Bluff.
Wallin & Nordstrom shoe store.
Opening of Wallin & Nordstrom shoe store, the forerunner of the retail giant Nordstrom.
Sept. 25: Interurban rail service begins.
Dec. 29: The Seattle Symphony performs for the first time.
Feb. 11: William Pigott incorporates Seattle Car Manufacturing, which in 1972 becomes PACCAR, now one of the world's largest manufacturers of custom-made heavy-duty trucks.
The King Street Station opens to serve the Great Northern and Northern Pacific railroads.
Children's Hospital opens.
John McLean builds world's first gasoline service station at Holgate Street and Western Avenue.
Ballard, West Seattle, Columbia City and Rainier Beach annexed.
Aug. 17: Pike Place Market opens.
Aug. 28: James Casey, 19, and Claude Ryan start American Messenger, which becomes United Parcel Service.
June 1: The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition opens on the site now occupied by the UW.
Seattle's population is 237,194.
Laurelhurst and Georgetown annexed.
Nov. 8: Washington state grants women the right to vote. In 1854, a proposal by Arthur Denny to enfranchise women had failed by one vote in the territorial legislature. Seattle women won the right to vote in 1883, but that was ruled unconstitutional by the Territorial Court in 1887.
Feb. 7, Mayor Hiram Gill is recalled. Gill sought to preside over a city tolerant of gambling and prostitution.
Sept. 5: Port of Seattle established.
May 20: Union Station opens to serve the Union Pacific railroad.
July 17: A confrontation between sailors and an Industrial Workers of the World speaker during Seattle's Potlatch Days festival leads to two days of rioting and fistfights. No deaths are reported, but injuries and property damages are extensive.
First automobile ferry, the Leschi, crosses Lake Washington.
Dec. 27: The Leschi, the first automobile ferry, makes its first trip across Lake Washington.
The Cornish School, specializing in the arts, is founded.
July 4: Smith Tower opens.
June 1: Longshoremen strike in major ports along the West Coast, including Seattle. The strike is marred by violence and property destruction and is not settled until October.
March 26: The Seattle Metropolitans hockey team wins the Stanley Cup.
May 8: Lake Washington Ship Canal, including the Hiram Chittenden Locks, is completed, connecting Shilshole Bay, Lake Union and Lake Washington.
May 9: Boeing Airplane established.
A flu epidemic kills 1,600 in Seattle.
Eddie Bauer goes into business.
Feb. 6: First general strike in the nation's history begins in Seattle when 60,000 workers stay home. The strike ends Feb. 11.
Seattle's population is 315,312.
May: The nation's first sanitary landfill is established on Queen Anne Hill.
Dec. 27: The Hearst company takes over the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Dec. 6: The Olympic Hotel opens.
Don Ibsen, a senior at Roosevelt High School, screws a pair of tennis shoes onto a cedar board and becomes one of the co-inventors of water-skiing.
Fisher's Blend Station corporation is formed, and KOMO-AM radio station goes on the air.
May 9: Bertha Landes is elected mayor, first woman mayor in any major U.S. city.
Jan. 28: Boeing secures the Chicago-San Francisco air-mail contract and forms United Air Lines.
Thomas Edison flips a switch in West Orange, N.J., and turns on Seattle's new electric street-lighting system.
Burton and Florence Bean James start the Seattle Repertory Playhouse.
July 26: Boeing Field opens.
Dec. 30: The Interurban to Tacoma ends service.
Seattle's population is 365,583.
Dec. 10: The Denny Regrade is completed. Begun in 1898, this was a massive project to level Denny Hill and surrounding area, one of several similar works around the city.
Feb. 27: The Aurora Bridge is dedicated, the first major highway bridge built in Seattle.
June 23: Seattle Art Museum opens in Volunteer Park.
The Washington Park Arboretum is established.
May 9: A West Coast waterfront strike, in which several people are killed, begins. It lasts until July 31. The International Longshoreman's Association wins recognition in Seattle.
Aug. 19: Newsroom members of the American Newspaper Guild strike the Post-Intelligencer.
July 29: Ivar Haglund opens a fish-and-chips stand at Pier 54. This expands into Ivar's Acres of Clams and an empire of seafood eateries.
Lloyd and Mary Anderson form a buying co-op in Seattle so members can find obscure climbing equipment. This becomes REI (Recreational Equipment Incorporated).
Dec. 2: Yesler Terrace becomes the first racially integrated public housing in United States.
Seattle's population is 368,302.
June 5: The Lake Washington Floating Bridge opens, connecting Seattle with Mercer Island and the Eastside.
Japanese Americans ordered out of Seattle.
April 21: Japanese Americans are ordered to evacuate Seattle. More than 12,000 U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry from King County were held in inland "relocation centers" during World War II.
Aug. 14: African-American soldiers riot at Fort Lawton and lynch an Italian prisoner of war. Twenty-three men are convicted and 13 acquitted in the riot, attributed to racial tension based on unfair treatment of black soldiers.
Dec. 22: Group Health Cooperative formed.
Dorothy Stimson Bullitt buys KEVR-FM, the first piece of the KING broadcasting empire.
1949 7.1-magnitude earthquake hits Seattle.
Jan. 22: UW fires three professors for suspected Communist ties after an investigation by a committee formed by the Legislature in 1947 and chaired by Rep. Albert Canwell, a freshman Republican from Spokane.
April 13: A 7.1-magnitude earthquake kills seven in Seattle. The quake only lasted 20 seconds, but repairs went on for years.
July 9: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport opens.
Seattle's population is 467,591.
April 21: Northgate Mall opens, one of the earliest suburban shopping malls in the United States.
August: First Seafair celebration held.
June 1: Responding to public pressure for accountability, the state takes over ferry operations from Black Ball.
1953 Alaskan Way Viaduct completed.
Voters agree to annexations that extend Seattle to North 145th Street.
April 4: Alaskan Way Viaduct completed.
July 16: The Newspaper Guild strikes The Seattle Times, shutting down the paper for 94 days.
Jan. 28: Dick's Drive-In opens in Wallingford.
July 15: A Boeing 707, the first successful passenger jet, takes its first flight.
Sept. 9: Metro established. Restricted to sewers and water cleanup at first, Metro is expanded to include mass transit in 1972. In 1992, Metro merges with King County.
Seattle's population is 557,087.
Huskies win Rose Bowl.
Dr. Belding Scribner teams up with fellow UW researchers Dr. Albert Babb and technician Wayne Quinton to perfect the kidney-dialysis process.
Jan. 1: The UW football team wins its first Rose Bowl.
Bill Kirschner (later to form K2 on Vashon Island) invents the fiberglass snow ski.
March 17: Wing Luke is elected to City Council, the first Chinese American elected to a major public office in the United States.
April 21: The World's Fair opens, leaving as part of its legacy the Space Needle, Monorail and many of Seattle Center's buildings.
Oct. 12, 1962: A Columbus Day windstorm, the most savage in West Coast history, damages 53,000 homes. Seven people are killed in Washington., 35 in Oregon.
Aug. 28: The Evergreen Point Floating Bridge opens.
April 29: An earthquake, which registered between 6.5 and 7 on the Richter scale, kills eight people from either falling debris or heart attacks.
Dec. 31: Boeing is awarded the contract to build the super-sonic transport, the SST.
Jan. 31: Interstate 5 is completed from Tacoma to Everett.
Oct. 13: Seattle's new professional basketball team, the Supersonics, plays its first game.
Feb. 13: Voters approve $40 million of "Forward Thrust" bonds to build the Kingdome, the Aquarium, youth centers and highways. But voters reject a $385 million mass-transit proposal.
Jan. 26: Edwin Pratt, 38, one of Seattle's most respected black leaders, is fatally shot at his Richmond Highlands home. The case has not been solved.
Feb. 9: The Boeing 747 takes its first test flight.
March 28: The 50-story Seafirst Building is completed. It is the first Seattle building taller than Smith Tower.
April 11: Seattle's new professional baseball team, the Pilots, begins its first and only season at Sick's Stadium. The team moves to Milwaukee the next year.
Oct. 8: Police Chief Frank Ramon resigns amid a gambling and corruption scandal.
Seattle's population is 530,831.
Feb. 17: Protesters pelt the Federal Courthouse with paint and rocks after the "Chicago Seven" are cited for contempt of court in their trial stemming from demonstrations at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. The accused leaders of the protest, dubbed the "Seattle Seven," are indicted for conspiracy, but the case ends in a mistrial.
March 7: Medic One begins. The mobile paramedic units pioneer on-site cardiac care.
March 8: About 100 Indian activists attempt to occupy the abandoned Fort Lawton. They "claimed" Fort Lawton under a provision in an 1865 treaty promising reversion of surplus military lands to the original owners. As a result of the protests, the Daybreak Star Center is formed in what becomes Discovery Park.
May 5: More than 3,000 anti-war protesters block southbound Interstate 5 traffic before exiting at Roanoke.
May Pioneer Square designated city's first historic district.
Dec. 3: Congress kills the SST project, and the "Boeing Bust" reaches its peak. Boeing employment in the area drops below 38,000 from 95,000 in 1968.
April: Starbucks opens its first cafe.
July 27: A grand jury issues 28 indictments in a police bribery scandal. Eventually, there were 54 indictments but only two convictions.
Sept. 3: The Labor Day weekend is kicked off with Festival '71, which becomes known as Bumbershoot, the annual music-and-arts festival at Seattle Center.
Nov. 2: Voters save Pike Place Market, thwarting an eight-year effort to replace it with offices, hotels and parking garages.
Nov. 24: A man, known only by the pseudonym Dan or D.B. Cooper, hijacks a Northwest Airlines flight from Portland to Seattle. After collecting a $200,000 ransom and four parachutes in Seattle, he orders the pilots to fly to Mexico. As the plane flies over Southwest Washington, he jumps out. About $5,800 of the money is found years later, but neither Cooper nor the rest of the money has been found.
Oct. 11: Chicano activists occupy the Beacon Hill School, which becomes the site of El Centro de la Raza, a clearinghouse of services for the local Hispanic community.
April 4: Micro-Soft (the hyphen was removed in 1976), the software giant, is founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen. In 1978, it moves from Albuquerque to Bellevue, bringing jobs and wealth to the Seattle area.
July 1975: The Seattle Opera stages Richard Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen" for the first time. March 27: The Kingdome opens. On Sept. 12, Seattle's new professional football team, the Seahawks, plays its first regular-season game.
March 31: Seattle Weekly begins publication.
April 6: Seattle's new professional baseball team, the Mariners, plays its first game.
May 20: Seattle Aquarium opens.
June 11: Freighter Chavez hits the West Seattle Bridge and puts the span out of commission for seven years.
Sept. 29: Seattle becomes the first big city in the United States to implement a busing program without being required to do so by the courts.
Sonics win NBA Championship.
June 1: The Supersonics win the NBA championship.
Seattle's population is 493,846.
Aug. 11: The first pint of Redhook Ale is sold in Seattle, kicking off the microbrew craze.
Feb. 18: Three Hong Kong immigrants enter the Wah Mee Club, a gambling parlor in Seattle's Chinatown International District, and kill 13 people, the worst mass murder in state history. The three men were convicted of murder.
May 23, 1983: Joint Operating Agreement begins between the Post-Intelligencer and The Times. Under the agreement brokered through the Justice Department, The Times manages printing, advertising, circulation and most other commercial operations for both papers, while the news operations of the two papers remain editorially independent. It is amended in 1999 to allow The Times to publish a morning edition.
Sept. 15: The first Costco discount warehouse opens on Fourth Avenue South.
March 2: The 76-story Columbia Center (Bank of America Tower) is completed. It becomes the city's tallest building. The towering structure is the pride of developer Martin Selig, who is credited with remaking Seattle's skyline.
April 8: The Metro bus tunnel is completed under downtown Seattle.
June 23: Washington State Trade and Convention Center completed.
Jan. 24: Serial killer Ted Bundy executed in Florida. Before his death, the Tacoma-raised killer confesses to 20 murders committed between 1973 and 1978, 11 of them in Washington.
Seattle's population is 516,259.
July 20: Seattle hosts the Goodwill Games, an alternative to the Summer Olympics, which media mogul Ted Turner thought had fallen hostage to politics.
Nov. 25: The Interstate 90 floating bridge sinks in a storm.
Dec. 5: Seattle Art Museum moves to a new building downtown. The Volunteer Park building becomes the Seattle Asian Art Museum.
Jan. 20: Six people die, 750,000 homes and businesses lose power and 167 homes are destroyed in the Puget Sound's Inaugural Day storm.
Sept. 28: The U.S. Navy leaves Sand Point, a naval air station since 1920. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gets 100 acres for its Western headquarters, and the remaining 156 acres become Magnuson Park.
Jan. 5: Four Seattle firefighters die in the Pang warehouse fire. Martin Pang, son of the owners, eventually pleads guilty to manslaughter and is sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Nov. 5: Sound Transit is approved by voters. The agency begins the planning and operation of commuter rail trains and express bus service. A light-rail line from SeaTac to the University District also is planned.
June 17: Voters approve funding for the Seahawks' new stadium.
Sept. 12: Benaroya Hall opens.
Nov. 27: A Metro bus plunges 50 feet off the Aurora Bridge when passenger Silas Cool fatally shoots Metro driver Mark McLaughlin and then fatally shoots himself. One other passenger is killed and 33 are injured.
Nov. 28: Popular Seattle schools Superintendent John Stanford dies from complications of leukemia.
July 15: Safeco Field, new home of the Mariners, opens. King County voters had rejected a stadium-funding proposal in 1995, but when the Mariners threatened to relocate, Gov. Gary Locke called a special session of the state Legislature, which approved money for construction.
WTO riots in downtown Seattle.
Nov. 29-Dec. 3: The World Trade Organization meeting deteriorates into rioting, police confrontations, the closing of downtown and a curfew. Nearly 600 people are arrested, but most of the charges are eventually dropped.
Seattle's population is 563,374.
Jan. 31: Alaska Flight 261 crashes into the Pacific Ocean, killing 88, many from Seattle.
June 23: Experience Music Project, Paul Allen's homage to rock 'n' roll music, opens.
March 26: The Kingdome is imploded to make way for the new football stadium.
Nov. 19: The Newspaper Guild strikes at The Times and Post-Intelligencer. Each paper publishes during the strike, which ends after 37 days at the P-I and 49 days at The Times.
Feb. 27: Mardi Gras celebrations in Pioneer Square deteriorate into rioting. One person is killed.
Feb. 28: A magnitude-6.8 earthquake rattles the Puget Sound area, causing more than $1 billion in damage.
Sept. 4: Boeing moves its corporate headquarters to Chicago.
The Great Fire - On June 6, 1889, at 2:45 p.m., a man named John E. Back inadvertently started a fire in the basement of a downtown building at the SW corner of Madison Street and Front Street (later renamed 1st Avenue). By prompting new development and construction, this fire, remembered as the Great Fire, ironically transformed Seattle from a town to a city.
The fire started in Clairmont and Company cabinet shop, located in the basement of the wooden Pontius building at 922 Front Street at the southwest corner of its intersection with Madison Street. Five men were working in the cabinet shop. Glue was heating over a gasoline fire as part of their usual production. Sometime after 2:15, the glue boiled over, caught fire, and spread to the floors, which were covered by wood chips and turpentine. Mr. Back tried to put the fire out with water, but that only served to thin the turpentine and spread the fire further.
By the following morning, the fire had burned down 25 square city blocks of wooden buildings and about 10 brick buildings, including practically the entire business district, all but four of the city's wharves, and its railroad terminals. Somehow no one died, but it was reported that a million rats were consumed in the flames. Thousands of people were displaced, and 5,000 men lost their jobs.
The city didn't take much time to mourn. Instead Seattle banded together, and at 11 am on June 7, 600 businessmen met to discuss how to cope with the current situation and plan for the future. To combat looting, two hundred special deputies were sworn in and the town placed under martial law for two weeks. A relief committee was formed to handle the charitable donations that were being sent from all over the country. Tacoma, no longer a rival, but an ally in the time of need, raised $20,000 and sent up a relief committee to help. The armory was converted to a dining hall, so the displaced citizens would have a place to eat. Supplies from San Francisco (much of which had been ordered before the fire) arrived by June 18. Relief bureaus were able to close as quickly as June 20, as tent-restaurants had been set up quickly, and were able to meet people's needs. Within a month of the fire over 100 businesses were operating out of tents.
Instead of relocating, most businesses decided to rebuild where they had been, and rebuilding began almost immediately. Wooden buildings were banned in the burned out district, to be replaced by brick. At the same time, streets were raised up to 22 feet in places, helping to level the hilly city. Within a year, 465 buildings had been built, most of the reconstruction was complete and the businesses had reopened.
The fire also led to a handful of other changes for the city. At the time of the fire, the city had an all-volunteer fire department, many of which quit after the fire, citing the harassment they had faced while trying to fight the fire. This personnel crisis led to the creation of a professional fire department by October 1889. The city also took control of the water supply, increasing the size of the pipes, eliminating the wooden pipes, and added more hydrants. The fire, which could have spelled the end of the city, instead became just a brief setback, and led to many significant improvements. [Reprinted, in part, from: HistoryLink.org]
Woodland Park - Woodland Park owes its character to the visions of an eccentric Englishman named Guy Phinney. Phinney built and operated the first sawmill on Lake Washington, and it netted him a fortune. With his newly acquired money and his old dreams of the English aristocracy, he invested $40,000 in wilderness land just southwest of Green Lake and began creating a country estate in the grand old style.
Phinney installed a private trolley car along Fremont Avenue, and constructed an impressive stone entrance at N. 50th Street, a bandstand, a formal rose garden, a small zoo, and elaborate pathways. These paths wound down through the woods to the shores of Green Lake. Further inspired by the beauties of the lake, he built a bathing beach, boathouse, picnic grounds and two ball fields.
With all this, Phinney's estate was ideal for a city park. The city bought it in 1900 for $100,000 in spite of vigorous protests that it was "too far out of town!" Three years later the famed Olmsted Brothers drafted plans to expand it into a full-fledged zoological garden.
In 1930 however, City Engineer W.B. Barkuff announced plans to bisect Woodland Park with a six-lane highway (Aurora Avenue). This plan enraged City Councilman George Hill, who already had taken Barkuff's predecessor on a tour through Europe "to cure him of the habit of putting roads through parks." But not even a public vote against Aurora Avenue was able to defeat it. In 1932 construction crews cut a deep, wide channel through Woodland Park, using the excavated earth to fill in the southernmost portion of Green Lake. The park has been bisected ever since, its eastern and western portions thinly connected by a concrete overpass. [Reprinted from: Enjoying Seattle's Parks by Brandt Morgan]
Seattle Historical Links:
Seattle City Archives
(research historic City files, maps, and photographs)
(preserving Seattle's architectural past)
(online encyclopedia of Seattle, King County and Washington State history)
(Seattle's Museum of History & Industry)
Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society
(preserving our Northwest nautical heritage)
Seattle Times history project
("150 Years: Seattle By and By")
UW Digital Historical Collection
(a source for history of the University and the Pacific NW)
King County Snapshots
King County Snapshots presents King County, Washington, through 12,000 historical images carefully chosen from 12 organizations' collections. These cataloged 19th and 20th century images portray people, places, and events in the county's urban, suburban, and rural communities.