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
Wet Weather History
As you may have noticed this week, mid-November can be very wet and windy in Washington, and history bears this out. On November 16, 1875, gale-force winds destroyed buildings and homes throughout the region. Exactly 22 years later, massive flooding in Snohomish County began destroying access to the town of Monte Cristo, putting an end to the community’s mining boom.
Rain isn’t the only thing to worry about this time of year. On November 18, 1946, folks in the Puget Sound region awoke to a heavy snowfall that dumped more than a foot of the white stuff in low-lying areas. Besides making a mess of the region, the snowstorm also vexed more than a few classical music fans. Famed classical pianist Dorothy Eustis had just returned to her native Pacific Northwest for what was to be her only local concert that year. She braved a drive to Lakewood for the performance only to discover that it had been canceled.
And while all of the above events occurred in Western Washington, those of you in Eastern Washington take note. Just two years ago, a massive windstorm struck Spokane on November 17, 2015, creating the largest power outage the region had ever seen.
On November 19, 1856, Nisqually Chief Quiemuth was resting inside the Olympia home of Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens. Tired of war, Quiemuth had peacefully surrendered himself into custody soon after the capture of his half-brother Chief Leschi, and was awaiting transfer to Fort Steilacoom. Shortly before dawn he was shot and stabbed by an unknown assailant, and the murder remains unsolved.
Quiemuth and Leschi had been friendly to American settlement, but like many of their tribespeople, the Nisqually tyees bridled under treaties imposed on them by Governor Stevens. In 1855 a failed attempt to bring Leschi to Olympia was one trigger of a treaty war that would last two years. After Leschi helped organize and lead a daylong assault on the village of Seattle in 1856, he disappeared into the forest and eluded capture for a time, thanks in part to the non-cooperation of settlers who felt he had been falsely accused of unrelated murders.
Once Leschi was captured, Stevens welcomed Quiemuth's surrender, but the chief's murder embarrassed the governor. Leschi too suffered injustice, but for a separate crime. In 1858, Leschi was hanged for the murder of a territorial volunteer. He maintained his innocence to the end, and it took almost a century and a half for the chief to be exonerated.
On November 18, 1906, the Mosquito Fleet steamer SS Dix -- en route from Seattle to Port Blakely -- collided with the steam schooner SS Jeanie two miles north of Alki Point, killing 39 passengers and crew. And on November 16, 1915, a coal mine explosion in Ravensdale killed 31 men.
On November 18, 1969, during the Apollo 12 mission, Chuck Conrad and Alan Bean landed on the moon while Seattle native Dick Gordon orbited in the command module. Gordon, who grew up in Poulsbo and graduated from UW, died last week at the age of 88.