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Topic: Calamities

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Carlton Complex Fire

The 2014 Carlton Complex fire, the largest single wildfire in Washington history, burned 256,108 acres, destroyed 353 homes, and caused an estimated $98 million in damage. The fire caused no direct fa...

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Dorothea Nordstrand Remembers a 1920 Seattle Streetcar Accident and Hard Times

In this People's History, Dorothea (Pfister) Nordstrand (1916-2011) recalls the time her father, riding from the Green Lake neighborhood to downtown Seattle to look for work on January 5, 1920, was in...

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Finding William Hamilton: A Transatlantic Detective Story

Michael Atkins relays the story of William Hamilton, an Irishman who came to Seattle in 1909. One of Hamilton's grand nieces in Ireland posted a query on a usenet group on the internet. Intrigued, Atk...

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Franklin Mine disaster (August 24, 1894): A Compilation of Contemporary Sources

This People's History consists of contemporary newspaper accounts of the Franklin Mine Disaster of August 24,1894, and portions of the investigative report by the official state mines inspector. With ...

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Graveyard of the Pacific: Shipwrecks on the Washington Coast

The stretch of coast between Tillamook Bay in Oregon and Vancouver Island, encompassing the mouth of the Columbia River and the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, has claimed since 1800 more than...

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HistoryLink Elementary: Mount St. Helens Erupts

Mount St. Helens once was the fifth-highest mountain in Washington. Now, because of a huge eruption on May 18, 1980, it is only the 30th highest peak in the state. There were many signs that the mount...

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HistoryLink Elementary: The Great Fire of Seattle

Early buildings in what is now the state of Washington were mostly constructed of wood. There were no organized fire departments and not much water that could be used in the event of fire. Seattle's d...

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John D. Parker recalls the 1921 explosion of the Hitt's Fireworks factory in the Rainier Valley.

In 1999, 90-year old John Parker of Port Ludlow penned this account of the 1921 explosion of the Hitt's Fireworks factory in the Rainier Valley. One woman working at the plant was killed.

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Lawson Mine Disaster (November 6, 1910): Official Investigative Reports

Sixteen men, all foreign-born, were killed on November 6, 1910, in an explosion at the Lawson Coal Mine in Black Diamond in east King County. The following is excerpted from the "State Inspector of Co...

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Morgan Slope Mine Disaster (April 26, 1907): Official Investigative Report

Seven men were killed and six seriously injured on April 26,1907, in an explosion at the Pacific Coast Company's coal mine at Morgan Slope in Black Diamond in east King County. The following is the in...

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Now & Then -- Seattle's Great Fire of 1889

This file contains Seattle historian and photographer Paul Dorpat's Now & Then photographs and reflections on Seattle's Great Fire of 1889.

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Roslyn Mine disaster (October 3, 1909): The Official Investigative Report of the Washington State Inspector of Coal Mines

This People's History presents the full official investigative report prepared by the state Inspector of Coal Mines after an explosion at the Roslyn Mine on October 3, 1909, claimed the lives of 10 mi...

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