Junius Rochester

Junius Rochester, whose family has shaped the city for many generations, is an award-winning Northwest historian and author of numerous books about Seattle and other places.

The Pacific Northwest Through the Eyes of Paul Bunyan

James Stevens scanned the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest and saw every dramatic contour against the sky through the eyes of a mythical giant lumberman named Paul Bunyan.  

How Astoria Became the Plymouth Rock of the West

Historian Samuel Eliot Morison rhapsodized: “Astoria might well be called the Plymouth Rock of the West -- for the opening up of the Oregon country is a close parallel, almost a reproduction of the process by which the Thirteen Colonies were founded by England.”   

How Modern Capitol Hill Came About – Part 2

Commercial activity picked up, boosted by new electric trolleys rolling along tracks on Broadway, later removed to accommodate more maneuverable electric trolley buses and cars. Starting in 1909, Broadway became “Automobile Row.”

When I Swam with Juan Peron at the “Hotel of the Dictators”

We embarked on what we envisioned as a lark; an exotic adventure. It turned out to be far more.

How Capitol Hill Came Together

Cable cars rode up James and Madison Streets to Broadway, then headed east, as Paul Dorpat writes (2001), “through a patchwork of forests and stump fields – the latter surmounted by real estate signs promoting convenience of cleared lots placed close to the tracks. A fourth electric line ran north and south along Broadway connecting the three hills north to south, Capitol, First, and Beacon – topographically three sisters in the same ice-age ridge.”

Oklahoma Slim, Chronicler of the Vanishing Hobo

Hood River Blackie had this tribute: “No group in American history ever roamed as far across this great land as did the hobos, so let’s salute them just once as they follow the steam locomotive into history. Let’s remember them as they truly were the last pioneers; for when they are all gone – as soon they must be – this world will not see their like again.”

What in the Sam Hill! A Remarkable Northwest Pioneer

Sam’s reach extended well beyond Maryhill and Seattle. He initiated and paid for the Canadian Border Peace Arch at Blaine, Washington. He was the financial sponsor of Chief Joseph’s burial monument on the Colville Indian Reservation. He helped finance the first Quaker meeting house in Seattle (Friends Memorial Church).

How FDR Defined Infrastructure: Roads, Bridges and Writers

The Federal Writers’ Project provided over 10,000 jobs for Americans during the Depression. Those workers found, recorded and revitalized much American history.

What the Civil War Looked Like in the Pacific Northwest

Following outbreak of the Civil War this dream of a separate West Coast nation was revived. Newly arrived Southerners were among the enthusiastic supporters of this secessionist idea for starting over with a clean slate.

The Ex Ex: How some of Puget Sound’s Most Familiar Places got their Names

Captain Charles Wilkes, who led the scientific expedition in 1841, observed the bird-like shape of the Bainbridge Island harbor, giving it the name Eagle Harbor. He added Bill Point and Wing Point to complete the avian image.