Memories of Martin Luther King and the Pentagon Protest March

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I learned many years later that King and Malcolm X briefly spoke with each other that day when I saw them at the Senate, after each had departed the gallery. It was the first and only time these two young men, champions of human rights, were to meet. 

The Original Douglas Fir

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David Douglas introduced over 200 Pacific Northwest plants to Great Britain, including the Sitka spruce.  At Scone Castle, near his birthplace, a large Douglas fir stands in his honor.

How Seattle’s Central District became the Heart of the City

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The central Seattle neighborhood, sometimes called the Central District or CD, is the heart of residential and rental Seattle.

Media Frenzy for a Northwest Desperado: The Life and Legend of Harry Tracy

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The Old West may feel like ancient history to most of us, but one of the bloodiest and most colorful of western outlaws ended his days right here in our Pacific Northwest just 119 years ago when Seattle was already a bustling, modern metropolis.

Injustices: Seattle’s Brutal Past with Chinese Immigrants

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The U.S. Congress appropriated $276,619.15 as full indemnity for losses incurred by the Chinese residents.  As a final indignity the settlement was paid to the Chinese government, not to the injured parties.

Visionaries: Designers of Seattle’s Parks and Boulevards

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Designers who "made no small plans" got Seattle's parks off to a running start, even if some plans were nixed and others partly completed.

Before it was Kirkland…

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We are not likely to find such antique sites in Kirkland because of the lake’s inexorable rise.  If we find antecedents of historic lake villages, they will be underwater. 

Enough with Guys in Wigs! How I was Drawn to A More Nuanced Version...

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In the larger scheme of things, we are in the midst of a pretty thorough re-examination and re-telling of our national story. One which makes the less, even the heretofore-invisible actors, visible. High time!

Indipinos: A Hidden Bainbridge Island History

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A little known community on Bainbridge Island. with Filipino fathers and Tribal mothers, honors its Indipino history and culture in a new documentary.

Seattle’s First Real Estate Mogul

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The Grand Opera House on Cherry Street offered performances almost nightly. Henry and Mrs. B rarely missed a show, and he grew into an arts patron and a lifetime sponsor of musical groups and artists.

The Real Costs of 9/11 in Numbers and…

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Some history is called for.

Who Tells Your Story: Junius Rochester’s Honor Roll of Northwest Historians

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One historian, Murray Morgan, helped establish the term "Skid Road," correcting the misnomer of Skid Row. Morgan left a rich trove of historial anecdotes.

Origins of the Taliban: Fighting the British in Colonial India

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The support of religious schools that ultimately created the Taliban came mainly through American aid dollars meant for Pakistan and money from Saudi Arabia.

The Northwest’s Hawaiian Connection

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The fur trade helped build the Northwest. Less well known is the connection with Hawaii, which has surprisingly many links to our region. 

The Pacific Northwest Through the Eyes of Paul Bunyan

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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

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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

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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.”

How Capitol Hill Came Together

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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.”

The Ancient Ghost Trail from Beacon Hill to Seward Park

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The old trail makes time a permeable membrane. This surprising pleasure gives us glimpses of our city's earlier and ancient world marked by lights and shadows amid a modern, cosmopolitan city.

Oklahoma Slim, Chronicler of the Vanishing Hobo

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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

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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).

Happy Pig War Day! (my favorite war)

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The Pig War took an admirable place in world history. It signaled that there are ways nations can peacefully resolve competing claims. Bloodshed can be averted by compromise and arbitration. And so it is that the Pig War remains an altercation where the one and only casualty was a pig. It is my favorite war, the war that ended before it started.

Whitewashing Tulsa: How Popular Culture went to work

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Leave it to New York and Hollywood to bury the dark secrets of Tulsa and Oklahoma and to turn these high central plains into nativist celebrations of white culture.

How FDR Defined Infrastructure: Roads, Bridges and Writers

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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

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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

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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.