In 1971, "decades before any state had seriously considered legalizing gay marriage, long before anyone had thought of creating—never mind repealing—a policy called “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” before Reagan, before AIDS, before the American Psychiatric Association determined that homosexuality was not a mental illness, and before half the people currently living in America were even born, a man named John Singer stepped into the King County marriage license office in Seattle." Meet Faygele ben Miriam, the radical activist who pioneered the fight for same-sex marriage in Washington State, 41 years ago. Via.
Century 21 Calling
- Dreamily retro footage of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair
, AKA the Century 21 Exposition
, including a visit to the Bell Systems
pavilion. A slice of space age science propaganda
, the fair gave Seattle some of its most enduring landmarks in the form of the Space Needle
and the Alweg Monorail
, and, of course, brought Elvis to town
Technology innovation will be a large part of late 20th century American history. Now the gearheads can explore the roots of all that geekdom. The Geek's Guide to Seattle
is a virtual tour of some of the region’s most interesting and notable technology locations. A Geek's Tour of Silicon Valley
hits hotspots there. Don't forget The Tech Museum
and the Computer History Museum
. Back east, there's Research Triangle Park (pdf)
in North Carolina, and The Computing Revolution
at the Museum of Science
is a new online exhibit from the excellent Burke Museum
at the University of Washington, Seattle. It tells the story of the land underlying Seattle, one of the United States' most geologically active city sites, and of the human attempts to engineer this landform. Closely related are the archaeology of West Point
and Coast Salish Villages
of Puget Sound (e.g., read the story
of North Wind and Storm Wind).
The University of Washington has put a collection
of Vietnam War era printed ephemera (posters, flyers, pamphlets, magazines, mostly cheap mimeographs or photocopies) online. The browsable
collection ranges from Defend the Black Panthers
to How to Make a Revolution in the U.S.
to the Planetary Citizen Human Manifesto
to plain old Do Something
. The collection offers a fascinating insight into the passion, energy and graphic sensibilities of grassroots, home-front politics in late 1960s and early 1970s Seattle. [more inside]
The great Seattle Fire
. "The spring of 1889 in Seattle had been beautiful....Unfortunately, the unusually good weather proved to be disastrous, as the dry conditions conspired with a handful of other elements to allow for the worst fire in city history...the fire burned until 3:00 am. When it was done, the damage was enormous. 120 acres (25 city blocks) had been destroyed, as was every wharf and Mill from Union to Jackson Streets. Although the loss of human life was evidently low (no statistics were kept on that) it was estimated that 1 million rats were killed...." Photo gallery
. A roughly contemporaneous account
. A Historylink essay
on the fire. How the fire changed Seattle's architecture
Segregated Seattle: For most of its history Seattle was a segregated city, as committed to white supremacy as any location in America.
Segregated Seattle is a student/community created website and digital archive sponsored by UW's Civil Rights and Labor History Project. Check out the segregation maps
, the short films and slide shows
, Activist Oral Histories
, and a page where you can browse the site by time period or topic
. And the Restrictive Covenants Database will help Seattle homeowners determine if the fine print in their deed forbids the property from being "used or occupied by any person of the Ethiopian, Malay, or any Asiatic race."
Edith Macefield is stubborn. Man, is she stubborn. That's what her mother told her when she was a little girl back in the 1920s. It's a characteristic that has followed her all her life. Now that unrelenting stubbornness has won the 86-year-old woman admirers throughout Ballard. Macefield refused to sell her little old house where she has lived since 1966 to developers, forcing them to build an entire five-story project, which includes a grocery store, fitness club and parking garage, around her. She was offered $1 million to leave. She turned it down flat. Old Ballard's new hero
Newsfilter, local interest filter, too, but, oh, man, it lifts the spirits. Her's is the last house on the block, the one in which she grew up, the one her mother died in. She is going to be surrounded by five storys of shopping mall but she isn't moving. It's like The Little House
come to life. And bonus points: Mike's Chili Parlor
, the other hold out on the same block, is the bomb. So you get two Old Lost Seattle treasures in one post.
OK, Seattleites, see the American flag here
? On the sidewalk below is where your 3rd & Pine McDonalds now sits. Man, I can see five buildings here that are still standing, but that red brick one at the lower right got replaced early
. Now here's the Northern Life Tower
. Note how the bricks lighten towards the top, so as to make it look taller from below--very subtle, that. It's one of Seattle's two Art Deco buildings, the other being the Exchange Building
. You can cut through that one, coming off the ferry at First Avenue and take the elevator to walk out on Second Ave rather than climb that steep hill, you know.
And consider on what playground equipment
our grandparents got to play. Lucky stiffs--you can't even find a decent 50s era swing set in a park in this town anymore. Penny Postcards From King County
, from Penny Postcards of Washington
, from Penny Postcards
. Man, I loves me some vintage postcards. And if you do, too, check that last link--it's got all 50 states.
Seattle's Museum of History & Industry
has compiled a photographic archive
of Seattle and its surrounding communities. Over 12,000 images from local museums, libraries and historical societies
capture the heritage of King county spanning over 100 years. The project
was developed through the National Leadership Grant for Library and Museum Collaboration.