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“State Library Jewel” #2: List of motor vehicle owners in 1912

by Brian Zylstra | January 27th, 2015 4:42 pm | No Comments


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(Photo courtesy of Washington State Library)

In mid-January we launched our “State Archives treasures” blog series, and now it’s the State Library’s turn to showcase some of their most interesting pieces! Our first “State Library jewels” post  featured a Washington road map from 1924; today we travel a little further back in time to 1912 with a book of Washington’s motor vehicle owners.

In 1912, Washington’s motor vehicle owners filed for licensing directly through the Office of the Secretary of State. The Department of Licensing was yet to be created!

There are 10,449 Vehicle License Allotments available in this book, but the number of Washingtonians with a driver’s license at this time is not provided. Instead, the list displays the name of the owner, their address, a description of the vehicle, and the license plate number. Inside this book, all citizens who, prior to August 15, 1911, had registered with the Secretary of State’s Office for the fiscal year ending May 31, 1912, are listed.

This list was compiled by Secretary of State I.M. Howell.

(We originally ran the blog series in 2012. Due to its popularity, we’re bringing it back for an encore performance!)

Elk having a spa day in Spokane?

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(Photo courtesy of Washington State Digital Archives)

These days, a picture like this is more likely to come from the Olympic Rainforest than central Spokane. But in 1910, these elk were bathing in the middle of what is now Manito Park.

Manito Park is an important part of Spokane history because it encouraged settlement in a new area. Manito Park and its surrounding neighborhood, which were once considered “way out” from the original Spokane townsite, are now central parts of the city.

In those early days, Manito Park was called “Montrose Park” because of the rose garden that grew on a high hill.

The Elk Pond was located where that rose garden stands today. The pond lasted from 1905 to 1932, when the Great Depression made feeding the menagerie of animals at Manito Zoo too expensive.

Today, Manito is home to flower gardens, greenhouses, swans, geese and duck, but no elk.

Pictures like this one were taken to encourage people to visit Spokane. Most of these images were used in promotional literature, but several also appeared in reports from Spokane’s Board of Park Commissioners from 1891 to 1913.

This picture comes from a collection of 123 glass lantern slides showing scenes from all over the city of Spokane. More than Manito Park, the collection also has snapshots from swimming pools, playgrounds, winter scenes and the Spokane River.

If you want to see more from the “Spokane City Parks, Lantern Slides, 1900-1930,” check out the collection here on the State Digital Archives website.

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State Library Jewel #1: 1924 WA road map

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(Map courtesy of Washington State Library)

We recently finished showcasing three special items housed in our State Archives. Now, it’s the State Library’s turn.

Starting this week, we’ll do a monthly feature on three of the many rare, unique or interesting items, maps and collections found in the State Library. After we show them off, you and others can vote in our online poll by choosing the State Library “contestant” you like best. After a few days, we’ll announce the January winner.

The first contestant is this 1924 road map from the State Highway Department. It shows the primary and secondary state highways that were to be completed by 1936. The map indicates there were 1,710 paved miles of highway in Washington, and another 1,400 miles that were gravel. Not a good time to be a windshield!

Long before Interstate 5 was built, the main north-south highway from Bellingham south to Vancouver was Highway 99. On this map, it’s Highway “No. 1.” And yes, there is such a place called “Forest” a few miles south of Chehalis.

This map shows that Highway “No. 2” made it possible to drive from Seattle to Spokane long before I-90 was built. Note that No. 2 generally follows a route from Seattle to Cle Elum that’s similar to where I-90 snakes along today. But then No. 2 heads north toward Leavenworth, providing a precursor to where highways 970 and 97 travel today. From the Leavenworth area, No. 2 basically follows the same path as U.S. Highway 2 currently takes to reach Spokane, except that portions of it are no longer gravel, as it was back then.

(We originally ran the blog series in 2012. Due to its popularity, we’re bringing it back for an encore performance!)

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Remembering the Kalakala

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The Kalakala during its glory days. (Photo courtesy Washington State Digital Archives) 

Fans of the historic Kalakala are sad over the news that the sleek silver ferry boat has been taken this week to the Tacoma dry dock where it will be scrapped.

The Kalakala was a Seattle icon before the Space Needle was built. It launched in 1935 and plied Puget Sound’s waters until it was taken out of service in the 1960s. It later was used as a cannery in Alaska.

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The Kalakala last spring, docked in Tacoma. (Photo courtesy Benjamin Helle)

The State Archives staff has found several photos and documents related to the famed vessel, including the ’50s era photo above. That photo is found in the State Digital Archives’ State Library Photograph Collection, 1851-1990. Below you’ll see a 1951 ferries schedule/fare brochure, which includes a photo of the Kalakala. Note that it cost only $1.55 to take a car on a ferry from Seattle to Bremerton back then!

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A 1951 Washington State Ferries schedule/fare brochure. (Image courtesy State Archives)

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WA territorial seal tops Archives Treasures poll

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January’s Archives Treasures online poll showed that older can be more popular. Of the three candidates this month, the 1853 Washington territorial seal received 40 percent of the votes, knocking off the boxing legends’ applications (33 percent) and Legislative Building construction photos (27 percent).

Next week we’ll begin a segment on interesting and cool items in the State Library, so watch for that.

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Kids’ Art Contest to honor anniversary of Voting Rights Act

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Talia Anderson of Port Angeles was the winner of the 2014 Kids’ Art Contest, which celebrated Washington’s 125th birthday. (Image courtesy of Elections Division) 

Our office is inviting Washington’s fourth- and fifth-graders to enter the 2015 Kids’ Art Contest!

This year’s theme is “Every Vote is Equal!” to honor of the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. Students are encouraged to discuss the importance of this landmark piece of legislation in their submissions.

This Voting Rights Act ensured that a person’s right to vote cannot be denied because of their race or color. It makes policies like poll taxes or literacy tests, which had been used to discriminate against many African Americans, against the law. Passed in 1965, this act represented decades of hard work and sacrifices from activists like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks.

“Americans today could not truly call ourselves free if it hadn’t been for the Voting Rights Act,” said Secretary of State Kim Wyman. “Fifty years later, we should celebrate this major achievement in equality and the voice it gives all citizens regardless of skin color.”

Submissions must be in by April 15.

The winning artwork celebrating voting equality will be published in 3 million copies of the next statewide Voters’ Pamphlet. All fourth- and fifth-grade students in Washington’s public, private, tribal and home schools are welcome to submit their original art.

The official contest rules and entry form are available here.

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Just hanging around Mount Rainier

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Majestic Mount Rainier has long been one of Washington’s top recreational hotspots. The 14,411-foot peak and its namesake national park attract campers, hikers and backpackers, as well as mountain climbers of all abilities, from novices to world-class athletes who ascend Rainier’s technically challenging north side in preparation for expeditions on Himalayan peaks.

This State Digital Archives photo, taken around 1950 by Bob and Ira Spring, shows Seattle native Walter Gonnason, who was rappelling down the face of Pinnacle Peak, with Rainier in the distance to the north. According to the State Archives’ January newsletter, Gonnason made many expeditions to peaks and glaciers around North America. He also played a small role in a long-fought controversy over the credibility of one of America’s most famous explorers.

In 1906, famed Arctic explorer Dr. Frederick A. Cook claimed to have to have been the first man to summit Mt. McKinley in Alaska. His testimony was later challenged by fellow explorers and the authenticity of the photos he took called into question. Fellow explorer Belmore Browne flatly rejected the claim that Cook scaled the peak from the dangerous north side, in the mere twelve days Cook claimed. Brown later proved that Cook’s McKinley photos were of a different peak 20 miles away. Cook was disgraced, and his claims to have been the first to the North Pole were also called into question. Gonnason was one of a small but adamant group of defenders of the Cook legacy. In 1956, he organized an expedition to scale the mountain following the exact route laid out by Cook. Although the expedition failed to reach the summit, Gonnason still maintained that Cook had been victim in a great miscarriage of justice. This is just one of the great stories one can find while exploring the Washington State Archives.

Care to see more of the Digital Archives’ Mount Rainier photos? Just check out its General Subjects Photograph Collection, 1845-2005.

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Initiative filing season under way

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Around here, January’s arrival doesn’t mean just a new year, it also means the start of another initiative filing season.

Filing for Initiatives to the People opened Jan. 3. Registered voters can file initiatives here through July 2.

Thirty-seven initiatives have been filed as of Friday morning, 17 of them by initiative king Tim Eyman. Of the 37, 29 have been assigned numbers. Go here to see the initiatives filed so far.

In Washington State, any registered voter may propose new laws through the initiative process. Laws may also be amended or repealed (except the state constitution).

To file an Initiative to the People, an initiative sponsor must:
• Be a registered voter
• Create an online account (to file online)
• Provide the complete text of the initiative in Word or RTF format
• Pay a $5 filing fee (Visa or MasterCard)
• Present a signed affidavit from each sponsor

After filing an initiative, the sponsor needs to gather signatures from at least 246,372 registered voters in order for the measure to be placed on the General Election ballot in the fall. Signature petition sheets are due at the Elections Division by July 2. We suggest sponsors submit at least 325,000 to cover invalid or duplicate signatures. If the initiative is approved by a simple majority of voters, it becomes state law.

Any registered voter interested in filing an initiative is encouraged to read the handbook called “Filing Initiatives and Referenda in Washington State.”

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Vote for your favorite “Archives Treasure”

Nowadays, we have opinion polls on just about everything. Not wanting to miss the poll train, we’re offering you a chance to sound off on some of our State Archives’ many interesting documents, collections, photos and other historical gems.

Starting this month, we’re featuring various “Archives Treasures.” Over the past few days, we’ve showcased three of these treasures for viewing. The first “contestant” is the state boxing license applications submitted by heavyweight legends Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. The second is one of the photos showing the construction of the Legislative Building. And the third is the territorial seal created in the 1850s.

Now it’s up to you. Please vote for your favorite Archives Treasure below. We’ll leave our poll open until next Thursday and then we’ll announce the winner next Friday!

#1 Boxing legends’ license applications

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#2 Legislative Building construction photos

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#3 Washington territorial seal

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What is your favorite January Archives Treasure?

  • Washington territorial seal (40%)
  • Boxing legends' license applications (33%)
  • Legislative Building construction photos (27%)

Total Voters: 60

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“Archives Treasures” item #3: territorial seal

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Earlier this week, we started our new blog series that highlights some of the millions of documents, images, maps and other historical goodies housed in our State Archives.

Here is the third and final contender in this month’s Archives Treasures poll: the official seal of Washington Territory. The territorial seal was proposed and designed in 1853 by J.K. Duncan, a lieutenant in the U.S. Army assigned to Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens’ survey party.  It was adopted in 1854.

The territorial seal was featured on the front cover of the 2003 statewide Voters’ Pamphlet since that year was the 150th anniversary of Washington becoming a territory.

A story in the February 25, 1854, edition of Olympia’s “Pioneer and Democrat” describes the territorial seal:  On one side a log cabin and an immigrant wagon with a fir forest in the background; on the other side a sheet of water being traversed by a steamer and sailing vessel, a city in perspective, the Goddess of Hope and an anchor in the center, the figure pointing up to the significant word “Alki” (bye and bye).

The first “contestant” in this month’s Archives treasures poll was the boxing license application that Muhammad Ali submitted in 1970 under his former name, Cassius Clay. The second “contestant” was one of the many photos showing the construction of the Legislative Building on the Capitol Campus.

Now that all three finalists are known, it will be up to you to choose which one you like best. On Friday, we’ll do a blog post in which you can vote for your favorite Archives treasure for January. Make sure to vote!

(We originally ran the blog series in 2012. Due to its popularity, we’re bringing them back for an encore performance!)

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50 years after his first inaugural, Oly honors Dan Evans

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Dan Evans receives an ovation in the House chamber when he is sworn in as governor in January 1965. (Photos courtesy of Washington State Archives)  

Fifty years after his first inaugural, Dan Evans received a warm welcome Wednesday at the Capitol where he once wielded power as a House leader and the state’s only governor elected to three consecutive terms.  Leaders from both parties honored Republican Evans for his work as state legislator, governor, Evergreen State College president, U.S. senator, University of Washington regent, and citizen activist.

A resolution adopted in both the Senate and House hailed Evans as “one of the most popular and respected public servants in Washington history.”  It noted that Evans was just 31 when he began his legislative career (his grandfather represented Spokane in the Senate in 1893!) and became the youngest governor in state history, 39, when he was elected in a Democratic landslide year, 1964, defeating incumbent Democratic Gov. Albert D. Rosellini. Nancy Bell Evans became first lady at age 31 and they raised their three young sons in the Mansion.

Sens. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee, and Karen Fraser, D-Olympia, lauded Evans’ work on creating wilderness areas and the nation’s first Department of Ecology, championing equal rights for women and minorities, creating the community college system, and more.  The resolution notes that Evans was a list of the nation’s best governors of the 20th Century.

Evans, accompanied by Nancy Evans, two granddaughters and former Sen. and Attorney General Slade Gorton, said the Senate ceremony was a little like attending his own memorial service. He said the legislative chambers were just like they were when he first came to town — only lots of electronic devices and no spittoons.  Noting that lawmakers are under court order to adequately fund K-12, he noted that in his day, the Legislature was under court order to achieve redistricting.  “May you have an easier time this year,” he said.

Evans recounted some of his early speeches Olympia that speak to, noting that their message is still relevant: that there are no Republican or Democratic schools or transportation or parks or salmon; that people shouldn’t fear labels like conservative and liberal; and that he’d rather “cross the aisle” by bipartisan problem-solving than “cross the people” by failing to solve the problems of the state.

Evans, later feted at a Capitol reception and at the Governor’s Mansion, indicated he’s still looking forward to his next phase of service.

“It’s been a real ball, and it ain’t over yet,” he said.

Still hale at age 89, he told lawmakers “It’s a rare privilege to be here — it’s a delight to be ANYWHERE.”

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Evans walks down the steps on the north side of the Legislative Building in 1965.

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The Washington Office of the Secretary of State’s blog provides from-the-source information about important state news and public services. This space acts as a bridge between the public and Secretary Kim Wyman and her staff, and we invite you to contribute often to the conversation here.

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