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Year: 2012

Snow at the Capitol! ?>

Snow at the Capitol!

Snow in Oly New Year's Eve 2012 003

It might not exactly qualify as Snowmageddon. It even might not be sticking enough to make a snowball. But it’s snowing at the Capitol.

The wintry white flakes started falling from the sky after 10 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, more than enough snow to terrify “First Snowflake Freakout Lady” from one of those funny PEMCO ”Northwest Profile” radio ads.

Whether it lasts until Tuesday’s arrival of 2013 remains to be seen.

From Your Corner: Lake Union’s name ?>

From Your Corner: Lake Union’s name


(Photo courtesy of Benjamin Helle)

Seattleites and “Sleepless in Seattle” fans will have no trouble recognizing Lake Union, the 12,000-year-old body of water carved from the same glacier that created Green Lake and Lake Washington.  Visitors can see floating homes along the east and west sides of the lake that sits just north of Seattle’s central business district. Seattle’s major Fourth of July fireworks show usually takes place there and draws spectators from all corners of the greater Seattle area.  As the original home of Boeing, Lake Union also marks the site where the company first started production in 1916.

Lake Union received its name from the legendary pioneer Thomas Mercer, who believed it would eventually join Lake Washington with the waters of the Puget Sound.  Mercer’s prediction came true through the completion of the Lake Washington Ship Canal in 1934.

Olympia in 1970 ?>

Olympia in 1970

Olympia waterfront 1970

(Photo courtesy of Washington State Archives)

Downtown Olympia and the city’s waterfront looked much different in 1970 than today, as this photo in the State Archives WSDOT file shows. The photo looks to the north. Note the “old fleet” in the background.

Reed does a lot of swearing (in) ?>

Reed does a lot of swearing (in)


(Photo courtesy of Don Jensen)

No, not the type requiring bleeps. Actually, Secretary Reed spent part of Wednesday participating in separate county swearing-in ceremonies in Kelso and Olympia.

The Secretary traveled south in the morning to the Cowlitz County Courthouse to swear in County Commissioners Mike Karnofski and Dennis Weber (in photo above), and PUD Commissioner Kurt Anagnostou.

After returning to Olympia, Reed made the short trek around Capitol Lake and up the hill to the Thurston County Courthouse to take part in an afternoon swearing-in ceremony for County Commissioners Sandra Romero and Cathy Wolfe, Thurston County Superior Court Judges Christine Schaller and Erik Price, and Thurston PUD Commissioner Linda Oosterman. Reed didn’t swear in any of the Thurston officials, but he gave a keynote speech on leadership.

Don’t be a Grinch! Vote in Archives treasures poll! ?>

Don’t be a Grinch! Vote in Archives treasures poll!

For many, the past week already has been busy and memorable, thanks to holiday-related shopping and family get-togethers, and, of course, the Seahawks pummeling the 49ers on national TV to clinch a playoff spot. And, depending on whether you cheer for the UW or WSU, you either were bummed or delighted that the Huskies lost a nail-biter to Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl.

If all of the recent pigskin and yuletide action hasn’t worn you out, here is something else to keep you busy, at least for a moment. It’s our monthly Archives treasures online poll in which we feature three rare, interesting or cool items found in the State Archives.

The December contenders are:
The first Territorial Supreme Court case Supreme_Court_Case1

Telegrams sent by the U.S. War Department to Gov. Langlie soon after the Pearl Harbor attack in December 1941 Pearl Harbor telegram to Gov. Langlie
Washington railroad maps from the 1880s to 1980s  1910RRC

Take a moment to review the three candidates and then vote for your favorite. The online poll closes Jan. 4, so make sure to vote!

What is your favorite December Archives treasure?

  • Pearl Harbor attack telegrams to Gov. Langlie (52%)
  • Washington railroad maps, 1880s to 1980s (30%)
  • First Territorial Supreme Court case (18%)

Total Voters: 67

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Archives treasure #3: Railroad maps, 1880s-1980s ?>

Archives treasure #3: Railroad maps, 1880s-1980s


There was a time, before highways were so commonplace, when railroads dominated U.S. transportation. In fact, the American rail network in the 1910s was more than 250,000 miles of track, far more than the roughly 140,000 miles existing today nationwide.

The third and final Archives treasure for December reflects that golden era of railroads in Washington and the rest of the U.S. It’s a collection of more than 4,000 railroad maps held by the State Archives. The statewide map above is from 1910.

These maps document the growth and settlement of the state, from the first railroad along the Columbia River in 1851, to Seattle’s first railroad 20 years later, to today’s passenger and freight lines. The largest set of maps, Right of Way Maps, detail routes of every railroad in the state, prepared for the Department of Revenue for taxation purposes and includes maps of the Northern Pacific Railroad, Great Northern Railway, Cascade and Columbia Railroad, Pacific Coast Railroad, Camus Prairie Railroad, Puget Sound and Pacific Railroad, Blue Mountain Railroad, Tacoma, Eastern Railroad, Chehalis Western Railroad, Oregon Trunk Line, Union Pacific Railroad, Spokane International Railway, Blue Mountain Railroad, and the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway.

We’ll launch this month’s Archives treasure online poll after Christmas, so watch for it and choose your favorite.

Archives treasure #2: Pearl Harbor telegrams ?>

Archives treasure #2: Pearl Harbor telegrams

Pearl Harbor telegram to Gov. Langlie

Dec. 7 marked the 71st anniversary of the Japanese attack on the U.S. Navy fleet stationed in Pearl Harbor and other American military installations nearby. A day after the attack in Hawaii, the United States declared war on Japan.

Starting just hours following the Pearl Harbor attack, Washington Gov. Arthur Langlie received a series of telegrams from the U.S. War Department. These telegrams are the second Archives treasure for December. Archives treasures is a monthly blog feature in which we highlight some of the rare, interesting or cool items or collections found in the State Archives.  Readers are polled for their favorite “treasure.”

The first telegram was marked received at 5:11 p.m. on Dec. 7, 1941. It suggested that Langlie “consider preparing the State Guard or other forces at your disposal for cooperation with federal troops operating under the command of the corps area in which your state is located with a view to protecting all structures plants and facilities essential to national defense.”

The second telegram, marked received at 8:38 a.m. on Dec. 8, lists the types of installations vital to the national defense and asks that they be protected: port  facilities, power plants, water plants including dams, munitions plants and important highway bridges.

The third telegram,  marked received at  9:11 a.m. on Dec. 8, requested that “immediate steps be taken to assign properly authorized police officers to all known landing fields for aircraft for protection of field facilities and to hold such aircraft on the fields unless they are aircraft engaged in scheduled air transportation…”

December Archives treasure #1: First Territorial Supreme Court case ?>

December Archives treasure #1: First Territorial Supreme Court case


Going back, back, back to our territorial days, Washington’s Supreme Court has heard hundreds of cases. So what was the first case ever heard by the Washington territorial high court?

It was George Palmer v. United States, filed Dec. 14, 1854.

The case involved the conviction of Palmer, who was charged with “selling and giving spirituous liquor to an Indian.”  He was sentenced to pay a fine of $500 to the feds and spend three months in the County Jail. Due to a number of errors committed by the District Court, the judgment was reversed and  Palmer was released.

This case is the first Archives treasure for December. Palmer is one of 634 case files for the Territorial Supreme Court (1854-1889) that our State Archives preserves.

We’re talking 32 cubic feet for all cases appearing before the Territorial Supreme Court, including briefs, depositions, cost and fee documents, and other filings.  All told, the State Archives has more than 4,100 cubic feet of records that document the opinions and decisions of every case decided by the territory and later the state’s highest court.

Go here to learn more about the Washington Supreme Court.

Gregoire unveils $34b budget & tax plan ?>

Gregoire unveils $34b budget & tax plan

20120731b_blogGov. Chris Gregoire, in one of her last major acts as governor, has unveiled a $34 billion, two-year budget for state government, along with a tax package devoted largely to upgrading the K-12 budget.

The Democratic governor, leaving office in January after serving eight years, laid out spending priorities for every sector of state government, including schools and colleges, parks, social and health services, prisons, the courts and Legislature, Puget Sound cleanup, and the departments of government.  She also released transportation and construction budgets.

Easily the most controversial aspect of her budget rollout was her prescription of a billion-dollar revenue package, including a wholesale fuel tax and extension of a business tax on selected professional services, a hospital tax and a junk food tax. Reaction from Republican budgetwriters was mostly of the “dead on arrival” variety.

Democratic Gov.-elect Jay Inslee‘s office put out a noncommittal statement. He campaigned against new taxes this year.

The Gregoire budget would continue to squeeze some programs, including the State Library and the Heritage Center account, but would beef up other areas, including employee salaries, Puget Sound cleanup, parks and, most significantly, education. The Legislature and future governors are on notice from the state Supreme Court that the state has not been meeting the state Constitution’s requirement of ample funding of schools.

While it is a lame duck’s budget, it is nonetheless influential, setting the basic parameters of the budget-and-tax deliberations that await when lawmakers convene Jan. 14. Inslee is inaugurated on Jan. 16, and is not expected to build a ground-up budget proposal of his own. If history is a guide, he will present an amended version of Gregoire’s budget, and will have to deal with whether to include new revenue, such as a ballot referendum for education and/or for transportation.

Both houses of the Legislature will offer their own drafts. The House has a Democratic majority. The Senate has a slim Democratic majority of elected senators, but two of their fiscal conservatives, Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon, have said they will cross the aisle to form a coalition with the 23 Republicans, seizing control of the upper chamber. Tom would be the new majority leader and Sheldon the president pro tempore.  Democrats on Monday rejected a call for a certain amount of power-sharing and counter-proposed a straight sharing of all leadership and committee posts.

1893 phone book tops Library jewels poll ?>

1893 phone book tops Library jewels poll

1893 telephone directory

December’s Library jewels online poll showed that telephone directories are still popular, at least really old ones. Of the three contenders this month, the 1893 phone book for Western Washington topped the poll with 46 percent, easily defeating the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition Commission documents (28 percent) and the Washington Territory Volunteer papers (26 percent).

The next Archives treasures segment will start later this week, so watch for that.