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August 21, 2014 – August 27, 2014

Meet the Beatles

Fifty years ago this week, on August 21, 1964, the Seattle Center Coliseum was rocked by the screams of more than 14,300 fans as they welcomed the Beatles on the third stop of their first U.S. tour and their first performance in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle teens were swept up in Beatlemania, and hundreds of them had greeted John, Paul, George, and Ringo earlier that morning when they arrived at Sea-Tac Airport. Even more gathered at the Edgewater Inn on the city's waterfront, where the band stayed during its visit.

Tickets for the concert were $5, although scalpers were selling them for as high as $30. Four opening acts preceded the lads from Liverpool, but when KJR deejay Pat O'Day introduced the Fab Four the crowd went wild. Hundreds of girls rushed the stage, which led to a few minor injuries. One girl was restrained on a stretcher, all the while screaming "Paul! I love you!"

Two years later, the Beatles returned to Seattle and played two shows at the Coliseum on August 25, 1966. This time they were met by a scattering of protesters upset with John Lennon's recent comment that the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus." Nevertheless, the band was presented with a certificate, signed by Washington Secretary of State Lud Kramer, making them honorary state citizens. Upon leaving Seattle, the Beatles played Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and Candlestick Park in San Francisco -- the last scheduled concerts they would ever play together as a group.

Yesterday and Today

One hundred years ago this week, on August 27, 1914, a restaurant fire in Shelton spread and wiped out most of the city's downtown.When news of the blaze reached Mayor Mark Reed -- who was in Seattle on business -- his chauffeur drove the 100 miles of mostly unpaved roads back to Shelton in just under three hours.

Reed was also head of Simpson Timber, Mason County's largest employer. Logging and milling had been an important part of Shelton's growth and development, and with Reed's help the city rose from the ashes and continued to prosper for years to come.

Nothin' But Love Babe, Eight Days A Week

Come Together: The first Christian religious service in Seattle occurred on August 22, 1852, when visiting Bishop Modeste Demers held a Catholic Mass, supposedly in Henry Yesler's sawmill cookhouse. Although many Native Americans, including Chief Seattle, had been baptized by Catholic missionaries, most (if not all) of Seattle's first settlers were Protestant. Methodist missionaries David and Catharine Blaine arrived in Seattle in 1853 and in 1855 they built the town's first church.

Fixing a Hole: Captain George Pickett -- who later achieved fame as a Confederate general in the Civil War's Battle of Gettysburg -- arrived in Whatcom County on August 26, 1856, to begin construction of Fort Bellingham. The fort wasn't there long, as pieces of it were moved to San Juan Island in response to the 1859 Pig War. This week also marks the anniversary of a visit by General William T. Sherman, who had fought for the North in the war and started a tour of Puget Sound on August 21, 1886.

Misery: The mining town of Franklin got its start in 1886, soon after coal production began in nearby Black Diamond. In 1891, the community was involved in a bitter struggle involving labor and race, but the town's saddest day came on August 24, 1894, when 37 miners died in a fire, still the worst mining disaster in King County history.

She's A Woman: August 26 marks the 94th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted America's women the right to vote. Washington women had achieved this a decade earlier -- but not without a long struggle dating back to the Territory's first legislature.

The Long and Winding Road: On August 26 and 27, 1931, a public celebration marking the completion of the 330-mile-long Olympic Loop Highway (U.S. 101) was held in Kalaloch. Six years later, on September 30, 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Port Angeles, then toured part of the loop. He signed the act creating Olympic National Park the following year.

Carry That Weight: On August 26, 1956, the Skagit River Bridge opened north of Mount Vernon. It made national news in 2013 when it collapsed after being hit by a truck. This week also marks the August 27, 1966, completion of the Astoria-Megler Bridge over the Columbia River, the longest continuous three-span through-truss bridge in the world.

A Hard Day's Night: On August 22, 1957, Yakima Valley native and Olympic boxing champion Pete Rademacher fought Floyd Patterson for the world heavyweight championship in Seattle's Sicks' Stadium. It was Rademacher's first professional bout, which made the title fight an unprecedented event in boxing history. Be sure to enjoy video of the match that is included with our essay.

With a Little Help from My Friends: On August 22, 1977, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company began a three-week residency presented by the Cornish School in Seattle. Cunningham, a Centralia native and former Cornish student, taught classes and debuted a new work, Inlets, designed by Morris Graves and with music by Cunningham's longtime collaborator, John Cage.


Quote of the Week

Q: "Did you see the Needle at all, Paul?"
PAUL: "Yeah. the Space Needle."
Q: "Did you go up?"
PAUL: "No, but I saw it."
GEORGE: "It looks better from the ground."
JOHN: "Don't like heights."

--Beatles press conference, Seattle, August 21, 1964


Image of the Week

On August 27, 1930, an important milestone was reached in Seattle City Light's Upper Skagit Hydroelectric Project with the dedication of Diablo Dam.

 
Today in Washington History      RSS Feed

Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle celebrates Octogenarian Day on August 27, 1909.

Fire destroys downtown Shelton on August 27, 1914.

Candy makers in Seattle strike on August 27, 1917.

Seattle City Light dedicates Diablo Dam, at the time world's highest, on August 27, 1930.

Oregon Highway Department completes Astoria-Megler Bridge over the Columbia River on August 27, 1966.

Seattle School Board prohibits disruptive behavior on August 27, 1969.

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Enumclaw, Washington, 1909

Avalanche kills 11 climbers as they ascend Mount Rainier on June 21, 1981.

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