Monday, May 08, 2017

Historical Facts.

After the gold rush in Seattle, massive immigration came into Seattle. Seattle’s neighborhoods developed. New immigrants traveled into the city’s core. It had a Public Market too. Downtown extended into more locations. Streetcars provided transportation to new outlying neighborhoods. The vision of city engineer R. H. Thomson was to develop municipal utilities. Therefore, a massive effort existed to level the steep hills that rose south and north of the bustling city. A seawall had dirt from Denny Regrade formed a current waterfront. More soil from the Denny Regrade went to create the industrial Harbor Island at the mouth of the Duwamish River, which is south of Downtown. Seattle’s topography was transformed in other ways too beyond the Denny Regrade. The Jackson Regrade was already reshaped Pioneer Square and the International District. The 1911–1917 construction of the Lake Washington Ship Canal included two major "cuts" (the Montlake Cut and the Fremont Cut), four bascule bridges, and the Government Locks (now Hiram M. Chittenden Locks). The level of Lake Washington dropped; the Black River, which formerly ran out of the south end of the lake, dried up completely, and Seward Island became the Seward Peninsula, now the site of Seward Park. These actions didn’t exist with zoning. Land was used for a diversity of reasons and many economic classes were in those places. City planners also put in plans for parks and boulevards under a plan. This plan was organized by the Olmsted Firm. It created many parks and about 20 miles of boulevard, which linked most of the parks and greenbelts within city limits. The ambiance of Seattle today in part was originated from that project. Seattle transformed from a large wilderness in part to a major city.  The Seattle Symphony was founded in 1903 and while few, if any, other comparably important arts institutions were established. This was during a time where popular entertainments spread rapidly.  Vaudeville impresarios Alexander Pantages, John Considine, and John Cort (the last also involved in legitimate theater) were all based in Seattle during this era.

Seattle is a major seaport then and now. It depends on its waterfront for much of its economy. Before 1911, the seaport of Seattle was made up of jumble of private rail lines and docks. So, the progressive reformers helped to build a port owned and operated by the local government. The efficient new system allowed Seattle to expand after 1945 with the Sea-Tac airport. This allowed Seattle to be one of the first Pacific Coast ports to move to containerized shipping and thus expand business with Asia. Seattle continued to grow rapidly during the early 1900’s. It had its Alaska-Yukon Pacific Exposition of 1909 to celebrate its growth. Many people challenged the status quo too. The Labor left and the progressives wanted better government. They opposed the hegemony of the captains of industry. Rail baron James J. Hill, addressing Seattle business leaders in 1909, noted and regretted the change. "Where," he asked, "are the man who used to match your mountains...?" Religion was less of a force in Seattle than in eastern cities. Yet, the Protestant Social Gospel movement was strong. There was one national leader in the Rev. Mark A. Matthews (1867-1940) of Seattle's First Presbyterian Church. He was a tireless reformer who investigated red light districts and crime scenes, denouncing corrupt politicians businessmen and saloon keepers. With 10,000 members, his was the largest Presbyterian Church in the country, and he was selected the denomination's national moderator in 1912. He build a model church, with night schools, unemployment bureaus, a kindergarten, anti-tuberculosis clinics, and America's first church-owned radio station. Matthews was the most influential clergymen in the Pacific Northwest.

The era of WWI existed in Seattle too. In 1910, Seattle voters approved of a referendum. It wanted to create development for the city. Yet, the result of it was called the Bogue plan. It was never implemented. The unused plan had formed a grand civic center in Belltown and the Denny Regrade connected to the rest of the city by a rapid transit rail system (with a huge expansion of the park system). The park system was crowned by a total conversion of 4,000 acre (1,600 hectare) Mercer Island into parkland. Yet, the plan was defeated by an alliance of fiscal conservatives. They opposed the plan because of its grandiose nature. The populists opposed it since they viewed the plan as mainly benefiting the rich. Lumber and maritime industries grew in Seattle during the 1910’s. World War I increased Pacific maritime trade and a boom in shipbuilding developed. There was belligerency in the Atlantic Ocean. The war ended and economic output crashed. The reason was that the government stopped buying boats. Also, there were no new industries to pick up the slack. Seattle stopped being the place of explosive growth. Opportunities declined for two consecutive decades. After WWI, Washington State in its western areas was a hotbed of radical labor agitation. In 1918, there was a dispute over post-war lowering of waterfront wages. It spread into the Seattle General Strike. The Industrial Workers of the World played an important role in the strike. The Seattle mayor Ole Hanson became a big figure in the First Red Scare (which was about anti-Communist paranoia which violated the freedom of speech). Hanson made an unsuccessful attempt to ride that backlash to the White House in an unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination for the Presidential election of 1920. Seattle also focused on the arts. It became an arts center by the 1920’s. The Frye and Henry families put on public displays of the collections that would be the Frye Art Museum and the Henry Art Gallery. Australian painter Ambrose Patterson came into Seattle in 1919. Over the next decades, Mark Tobey, Morris Graves, Kenneth Callahan, Guy Irving Anderson, and Paul Horiuchi would establish themselves as nationally and internationally known artists. Bandleader Vic Meyers and others kept the speakeasies jumping through the Prohibition era, and by mid-century the thriving jazz scene in the city's Skid Road district would launch the careers of such luminaries as Ray Charles and Quincy Jones. In 1924, Seattle's Sand Point Airfield was the endpoint of the first aerial circumnavigation of the world. The historic flight helped convince Congress to develop Sand Point as a Naval Air Station. The Great Depression hit Seattle hard. One example is how Seattle issued 2,538 permits for housing construction in 1930, but only 361 in 1932. During the Maritime Strike of 1934, Smith Cove was nearly a battle zone; shippers were scared, to the point where Seattle lost most of its Asian trade to Los Angeles.

Western Expansion grew with technology. This technology included the following: the Santé Fe Trail, the Oregon Trial, the pony express, and the telegraph. The Santa Fe Trail was a transportation route during the 19th century. It connected Independence, Missouri with Santa Fe, New Mexico. Pedro Vial pioneered the route in 1792 and he was a French explorer. William Becknell promoted it in 1821. It was a very important route that carried many goods and services throughout the frontier west. It was a very vital highway. The railroad replaced the Santa Fe Trail by 1880. The trade center in Santa Fe carried trade into Mexico City. The route intersected Comanche land in the area called Comancheria. The Comanche wanted compensation for passage on the trail. It was another market for American traders. Comanche raided areas in America, New Mexico, and Mexico. Wagons readily traveled along the route. By the 1840's trail traffic along the Arkansas Valley was so heavy that bison herds could not reach important seasonal grazing land, contributing to their collapse which in turn hastened the decline of Comanche power in the region. The Santa Fe Trail was used as an invasion route of New Mexico during the Mexican American War in 1846. Americans exchanged manufactured good for the New Mexicans giving the Americans horses, mules, furs, and silver. Today, the road area of the Santa Fe is now remembered by the National Park Service as the Santa Fe National Historic Trial. The Oregon Trail was different in many ways than the Santa Fe Trail. Thousands of men, women, and children traveled along 2,000 in wagon trains at time during a six month journey on the Oregon Trail. Many people wanted to not travel across South America to go into the West Coast. So, the Oregon Trail was created in order to allow people to have easiest access to the Pacific Coast. The Oregon Trail started in Missouri. Many people carried farm supplies, weapons, animals, clothing, etc. The trail crossed through rivers, prairies, and mountains. It ended in Oregon and California.  By 1836, when the first migrant wagon train was organized in Independence, Missouri, a wagon trail had been cleared to Fort Hall, Idaho. Trails were cleared further and further west, eventually reaching all the way to the Willamette Valley in Oregon. This network of wagon trails leading to the Pacific Northwest was later called the Oregon Trail. The eastern half of the route was also used by travelers on the California Trail (from 1843), Mormon Trail (from 1847), and Bozeman Trail (from 1863) before they turned off to their separate destinations. In the "Wagon Train of 1843", some 700 to 1,000 emigrants headed for Oregon; missionary Marcus Whitman led the wagons on the last leg. In 1846, the Barlow Road was completed around Mount Hood, providing a rough but passable wagon trail from the Missouri River to the Willamette Valley: about 2,000 miles. People also used the Oregon Trail to travel eastward too. Many people had to deal with the dangers of snakebites, wagon accidents, violence from other travelers, etc. Some had to deal with attacks from Native Americans. Some had diseases like dysentery, typhoid, and cholera. Avalanches happened too. The Donner Party had over 40 people dying of starvation during the winter of 1846-1847.

The pony express existed very powerfully in the world. The federal government gave subsidies for the development of mail and freight delivery. By 1856, Congress authorized road improvements and an overland mail service to California. So, new commercial wagon trains service existed to haul mostly freight. In 1858, John Butterfield (1801–69) established a stage service that went from Saint Louis to San Francisco in 24 days along a southern route. This route was abandoned in 1861 after Texas joined the Confederacy, in favor of stagecoach services established via Fort Laramie and Salt Lake City, a 24-day journey, with Wells Fargo & Co. as the foremost provider (initially using the old "Butterfield" name). William Russell, hoping to get a government contract for more rapid mail delivery service, started the Pony Express in 1860, cutting delivery time to ten days. He set up over 150 stations about 15 miles (24 km) apart. In 1861 Congress passed the Land-Grant Telegraph Act which financed the construction of Western Union's transcontinental telegraph lines. Hiram Sibley, Western Union's head, negotiated exclusive agreements with railroads to run telegraph lines along their right-of-way. Eight years before the transcontinental railroad opened, the First Transcontinental Telegraph linked Omaha, Nebraska and San Francisco (and points in-between) on October 24, 1861. The Pony Express ended in just 18 months because it could not compete with the telegraph.

By Timothy

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