This Month in Cascadian History – June

By Alex DeVeiteo
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June 1, 1909 – Opening day of the Alaska–Yukon–Pacific Exposition, a world’s fair held in Seattle (on the site now occupied by the University of Washington), publicizing the development of the Pacific Northwest. 80,000 people attend. The day is declared a city holiday.

June 2, 1979 – Members of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz adopt a tribal constitution.

June 3, 1889 – The first long-distance electric power transmission line in North America is completed, helping to make electricity more affordable and available. The line runs 14 miles between a generator at Willamette Falls and downtown Portland, Oregon.

June 4, 1792 – George Vancouver explores and claims Puget Sound for Great Britain, naming it for one of his officers, Lieutenant Peter Puget.

June 5, 1940 – The Lake Washington Floating Bridge (now known as the Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge) opens, connecting Seattle with Mercer Island and the Eastside. A toll bridge until 1946, the Lake Washington Floating Bridge is the first floating bridge longer than a mile, and at the time is the longest floating structure in the world. It is now the second longest floating bridge in the world.

June 6, 1889 – The early Seattle era comes to a stunning halt with the Great Seattle Fire, which burns the majority of 32 city blocks, including the entire business district, four of the city’s wharves, its railroad terminals, and destroys most of the central business district. Total losses are estimated at nearly $20,000,000. Despite the massive destruction of property, only one person is killed by the fire, a young boy named James Goin.

The city quickly rebuilds from the ashes, thanks in part to credit arranged by banker and entrepreneur Jacob Furth, as well as brothel owner Lou Graham.

A new zoning code results in a downtown of brick and stone buildings, rather than wood. In the single year after the fire, the city grows in size from 25,000 to 40,000 inhabitants.

June 7, 1866 – Chief Si’ahl dies on the Suquamish reservation at Port Madison, Washington. One of Seattle’s founders, Arthur Armstrong Denny, later sets up a monument over his grave, with the inscription “SEATTLE Chief of the Suqampsh and Allied Tribes, Died June 7, 1866. The Firm Friend of the Whites, and for Him the City of Seattle was Named by Its Founders”.

June 8, 1977 – Vancouver Harbour Centre skyscraper officially opens in the central business district of Downtown Vancouver, British Columbia. At 481 feet (146.6 m) it is the tallest building in Vancouver at the time, and remains a prominent landmark and major tourist attraction to the present.

June 9, 1934 – Frustrated that shipping subsidies from the government were leading to larger profits for the shipping companies that weren’t passed down to the workers, approximately 1,400 members of the International Longshoremen’s Association participate in the West Coast waterfront strike in Portland, Oregon. Demanding recognition of the union, wage increases, a six-hour workday and 30-hour work week, the ILA moves to shut down shipping in every port along the West Coast

June 10, 1976 – British-American rock group Paul McCartney & Wings holds a concert at the Kingdome in Seattle, Washington. The Seattle concert is the centerpiece of the Wings Over America Tour, which is the first time McCartney has toured North America since The Beatles stopped touring in 1966.

June 11, 1976 – The United Nations Habitat conference on human settlements ends in Vancouver, BC.

June 12, 1853 – Prospector John Wesley Hillman becomes the first person of European descent to see what he names “Deep Blue Lake” in Oregon. The lake is renamed at least three times, first as Blue Lake, then Lake Majesty, and finally Crater Lake.

June 13, 1886 – The Great Vancouver Fire razes most of the newly incorporated city of Vancouver, B.C. Dozens of lives are claimed by the fire; the only structures not destroyed are a stone building in the West End, the Hastings Mill Store, and a few structures on the banks of False Creek. An estimated $1.3 million is lost in destroyed property, but within four days the city begins to rebuild with modern water, electricity and streetcar systems. The Vancouver Fire Department and Police Department are established a year later.

June 14, 1792 – Spanish explorers Dionisio Alcalá Galiano and Cayetano Valdés enter and anchor in the north arm of the Fraser River, becoming the first Europeans to find and enter it. The existence of the river, but not its location, had been deduced during the 1791 voyage of José María Narváez, under Francisco de Eliza.

June 15, 1859 – Ambiguity in the Oregon Treaty leads to the “Northwestern Boundary Dispute” between U.S. and British/Canadian settlers. The most notable incident in the dispute occurs on San Juan Island, where an American farmer shoots and kills a pig belonging to a Hudson’s Bay Company rancher.

When offers of compensation are denied, and threats of imprisonment are made against the American farmer, American settlers call for military protection. This seemingly trivial event would lead to a five month long military escalation between the United States and Great Britain in the event known as “The Pig War”.

June 16, 1953 – The Newspaper Guild strikes at The Seattle Times, shutting down the paper for 94 days.

June 17, 1877 – The Nez Perce defeat the U.S. Cavalry at the Battle of White Bird Canyon in the Idaho Territory, southwest of the present-day city of Grangeville. The battle marks the beginning of the war between the Nez Perce First Nation and the United States.

June 18, 1999 – A ‘Reclaim the Streets’ event, in Eugene, Oregon escalates into a free-form parade in which protesters block downtown streets, while others smash the windows of a furniture store, a bank and a hotel before the protest peters out. When police begin to make arrests, knots of angry protesters re-form. The police fire tear gas canisters to disperse the crowds, while a few activists respond by hurling back rocks and bottles.

June 19, 1910 – The first celebration of Father’s Day in North America is held in Spokane, Washington, leading to the modern holiday.

June 20, 1942 – Long-range Japanese submarine I-26 shells the lighthouse at Estevan Point on Vancouver Island and I-25 torpedoes and shells the freighter S.S. Fort Camosun off Cape Flattery. The freighter does not sink, and rescuers tow it to safety in Neah Bay.

June 21, 1942 – Long-range Japanese submarine I-25 comes in close to the coast through a fishing fleet to avoid minefields off the Columbia River and takes up position near Fort Stevens. Believing the fort to be a submarine base, Japanese Commander Meiji Tagami orders the submarine’s 5.5 inch deck gun to begin shelling the shore. Despite causing no significant damage, the attack raises fears of future strikes.

June 22, 1807 – Fur trader, surveyor, and map-maker David Thompson (known to some native peoples as “Koo-Koo-Sint” or “the Stargazer”) reaches Howse Pass, BC with his wife and family. They find a small tributary of the Columbia River, now called Blaeberry River, and name one of the uppermost major tributaries the Kootenay River.

June 23, 1975 – During his “Welcome to My Nightmare” tour, shock rocker Alice Cooper trips and falls head first off the stage and onto the concrete floor of the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, BC, breaking 6 ribs and requiring stitches for a head wound.

June 24, 1935 – Composer and performing musician Terrence Mitchell Riley is born in Colfax, California. A pioneer of the minimalist school of Western classical music, Mitchell’s work is deeply influenced by both jazz and Indian classical music.

June 25, 1968 – Len Marchand of the Okanagan First Nation makes history as the first person of First Nations ethnicity to serve in the federal cabinet, as well as the first to serve as a Member of Parliament in British Columbia.

June 26, 1943 – The cornerstone is laid for the HMCS Discovery, a Navy Reserve division and shore facility in Vancouver, British Columbia. During World War II it is used for recruitment and training almost 8,000 personnel. After the war, it serves as headquarters for several Reserve and Cadet units.

June 27, 1907 – Radio, stage, film, and television character actor John McIntire is born in Spokane, Washington. His career spans 65 movies, including the film noir classic “The Asphalt Jungle” and the Hitchcock thriller “Psycho”.

June 28, 1971 – The Georgia Viaduct opens in a ceremony presided over by Vancouver mayor Tom Campbell. Its Dunsmuir twin, to the north, opens in November of the same year.

June 29, 1850 – Coal is discovered near Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. It proves valuable for refueling Royal Navy ships and Canadian Pacific Railway trains.

June 30, 1976 – British Columbia Court of Appeal rules that the province owns the seabed mineral resources between Vancouver Island and the mainland, rejecting federal claims.