This Month in Cascadian History – July

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By Alex DeVeito


July 1, 1908 – The Oregon National Forest is created by merging the Bull Run Forest Reserve and part of the Cascade National Forest. Sixteen years later, it will be renamed the Mount Hood National Forest.

July 2, 1968 – Work on the Roberts Bank Superport begins when two dredges drop their buckets into the muddy waters of the Georgia Strait in Tsawwassen, British Columbia.

July 3, 1906 – Chief Capilano of the Squamish First Nation travels to London to meet King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. Capilano, accompanied by Cowichan and Secwepemc chiefs, presents a petition to the King concerning aboriginal land rights.

July 4, 1935 – Angus L. Bowmer arranges the first performances of what will become the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon. The festival grows steadily during the 20th century, and becomes an award-winning and internationally-known regional theater company.

July 5, 1843 – The “committee of nine” meets in Oregon City and ratifies a pseudo-constitution known as the Organic Laws of Oregon.  This document creates a civil government and authorizes a provisional legislature in Oregon Country, as well as committees on land claims, appropriations, military, the judiciary, and districting.

July 6, 1927 Comedian and satirist Patrick Layton “Pat” Paulsen is born in South Bend, Washington. Paulsen will become notable for his roles in several of the Smothers Brothers TV shows, and for his several (primarily comedic) campaigns for President of the United States from the 1960s through 1990s.

July 7, 1970 The exhibition “Japanese American Pride and Shame” opens in Seattle, Washington at MOHAI (Museum of History and Industry). The exhibit includes photographs and artifacts that tell a compressed history of Japanese-Americans in the Pacific Northwest. Viewed by more than 34,000 people, it marks the beginning of a shift in consciousness in the Japanese community and in other communities, toward pride in Japanese heritage and toward the idea of redress for the unjust imprisonment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

July 8, 1879 – The sailing ship USS Jeannette (formally the HMS Pandora) departs San Francisco carrying an ill-fated expedition to the North Pole through the Bering Strait. The ship is caught in the polar ice pack and crushed; some crew members manage to hike across the ice to Siberia.

July 9, 1811 – During his voyage down the entire length of the Columbia River, North West Company explorer David Thompson camps at the junction with the Snake River, erecting a pole and a notice claiming the country for the United Kingdom and stating the intention of the North West Company to build a trading post at the site.

July 10, 1905 – Construction starts on the first buildings at Colony Farm, the agricultural arm of the Coquitlam Mental Hospital (now Riverview Hospital) which will become renowned for the quality of its produce and livestock.

July 11, 1963 – Actress and television host Lisa Deanna Rinna is born in Medford, Oregon. She will become known for her roles as Billie Reed on “Days of our Lives”, Taylor McBride on “Melrose Place”, and later as the host of SoapNet’s “Soap Talk”.

July 13, 2002 – The Biscuit Fire, one of the largest forest fires in Oregon history, is started when a series of lightning strikes ignite several fires in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. Within a month, the fires coalesce into a single huge fire which ultimately burns nearly a half-million acres. Over 7000 fire fighters are called in to battle the conflagration, which is finally declared extinguished six months later

July 14, 1873 – The Northern Pacific Railway announces that they will choose the then-village of Tacoma over Seattle as the Western terminus of their transcontinental railroad, gambling that they can gain an advantage by being able to buy up the land around their terminus cheaply instead of bringing the railroad into a more established Pacific port town.

July 15, 1774 – Spanish explorer Juan Jose Perez Hernandez, the first European to sight, examine, name, and record the islands near present-day British Columbia, sights the Haida Gwaii archipelago.

July 16, 2009 – The 12 cyclists who set off from Santa Rosa, California on a 1000-mile bike ride to Seattle, Washington to support those with the disease Histiocytosis end their trip at the Drumheller Fountain, in the center of Frosh Pond on the campus of the University of Washington.

July 17, 1897 – The steamer S.S. Portland arrives at Schwabacher’s Wharf in Seattle, Washington loaded with gold. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer scoops all other U.S. newspapers with the story that a “ton of gold” had arrived from Alaska, igniting the Klondike Gold Rush. A publicity campaign engineered largely by journalist and art museum curator Erastus Brainerd convinces the world that Seattle is the place to outfit oneself for the journey to Alaska; in 24 hours, Seattle becomes a household name. Business generated by supplying prospectors brings great gains in wealth and population to the city.

July 18, 1913 – Race riots break out in Vancouver, B.C., as some locals react against increasing Sikh immigration.

July 19, 1997 – The last annual sand castle competition is held in Parksville, Vancouver Island. What begins as drunken revelry soon turns into a mass riot, ultimately costing the town its peaceful image and the community its annual festival.

July 20, 1990 – Seattle hosts the second Goodwill Games, an alternative international multi-sport event to the Summer Olympics, which media mogul Ted Turner thinks has fallen hostage to politics. The Seattle Goodwill Games open with 2,300 athletes from 54 countries competing in 21 sports. During the Games, a large purpose-built gold medal is hung around the structure of the Space Needle.

July 21, 1793 – Explorer Alexander Mackenzie arrives at the head of Dean Channel on the Pacific after descending the Bella Coola River in British Columbia.

July 22, 1931 – The Vancouver Airport and Seaplane Harbour opens, drawing a crowd of 55,000 people for the four-day opening ceremonies.

July 23, 1914 – The Canadian government, on behest of the Conservative party, forces the Japanese freighter Komagata Maru to leave the harbor of Vancouver, B.C. with its cargo of 376 passengers, mostly Sikhs, refusing their immigration.

July 24, 1899 – Geswanouth Slahoot (better known as Chief Dan George) is born in North Vancouver, B.C. to the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, a Coast Salish band located on Burrard Inlet. In addition to his role as chief, Slahoot is also an author, an Academy Award-nominated actor, and poet. One of his poems, “My Heart Soars” will be read during the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

July 25, 1850 – Gold is discovered on the Rogue River in Oregon.

July 26, 1928 – Boeing Field opens near Seattle, Washington. Until Seattle-Tacoma International Airport begins operations in 1947, Boeing Field will be Seattle’s main passenger airport

July 27, 1991 – Shortly after a concert by rap star MC Hammer, 20 teenagers begin throwing rocks at a traffic cop. The confrontation gradually turns into a 2,000 person riot which smashes and loots downtown stores and wrecks tourist establishments along the beach of the resort community of Penticton, B.C. The riot ended later that night with 90 jailed, 60 treated for injuries.

July 28, 1996 – While attending hydroplane races on the Columbia River near Kennewick, Washington, spectators Will Thomas and David Deacy accidentally discover the skeletal remains of a prehistoric man. Dubbed “Kennewick Man”, the remains, a nearly complete 5600-plus-year-old skeleton with a fully intact cranium, are among the most complete ancient remains ever found.

July 29, 1938 – Ivar Haglund opens a fish-and-chips stand at Pier 54 on the Seattle waterfront. The stand will expand into Ivar’s Acres of Clams and create an empire of seafood eateries throughout Cascadia.

July 30, 1967 – A wacky scheme by mayor Frank Ney of Nanaimo, Vancouver Island conceived to showcase the city to the world culminates in the first “Nanaimo to Vancouver Great International World Championship Bathtub Race”, with 212 powered bathtub boats entered in the race from Nanaimo to Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach.


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