September in Cascadian History

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September 1, 2005 – Cascadia Con, the 8th North American Science Fiction Convention, is held in SeaTac, Washington, at the Seattle Airport Hilton and Conference Center.
September 2, 1904 – After sailing west in his Nootka First Nation canoe, the Tilikum, from Victoria, B.C., John Claus Voss completes a three years, three month and 12 day voyage in England after traveling 65,000 km via Australia and New Zealand

September 3, 1929 – Construction begins on the St. Johns Bridge, a massive suspension bridge spanning the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon. Officially dedicated during the Rose Festival in 1931, it becomes, when finished, the longest suspension bridge west of Detroit, and sets several records; one of its piers, at a height of 163 feet, is the tallest reinforced concrete pier in the world at the time, while the underclearance above navigable water at the central span is 205 feet.

September 4, 1977 – The Golden Dragon Massacre takes place in San Francisco, Northern California. At 2:40 AM a longstanding feud between two rival Chinese gangs, the Joe Boys and Wah Ching comes to head when a failed assassination attempt by the Joe Boys at the Golden Dragon Restaurant leads to the deaths of five people, including two tourists, and injury to 11 people, none of whom are gang members. This event leads to the establishment of the San Francisco Police Department’s Asian Gang Task Force.

September 5, 2005 – Cascadia-Con, the 8th North American Science Fiction Convention, concludes with 1,785 visitors attending and The Heinlein Award presented to authors Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

September 6, 1891 – State Normal School, now called Central Washington University, opens in Ellensburg, Washington.

September 7, 1949 – The Big Four Inn, a well-known resort located in Snohomish County about 25 miles (40 Km) east of Granite Falls, Washington is destroyed in an early morning fire that consumes the block-long mountain lodge and its nearby annex. The remains of the inn’s large fireplace and the resort sidewalks are still visible at the site, which is now a Forest Service picnic area and trailhead for the popular trail to the ice caves at the foot of Big Four Mountain.

September 8, 1810 – Fur Trader, explorer, and cartographer David Thompson leaves Kootenay, BC to explore the Columbia River valley. His intended route of travel through Howse Pass is impeded by a band from the Piegan First Nation, and he alters his course north to the head of the Athabasca River and across the mountains to the Columbia.

September 9, 1942 – Long-range Japanese submarine I-25 launches a seaplane near the coast of southern Oregon. Its pilot, Nobuo Fujita, heads east toward Mt. Emily with the objective of dropping an incendiary bomb on the thick forest and cause a massive forest fire. The bomb is dropped near Brookings, but strikes a fir tree on its way down, creating several small fires scattered across a 50 to 75 foot circular area The unseasonably moist forest, combined with the quick response by a two man team which assumes the smoke is a result of lightning from a strong electrical storm the day before, prevents the fire from spreading.

September 10, 1853 – Apserkahar, leader of the Takelma First Nation, and former Oregon territorial Governor Joseph Lane meet near Lower Table Rock overlooking the north bank of Rogue River, across the river from the mouth of Bear Creek. They negotiate a peace treaty between representatives of the American government and the Takelma, Shasta, and Dakubetede Indians of the Rogue River valley, bringing a temporary respite to the ongoing conflict in southwestern Oregon between Native people and the ever-growing number of White settlers and miners.

September 11, 1852 – Washington’s first newspaper, the Columbian, begins publication in Olympia.

September 12, 1883 – The first St. Paul-Portland Northern Pacific train arrives in Portland via Oregon Railway and Navigation Company trackage down the Oregon side of the Columbia River from Wallula, Washington, forever ending the isolation of at least the northern portion of Eastern Oregon.

September 13, 1825 – Explorer and naturalist David Douglas returns to Fort Vancouver after a making the first recorded ascent of the Cascade Mountains above the Columbia River Gorge. When he described his climbs, Douglas did not give any name for the mountains, but by 1826 his journals identify them with the name of the rapids — the Cascade Mountains. Douglas may have been employing a term already used by other travelers, but his writings are the first recorded appearance of the name by which the range is known today.

September 14, 1910 – The Cobb Building, located on the northwest corner of 4th Avenue and University Street in Seattle, Washington, is dedicated. Designed as part of its master plan for the University of Washington’s “Metropolitan Tract,” managed at the time by the Metropolitan Building Company (succeeded in 1954 by Unico), it is the first building on the West Coast built specially to serve physicians and dentists. The Cobb is the third major building completed in a visionary yet practical scheme to establish a new “city within the city” on the former campus of the University of Washington, which abandoned its original 10-acre site for the northern shores of Portage Bay in 1895.

September 15, 1979 – Swedish supergroup Abba open their first North American tour in Vancouver, B.C.

September 16, 1918 – Explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson returns to Vancouver, BC from his Canadian Arctic Expedition, begun in 1913.

September 17, 1938 – The Oregon Pioneer, a gold covered statue called “the brawny woodsman” by Time magazine, is installed on top of the new capitol building in Salem, Oregon.

September 18, 2000 – Sound Transit inaugurates Sounder commuter rail service between Tacoma and Seattle, Washington, marking the rebirth of the previous Seattle-Tacoma interurban rail system which had lay dormant for 72 years. At precisely 6:20 a.m., the first Sound Transit “Sounder” commuter train departs Tacoma for Seattle’s King Street Station via the Kent Valley. The modern diesel train and its 335 passengers arrive on time 50 minutes later.

September 19, 1905 – During the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland, Oregon, famed young aeronaut Lincoln Beachey takes off from the expo in the airship City of Portland with a letter from Theodore Hardee, assistant to the president of the exposition, addressed to General Constant Williams, Post Commander, at Vancouver Barracks, nine miles away. Beachey takes the airship to 2000 feet and heads to Vancouver, Washington, landing in the Vancouver Barracks’ Pearson Field about forty minutes later. The successful flight marks the first use of Pearson Field as an airfield, the first aerial crossing of the Columbia River, a new airship endurance record at the time, and possibly the first delivery of mail by airship.

September 20, 1951 – A forest fire burns 33,000 acres and 32 buildings in Forks, on the Olympic Peninsula, as well as several lumber mills in the area. More than 1,000 residents are evacuated to the Naval Station at Quilayute and at the Coast Guard Station in Port Angeles as 500 firefighters manage to keep the flames from the rest of town.

September 21, 1992 – Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney joins BC Premier Mike Harcourt and First Nations in deal to set up the BC Treaty Commission, an independent facilitator for treaty negotiations amongst the governments of Canada, BC and First Nations in BC, to broker land claims and ‘fast track’ negotiations.

September 21, 1960 – A team lead by Dr. Albert Starr performs the first successful human mitral valve replacement surgery in Portland at the University of Oregon Medical School, now known as Oregon Health & Science University. 52 year old Philip Amundson of Spokane, Washington is the patient who receives that first “caged-ball” artificial valve, which had been developed by Starr and Lowell Edwards.

September 22, 1 – Coal miners from the Crow’s Nest Pass Coal Company strike in the towns of Fernie and Michel, BC, objecting to working with non-unionists.

September 23, 1904 – The Automobile Club of Seattle, predecessor of AAA Washington, is founded with 46 members plus officers as a social club for people with autos and automobile-related interests. This organization collaborates with Sam Hill’s Good Roads Association to improve and promote the construction of public highways, to promote association between automobile owners and vendors, and to study and promote legislation to curb dangerous and reckless driving.

September 24, 1827 – The Hudson Bay Company provides arms to the Talkotin First Nation to help them fiend off the stronger Chilkotins.

September 25, 1851 – Scouts from the Denny Party wagon train arrive in the future location of the city of Seattle.

September 26, 1907 – The first electrified streetcar line debuts in Eugene, Oregon, replacing the older mule-powered system. The first trip made is beyond the University of Oregon campus into Fairmount. Five years later Eugene would have had one of the best small-city streetcar systems in the country, boasting four trolley lines with eighteen miles of track connecting Blair, College Crest, Fairmount, and Springfield.

September 27, 1955 – Portland’s ambitious Civil Defense program initiates “Operation Green Light”, designed to evacuate all of Portland’s Downtown to the suburbs as fast a possible. When the signal is given, predetermined escaped routes would be lit by green traffic lights, with all other routes blocked with red lights. At 3:10 pm on Tuesday afternoon, the evacuation alarm sounds and 200,000 Portlanders in 90,000 automobiles completely evacuate the 1000 block area in the central business core in 34 minutes. Considered the largest experiment in evacuating such a densely populated center, the exercise is a resounding success.

September 28, 1924 – Two US Army pilots end their around-the-world flight from Seattle to Seattle, landing in Sand Point airfield after 57 stops.

September 29, 1997 – Members of the Makah First Nation join a delegation of nearly 100 citizens from the town of Mihama, Japan, in ceremonies commemorating the lives of three young Japanese sailors who ran aground in a crippled ship on the Olympic Peninsula in 1834. The shipwrecked sailors, the first Japanese known to have reached what is now Washington, were found by a group of Makah seal hunters. The commemoration is part of a week-long celebration of historic ties between Japan and the Pacific Coast.

September 30, 1960 – The mostly derelict third Chinatown of Nanaimo, BC, founded 52 years earlier by two Chinese entrepreneurs and 4000 shareholders from across Canada, burns down.


by Alex DeVeito