This Week in Cascadia: April 8-14 is a weekly segment. You can view all Weeks in Cascadia history from its main page here.
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April 8, 1997 – The Tacoma City Councitl votes to build the Click! Network and offer cable television and telecommunications services using fiber-optic cable. The move places the City in competition with privately owned cable companies such as TCI and makes Tacoma the largest city to build and run its own cable system. After two years,
600 miles of cable would be installed and 11,000 Tacoma residents would be subscribed to Click! Network cable television.
April 9, 1910 – Portland native John Conner Burkhart makes the first of five successful flights of an all-Oregon-built airplane at Goltra field in Albany, Oregon. On every test the biplane rose perfectly and covered from 100 to 220 yards each trial until Burkhart brought it to earth, alighting easily without a jar. Built by John C. Burkhart and W.C. Crawford during the winter of 1909 and 1910 and had been exhibited at an automobile show at the Portland Armory that same year. A great article from Off Beat Oregon about the “Scholarly Aviator” can be seen here.
April 10, 1865 – The 1st Oregon Volunteer Infantry leaves Fort Hoskins at the end of the American Civil War, and the fort is decommissioned and sold. Fort Hoskins was established by the U.S. Army in 1856 near the Luckiamute River in the Coast Range northwest of Corvallis to monitor the Coastal (Siletz) Reservation. When the Civil War began, troops serving at Fort Hoskins headed east, and the Oregon Volunteers took their place.
April 11, 1918 – U.S. Representative George Francis O’Shaunessy, a Democratic Congressman from Rhode Island, introduced a bill to the House of Representatives proposing that the U.S. Treasury begin minting a 15-cent coin. The inspiration for the bill, which was purported to have considerable public and political support, is generally credited to Seattle motion picture exhibitor John G. von Herberg. At the time, 15 cents is the average price of a movie ticket nationwide. Von Herberg, whose Seattle picture houses included the Liberty Theatre on 1st Avenue and the Coliseum Theatre at 5th Avenue and Pike Street, appears to have first proposed the new coin a year earlier, in 1917. Although von Herberg probably made the proposal in jest, a groundswell of support appears to have developed for the idea. “The necessity for a coin to replace the inconvenient nickel and dime” was being felt throughout the country, reported the Seattle Daily Times. While John G. von Herberg did not actively promoted the new coin, he was shrewd enough to reap the obvious publicity benefits after the bill had been introduced in the House. Ultimately, representative O’Shaugnessy’s proposal for a 15-cent coin went nowhere, and died a quick death in the House of Representatives. For great old photos and historical information about the about the Coliseum Theater (now a Banana Republic store) in Seattle from CinemaTreasures.com. Click here.
April 12, 1951 – Lieutenant John W. Hodgkin, age 42, a pilot stationed at McChord Air Force Base, flies his ski-equipped Piper J-3 Cub from Spanaway Air Strip to the top of Mount Rainier (14,410 feet), establishing a new world record for a high-altitude landing. However, when Hodgkin prepares to leave, the engine will not start in the rarefied air and he is forced to spend the night on top of the mountain, huddled in the Cub’s cockpit. The next morning, Hodgkin will push his airplane down the snow-covered face of Nisqually Glacier, glide, without power, to frozen Mowich Lake, at the 5,000-foot level, and land safely on the ice. With the help of a National Park Service ranger and 20 gallons of gasoline, dropped from an Air Force rescue plane, Hodgkin will take off again and return safely to Spanaway, where he will be charged in federal court with landing a private aircraft in a national park without permission and be fined $350. Hodgkin, whose escapade captures newspaper headlines for four days, tells reporters he undertook the flight to demonstrate the feasibility and usefulness of using light aircraft for high altitude rescue work and mountain warfare. HistoryLink covers the story with great historic images of the Nisqually glacier. Click here to read more.
April 13, 1949 – At 11:55 a.m., a 7.1 magnitude earthquake occurs in Western Washington centered between Olympia and Tacoma, marking the largest earthquake in Puget Sound since non-First Nations people started to immigrate and settle along its shores. Eight people were killed and dozens received serious injuries. The ground shook for about 30 seconds and was felt over a 230,000-square-mile area. The earthquake affected all of Washington state, northwest Oregon and south along its coast to Cape Blanco, southwest British Columbia, north Idaho panhandle, and even northwest Montana.
April 14, 2005 – The Oregon Supreme Court decides Li & Kennedy vs. State of Oregon, nullifying marriage licenses issued to gay couples a year earlier by Multnomah County, ruling that the county lacked the authority to remedy a perceived violation of the Oregon Constitution and that all marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples were void when issued. The court noted that the Oregon Constitution had since been amended to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples and it therefore declined to rule as to whether or not same-sex couples had any rights under the Equal Privileges and Immunities clause of the Oregon Constitution. The University of Washington published a wonderful timeline of LGBTQ history nationally and regionally. Access it here. The article includes a notable location for both the LGBTQ community and Cascadia movement, the old Double Header Bar in Pioneer Square, Seattle. The institution, datign from 1934, is the longest continuously operating LGBTQ Bar in the Americas and also served as the location of the first meeting of the Yes Cascadia Organization. Now called Nightjar, click below for current programming at this heritage filled location.
April 15, 1924 – A fire of undetermined origin starts in the basement of the Grand Theatre in Centralia, Washington. The Centralia fire department responded within minutes and, after a short battle, brought the flames under control. Although the blaze caused an estimated $10,000 in damage before it’s extinguished, quite a hit to a small rural theatre, most of it was confined to the basement and stairway at the rear of the building, leaving the lobby and auditorium relatively unscathed and the Grand is able to reopen just four days later.