This Month in Cascadian History – October
October 1, 1940 – Claude P. Dettloff takes the famous “Wait For Me, Daddy” picture while photographing the British Columbia Regiment marching down Eighth Street at the Columbia Avenue intersection, New Westminster, British Columbia. While Dettloff is taking the photo, a young boy, Warren “Whitey” Bernard, runs away from his mother to his father, Private Jack Bernard. The picture receives extensive exposure and is used in war-bond drives.
October 2, 1982 – The infamous post-modern Portland Building, designed by architect Michael Graves is dedicated by Mayor Frank Ivancie, who calls the $24.5 million, 15-story structure “a bright star on our beautiful city’s skyline.” Portland residents and officials gather on Southwest Fifth Avenue Saturday to dedicate the colorful new office building. A cluster of cream-colored weather balloons carrying a ribbon-bedecked wreath are released, and the Grant High School Royal Blues and the Portland Civic Band play the debut performance of “Portlandia,” a Steven Smith composition written as a tribute to the new building.
October 3, 2005 – A fire destroys the replica Fort Clatsop which had been constructed for the sesquicentennial in 1955. In spite of the tragedy, the fire renews archaeological interest in the site, as excavations had not been possible while the replica was standing.
October 4, 1966 – The State Highway Department officially opens the lower, westbound, deck of the Marquam Bridge to traffic, ending many frustrating months of delay for bridge builders after a right-of-way dispute had tied up the structure’s eastside work for more than a year. The top deck will be opened 14 days later. Today, the $20 million bridge is still the city’s largest; at the time, it was the only double-deck structure spanning the Willamette River anywhere in Oregon.
October 5, 1855 – The Battle of Toppenish Creek marks the first engagement of the Yakima War in Washington. A company of American soldiers commanded by Major Granville O. Haller is attacked by a band from the Yamama First Nation, under Chief Kamiakin, in Yakima Valley, several miles northwest of Fort Walla Walla, along Toppenish Creek. The American forces are driven back in retreat, marking a major victory for the First Nations.
October 6, 1905 – Prominent pioneer woman and Oregon’s mother of equal suffrage, Abigail Scott Duniway, who for years had been an advocate of women’s right to vote in the Pacific Northwest, is honored at the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition with a day named in her honor.
October 7, 1930 – The Marine Building, the building still most clearly identified with Vancouver, BC, opens for tenants.
October 8, 1891– The Westminster and Vancouver Tramway Co. car #13 makes the inaugural run on what is widely recognized as North America’s first true interurban railway.
October 9, 2009 – A standby generator on the MV Spirit of Vancouver Island, an S-class ferry, catches fire on an early morning sailing out of the Swartz Bay Terminal on Vancouver Island. No one is injured; however, the incident causes massive delays in the ferry system because of the already large volume of traffic for Thanksgiving weekend. Eight sailings are cancelled the day of the fire, and the ship remains out of service for the entire weekend.
October 10, 1805 – The Lewis and Clark expedition, under direction from President Thomas Jefferson, enters Cascadia. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark are surprised by the differences in the First Nations in the Pacific Northwest from those they had encountered earlier in the expedition, noting in particular the increased status of women among both coastal and plateau tribes. Lewis hypothesizes that the equality of women and the elderly with men was linked to more evenly distributed economic roles, but neither Lewis nor Clark have any significant contact with Native women, an omission that is reflected in their travel journals.
October 11, 1923 – The Last Great Train Robbery in the West occurrs when brothers Ray, Roy, and Hugh De Autremont attempt to rob a Southern Pacific train they believe carries a half-million dollars in gold. The three had been working as lumberjacks in Silverton, Oregon when they decided to see if crime would pay better. They climb aboard the southbound passenger train as it slows down at a tunnel on the Siskiyou Pass. It is at this point that things begin to deteriorate; the train is not carrying as much gold as they had believed, and the brothers ultimately flee the scene empty-handed, leaving behind a number of incriminating clues, unwittingly murdering the engineer, brakeman, and fireman and blowing up the mail car when they get a little too enthusiastic with the dynamite. They are quickly named as suspects and a manhunt ensues, lasting four years until all three brothers are finally captured, found guilty, and sentenced to life in prison.
October 12, 1953 – Typhoon Frieda wreaks enormous damage in Greater Vancouver, with gusts reaching 78 mph (125 kph) at the Sea Island Weather Station. Windows of downtown department stores are shattered, and 3,000 trees blow down in Stanley Park. A woman is killed when a falling tree crushes her car.
October 13, 1981 – The Port of Tacoma opens the North Intermodal Yard, the first dockside intermodal rail yard on the West Coast. Situated on the main port peninsula between Terminal 7 on the Sitcum Waterway and Terminal 4 on the Blair Waterway in Washington, the North Intermodal Yard offers an efficient connecting point between sea, road and rail. The new facility soon elevates the Port of Tacoma to the status of a major West Coast port.
October 14, 1968 – George Norris’ famous Crab fountain sculpture is installed in front of the Planetarium and Centennial Museum in Vanier Park in Vancouver, BC. The striking stainless-steel sculpture recalls a local native legend that the crab guards the entrance to the harbor.
October 15, 1927 – Baker Herman Loevenstein and three assistants in Yakima, Washington create and bake a one-ton apple pie to generate publicity for Yakima during National Apple Week.
October 16, 1909 – Closing day of the Alaska–Yukon–Pacific Exposition, a world’s fair held in Seattle, publicizing the development of the Pacific Northwest. Since opening day in June, over 3,700,000 had visited. The fairgrounds become the campus of the University of Washington, with the Drumheller Fountain becoming one of the last known remnants from the fair.
October 17, 1914 – A gang of armed bandits robs the First National Bank in Sedro-Woolley, Washington on a Saturday evening, firing more than 100 rounds in a 15-minute barrage designed to intimidate the town’s citizens and small police force. After shooting up the town, the bandits quickly withdraw and escape into the darkness without leaving a trace, absconding with $11,649 in gold coins and currency. The men are later spotted in Ferndale, heading north toward the British Columbian border. Officers eventually track down the fugitives, killing two before the third escapes into obscurity.
October 18, 1928 – The motion picture “Mother Knows Best” premiers at the Capitol Theatre in Vancouver, BC. It marks the city’s first exposure to sound in the movies.
October 19, 1873 – At about 4 o’clock p.m., Mount Rainier erupts, pouring clouds of smoke from the highest peak. People continue observing the outpouring of smoke until clouds obscure the mountain near nightfall. It is unknown how long the volcanic eruption lasts, since the following day the entire mountain is hidden in clouds.
October 20, 1920 – Prohibition ends in British Columbia, three years and 19 days after it began.
October 21, 1962 – The Century 21 Exposition (better known as the Seattle World’s Fair) concludes. Nearly ten million people attended the fair. Unlike some other World’s Fairs of its era, Century 21 ran a profit. As planned, the exposition leaves behind a fairground and numerous public buildings and public works, and is credited with revitalizing Seattle’s economic and cultural life.
October 22, 1984 – Five month-long principal photography begins on the Stephen Spielberg film The Goonies. The majority of the movie is filmed around Clatsop County, Oregon, including Astoria, Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock Beach, and Ecola State Park.
After its release, the film achieves cult status; today, it continues to draw many visitors to Astoria just to see its locations.
October 23, 1813 – The Pacific Fur Company trading post in Astoria, Oregon is turned over to the rival British North West Company, which will dominate the fur trade in the Pacific Northwest for the next three decades.
October 24, 1968 – Grant McConachie Way, the road leading to Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, BC, opens to traffic. The road is named for the famed bush pilot and CP Air founder.
October 25, 1918 – The worst disaster in BC coastal history occurs with the sinking of the Canadian Pacific ship Princess Sophia. Stranded on a reef in a severe snowstorm off the Alaskan coast, every berth occupied, the crowded luxury coastal steamer was thought to be safe, anchored firmly. Somehow, the Sophia slips off the reef during the night and sinks. All 343 people aboard, including 63 crew members, are lost. Writers Betty O’Keefe and Ian Macdonald later write Final Voyage of the Princess Sophia: Did They All Have to Die? about the tragedy.
October 26, 1968 – 50-year-old adventurer Roy Bergo sets out on an attempt to travel 1,200 miles from Edmonds, Washington, to Alaska in a children’s bathtub equipped with two stovepipes as outriggers and a 2-horsepower outboard motor. The tub is stuffed with a seat cushion, a jug of extra gas, a tarp, a rain jacket, an oar, and other items essential for ocean travel. Bergo’s plan is to travel by day and camp ashore each evening. After the first day of his journey, Bergo has traveled 12 miles to Double Bluff on Whidbey Island, just past Useless Bay, where he makes camp for the evening. The next morning, the outboard motor gives out 15 minutes into the second leg of his trip. Unable to repair it, Bergo admits defeat and is picked up by the Coast Guard.
October 27, 1979 – After 67 years, the last scheduled passenger train departs from the CPR station at the foot of Granville Street in Vancouver, BC.
October 28, 1955 – William Henry “Bill” Gates III, business magnate, investor, philanthropist, author, CEO and chairman of Microsoft, is born in Seattle, Washington.
October 29, 1792 – Mount Hood in Oregon is named after the British naval officer Alexander Arthur Hood by Lt. William E. Broughton, who spots the mountain near the mouth of the Willamette River.
October 30, 2000 – The Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Act is signed, establishing the Steens Mountain Wilderness and adding nearly 175,000 acres to Oregon’s inventory of protected wilderness lands.
October 31, 1902 – The Vancouver Board of Trade marks the completion of the Pacific Cable system, and Stanford Fleming sends the first message from Vancouver to Brisbane, Australia.
By Alex Deveiteo