When you’re a state that has as many rivers, lakes and other waterways as Washington, you need a lot of bridges.
In fact, according to the state Department of Transportation, WA has nearly 10,000 state and local bridges. Some of Washington’s earlier bridges are famous (or infamous): “Galloping Gertie,” which collapsed into the Tacoma Narrows in 1940, just months after opening; the replacement Narrows Bridge that still stands tall today; and the Lacey V. Murrow Floating Bridge across Lake Washington, the first concrete floating bridge in the world. Unfortunately, the Murrow Bridge sank in a storm during Thanksgiving weekend in 1990.
Our State Archives is celebrating its annual Archives Month in October by making Washington’s historic bridges this year’s theme.
“Bridges have played a crucial role in Washington history,” said State Archivist Steve Excell. “They helped settle different parts of our state and connect these parts so that we can travel quickly and easily over rivers that once would have required a boat ride. People take bridges for granted, but without them, we wouldn’t be able to move people and goods from place to place so quickly.
“Our State Archives has a great collection of photos of historic bridges, so it’s natural to make bridges this year’s Archives Month theme.”
Archives Month runs throughout October. The main State Archives in Olympia and the regional branches will feature open houses and special workshops on Saturday, Oct. 24:
State Archives/Southwest Regional Branch (Olympia):
• Open house, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 1129 Washington St. SE. Learn how to organize and maintain your personal electronic records, discover what sorts of records can help with your family history research, and see some amazing collections in the State Archives. State Archivist Steve Excell will be available to help visitors with family history research questions. Guided tours of the facility also will be given. For more information, call (360) 586-1492 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Northwest Regional Branch (Bellingham):
• Basics of historical research workshop, 9 a.m. to noon, Goltz-Murray Building, 808 – 25th St. The regional branch and Western Libraries Heritage Resources are offering a workshop for researchers, history aficionados and anyone else interested in exploring the past. You’ll get practical advice and learn basic steps for how to investigate a historical topic, whether it’s for a class assignment, community event, publication or article, or other personal research project. The program will outline a general approach to historical research, including how to get the most out of the library system, how to find and use archival collections, how to locate reliable online resources, and how to interpret information from unique and diverse research materials. The workshop is free, but registration is required. To register, e-mail Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu or call (360) 650-6621.
Puget Sound Regional Branch (Bellevue):
• Basics of Historical Research workshop, 9 a.m. to noon, Pritchard-Fleming Building, 3000 Landerholm Circle SE. The workshop is for teachers, students, beginning genealogists and others interested in exploring the past. It covers what primary sources are – and aren’t, historical sources and how to use them, how to use the library system, how to use archival collections, how to find and use reliable online resources, how to properly cite your sources and how to use information from different sources. Seating is limited, so people are asked to register soon at http://1.usa.gov/1K9SMD6. For more information, contact Mike Saunders at Puget Sound Regional Archives at email@example.com or (425) 564-3950.
Eastern Regional Branch/Digital Archives (Cheney):
• Open house, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 960 Washington St. Staff will host tours of the facility, document exhibits, give presentations on new records in the branch and show how to navigate the Digital Archives website. (509) 235-7500, ext. 100 or EABranchArchives@sos.wa.gov.
Central Regional Branch (Ellensburg):
• Open house, 9 a.m. to noon. Bledsoe and Washington Archives Building, 215 E 14th Ave. Visitors can acquire tips on using the State Archives for historical research and receive assistance in starting a research project and learn where to find information. Archives staff will later provide a “behind the scenes” tour of the branch’s collection areas not normally open for access. firstname.lastname@example.org or (509) 963-2136.
On Oct. 10 from 9 a.m. to noon in Stanwood, the Northwest Regional Branch is hosting a Basics of Historical Research workshop at the Floyd Norgaard Cultural Center, 27130 – 102nd Ave. NW. Seating is limited, so people are asked to register soon here. For more information, contact Janette Gomes at the Northwest Regional Archives at email@example.com or (360) 650-2813.
The State Archives has a great-looking free poster to commemorate Archives Month. It features several notable Washington bridges, including The poster (shown above) is available in the State Archives headquarters in Olympia, the front desk of our Executive Office at the Capitol and at all regional Archives branches in Bellevue, Bellingham, Cheney and Ellensburg, as well as several local historical societies, universities with archives/library collections, museums and heritage centers. Get your poster while supplies last! If you want to see the digital version of the new poster, just go here.
The poster was designed by Benjamin Helle, an employee at the State Archives.