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Category: Washington history

Remembering Governor Spellman

Remembering Governor Spellman

The Jan. 16 death of former Gov. John D. Spellman at 91 prompted personal reminiscences from several staffers in the Office of the Secretary of State who knew Spellman during and after his 1981-85 time in state office. State Archivist Steve Excell, who served as Gov. Spellman’s chief of staff, said in a television interview with KING-5 that Spellman had changed his life, as well as those of countless Washingtonians. “He was a true statesman,” Excell said. “He was a…

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Descendants of `last signer’ view state constitution

Descendants of `last signer’ view state constitution

Like they say, it’s better late than never. Even if it’s 42 years late. James A. Hungate would have agreed. A Democrat and farmer from Pullman, Hungate was a delegate to the 1889 Constitutional Convention in Olympia. But Hungate had to leave for home before the new state constitution was ready for him to sign. “The constitution was almost ready for signature,” Hungate recalled in a 1931 interview with the Spokesman-Review, “when I received a letter from Mrs. Hungate telling…

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WA Archives: First Dan Evans scrapbook has been digitized!

WA Archives: First Dan Evans scrapbook has been digitized!

As we shared in March, the Washington State Archives received a historical bonanza in the form of 40 scrapbooks covering the long career of iconic Washington statesman Dan Evans. The scrapbooks cover a political career starting when Evans was a state representative from Seattle in the 1950s and early ‘60s, followed by his 12 years as governor from 1965 to 1977, and capped by his five-plus years as a U.S. senator in the 1980s. A crew at the Archives’ Olympia…

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From the WA State Digital Archives: 1939 bill-signing photo

From the WA State Digital Archives: 1939 bill-signing photo

Gov. Clarence Martin signs a bill into law in 1939 as Secretary of State Belle Reeves (seated on left) and female legislators watch. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Digital Archives) We’ve reached that point of the legislative session when Gov. Jay Inslee starts signing bills into law. In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re sharing a Washington State Digital Archives photograph from 1939 that depicts a bill-signing ceremony. This shot shows Gov. Clarence Martin signing into law House Bill 300,…

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State Archives receives political icon Dan Evans’ scrapbooks

State Archives receives political icon Dan Evans’ scrapbooks

One of Dan Evans’ scrapbooks includes this 1972 photo of Evans, then Washington’s governor, meeting with President Nixon (middle) and California Gov. Ronald Reagan (left) prior to a news conference at the White House.   As the official repository for state government records, the Washington State Archives is quite accustomed to receiving valuable documents. But once in awhile, the State Archives acquires something so rare, so remarkable that even the most grizzled, seen-it-all archivist can’t help but be wowed by…

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Hey, I don’t see Benton County on this map!

Hey, I don’t see Benton County on this map!

1904 Washington map. (Image courtesy of Legacy Washington)  Anyone who is really into Washington geography knows that our state has 39 counties. But did you know that hasn’t always been the case? There was a time when a few of today’s counties weren’t even around at the turn of the 20th century. This 1904 map of Washington offers visual proof. What is now Benton County was part of Yakima and Klickitat counties. Douglas County was A LOT larger in 1904…

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Governors’ executive orders over the years

Governors’ executive orders over the years

  Gov. Dixy Lee Ray issued several executive orders in 1980 that related to the Mount St. Helens eruption. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Archives) They might lack the authority and consensus of legislatively approved state laws, but executive orders are a powerful way that Washington’s governors have made things happen in state government over the years. Executive orders are formal orders issued by the governor, generally to cabinet agencies statewide, requiring that certain actions be taken. They may have…

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The day the Sonics won the NBA title

The day the Sonics won the NBA title

Sonics guard Gus Williams (Photos courtesy of King County Archives) The recently concluded seven-game battle between the defending champion Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Western Conference finals gave many long-suffering fans of the former Seattle SuperSonics a chance to gloat: The Thunder, the team that USED to be in Seattle, blew a 3-1 series lead and failed to reach the finals. The pain felt in OKC was equaled by the sense of poetic justice…

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Remembering WA’s first Territorial Legislature

Remembering WA’s first Territorial Legislature

The House Journal entry for Feb. 27, 1854, the day the Territorial Legislature convened for the first time. (Photos courtesy of Washington State Archives) As our state Legislature heads into the final stretch of its 2016 session, it’s worth noting that Washington’s first Territorial Legislature gathered 162 years ago tomorrow. It was on Monday, Feb. 27, 1854, when the first Territorial Legislature convened in Olympia for the first time in Olympia. Above is a photo showing page 1 of the…

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New video focuses on Wenatchee newspaper family

New video focuses on Wenatchee newspaper family

Rufus (left) and Wilfred Woods inside the Wenatchee World’s press room. (Photo courtesy of Wenatchee World) One of two Washington newspaper families featured in a terrific Legacy Washington-produced book is the subject of a new video that will be on our YouTube channel. The 12-minute video, called “Kings of The World,” focuses on the Woods family, which has owned and operated the Wenatchee World for more than a century. It includes interviews with 96-year-old Wilfred Woods, the former publisher and…

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