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Slideshow: Tacoma's Tower Records

Jan 18, 2013
Bill Hansen

KUOW listeners Whitney Keyes and Chris Porter share their memories of Tacoma Tower Records with us.

Whitney Keyes

“I grew up in Tacoma, Washington, and my favorite record store on the planet was the Tower Records near the Tacoma Mall. It was the go-to place to get the hottest 45s and albums -- and check out cute boys!

“I LOVED going down every aisle, alphabetically in my fave music categories, looking at the covers -- front and back of EVERY record.

Luz Bratcher / Flickr

Tomorrow is a dark day for many a Seattle vinyl enthusiast — Easy Street Records, the lower Queen Anne record store, is closing after serving the Emerald City for more than a dozen years. Many are bemoaning the loss of the Queen Anne record store, but what about you? Do record stores matter to you? I mean, do they really matter? Do you still buy music from stores, and how much?

With music available online through iTunes and services like Spotify, why do we still need record stores? Ross Reynolds talks with local music writer Charles Cross, Sarah Moody from Hardly Art and Eli Anderson from Neumos and takes listener calls.

Flickr photo/Laura Musselman Duffy

Seattle record store Easy Street is closing its Queen Anne location on Friday. While many local music lovers try to comfort one another, they’re also waxing poetic about how record stores used to be.

From Profanity Hill To Yesler Terrace

Jan 13, 2013
Demolition in 1940
Courtesy MOHAI

Rumor has it that somewhere in a forgotten corner of a basement somewhere in Seattle there's a decaying 3-D model of a brand new Yesler Terrace. It was dreamed up in the late 1960s but, like the R H Thomson Expressway or the parking lot that was planned for where the Pike Place Market still stands, it never made it out of the world of imagination and onto the grid of the real world.

In 2013, after six years of planning, it appears another vision of a brand new development will take root where Yesler Terrace now stands. It's not the first transformation this patch of ground has seen though. This is the story of two places that occupy that ground -- one in the present and one in the past.

By the time Washington became a state in 1889, slavery had been abolished for nearly a quarter century. But there are a few documented cases of slavery in the Washington Territory. One is Charles Mitchell, who was born a slave and brought to the territory in 1853.

How did the 12-year-old escaped slave end up in Washington and why did his slavery cause a fight between Canada and the US? Ross Reynolds talks with storyteller Eva Abram to hear the story.

Gather At The Table: A Dialogue On Race

Jan 7, 2013
Thomas DeWolf and Sharon Leslie Morgan
Kristin Little Photography

When you look at a person, do you "see race?" Sharon Leslie Morgan and Tom DeWolf have been asking that question as they sat down at dinner tables around America. They found the lingering pain of slavery, and some paths to healing. They join us for a conversation about the journey toward racial equality.

In his new book, The World Until Yesterday, Jared Diamond tells the story of a young schoolboy named Billy who was killed in a traffic accident on his way home from school in Papua New Guinea.

The driver was alert but simply couldn't stop the car when Billy ran across the road. In an outcome that may surprise people in many parts of the world, the incident was peacefully resolved within days.

Five days after the accident, Diamond explains, the employer and friends of the killer sat down for a meal with the relatives of the dead boy.

This NOT Just In: The Last Episode Of J.P. Patches

Dec 28, 2012
J.P. Patches and Gertrude from The J.P. Patches Show.
Courtesy of Chris Wedes

Chris Wedes passed away earlier this year after a long battle with cancer.  Wedes was the host of the long-running JP Patches Show on KIRO TV and one of the region's most beloved figures.  "This NOT Just In" looks back to the final weekday episode of the popular program, back in December 1978.

The Titanic
Courtesy of George Behe's Collection

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Most people who boarded the luxury ocean liner didn’t survive the trip. For some, the only thing separating survival and drowning was a split-second decision.

Now, 100 years after the tragedy, a Seattle woman wonders what she would do if she had been in her relative's shoes on the night of the sinking.

Bebeto Matthews / AP Photo

You think you know him: red suit, white beard, jolly old elf, etc. But do you why St. Nicholas became the Patron Saint Of Prisoners? David Hyde talks with Adam English, author of "The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus: The True Life And Trials Of Nicholas Of Myra."

Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt
courtesy/Wikipedia

Clay Jenkinson assumes both sides in a debate between two of the country's greatest presidents: Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt. Jenkinson is a historian who commonly lectures as different historical figures. He spoke at Seattle's Town Hall on December 1, 2012.

UW 150: Downtown Real Estate Helps Fund University

Dec 14, 2012
Flickr photo/Michael Hilton

In Downtown Seattle, near where the Fairmont Olympic Hotel now stands, history was made back in 1861. The University of Washington was founded at this spot by a small group of local boosters, with the blessing of the Territorial Legislature. Seattle pioneer Arthur Denny donated the land. A single hall was built that housed the UW during the school's early decades, but the UW outgrew its first campus, and had to move and leave behind the old downtown site.

Thomas Jefferson: Success, Power And Vision

Dec 13, 2012
Thomas Jefferson
Courtesy/Wikipedia

Jon Meacham's new biography of Thomas Jefferson paints the founding father as the most successful political leader of early America, and possibly all of US history. "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power" discusses Jefferson's passion for his nation in the country's fledgling years and reviews the man's genius and his faults.

Meacham spoke at Seattle's Town Hall on November 28, 2012.

Former People
courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

In 1917, the glittering elite of Tzarist Russia were crushed, practically overnight, by the Communist revolution. What happened to the nearly two million people who lived at the top of Russian society? Douglas Smith, awarding-winning historian and author, joins us to talk about "Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy."

How We Mourned John Lennon Before The Internet

Dec 7, 2012
Roy Kerwood / Wikipedia

John Lennon was murdered 30 years ago. We'll look back at how Seattleites mourned the death of the former Beatle in a time before the Internet, social media and cell phones.

A portrait of the University Heights Baseball Team, Seattle, from the nineteen twenties
Seattle Municipal Archives

What does Baseball history tell us about America? That we’re a nation of scandals and corrupt leadership, of racial prejudice and cold economic calculus. But we’re also a nation of humility and redemption. William Woodward teaches American history at SPU and preaches the gospel of baseball all over Washington state. The narrative he sees  in baseball gives him hope – not just for America, but for the human condition. Professor Woodward gives Ross Reynolds his pitch.

Tamim Ansary On Afghanistan's Interrupted History

Nov 26, 2012

The US military and its allies are drawing up plans to leave Afghanistan by 2014, but it will be some time before the nation is truly independent. Peace in Afghanistan has been interspersed with foreign invasion for centuries, from the Mongol Empire to today’s war. We talk with writer Tamim Ansary about his new book, “Game Without Rules: The Often Interrupted History of Afghanistan,” and what Afghan independence might look like in the future.

The Radical Roots Of Yesler Terrace

Nov 16, 2012

Yesler Terrace is Seattle's oldest public housing project. It was revolutionary when it was completed in 1940. In the near future, though, it will be completely demolished.

In its place will sprout a series of high rise towers with a limited number of low-income housing units alongside up to 4,000 market-rate private housing units, offices, retail and commercial spaces. The ultimate goal, says the Seattle Housing Authority, is to create a sustainable, healthy, mixed-income neighborhood.

It's a radical plan, controversial, and every bit as transformational as that which gave rise to Yesler Terrace in 1940.

Rachel Neville / Dance Theatre of Harlem

When Dance Theatre of Harlem was forced to close its professional company in 2004, it was a blow to dance lovers around the country and to fans in the Pacific Northwest.  Seattle had been a frequent stop during the company's 35-year history, attracting raves for its productions of classical ballets as well as contemporary work influenced by African and African-American cultural traditions.  So it seems fitting that after Dance Theatre of Harlem re-started its company two years ago, then mounted its first national tour in 2012, Seattle would be on the itinerary.

Library of Congress Van Vechten Collection

On October 30, 1938, Orson Wells' infamous "War of the Worlds" broadcast across the nation.  Fake news of a Martian landing fooled a lot of people on the East Coast, especially around New Jersey, where phony live reports described the alien landing site. But the most infamous panic of all didn't happen in the East. And it wasn't just a single person. It was an entire town, and it happened right here in Washington state.

Wikipedia

Chances are you've seen the works of Edward Curtis, possibly without even realizing it. His images are the iconic, definitive photographs of Native Americans created as the 19th century expired and the 20th came into being. The huge project to photograph the surviving Indian tribes brought Edward Curtis from the fringes of high society to the edge of penury. He died almost forgotten a few years after publication of the last of his 20 volumes of images. The New York Times journalist and author Timothy Egan joins us to explore the remarkable life and work of Edward Curtis.

Also this hour we will hear from the two candidates running for Washington state's 9th Congressional District. Rep. Adam Smith and Jim Postma discuss the issues facing the state's first minority-majority district.

When Carver Clark Gayton was growing up in Seattle in the 1940s he didn’t hear anything about African-American history in school. But his mother told him stories, including one about his great-grandfather Lewis George Clarke.

Clarke was an escaped slave and an abolitionist. His personal story found its way into the anti-slavery novel "Uncle Tom’s Cabin" that went on to become the second most popular book in the 19th century. It’s seen as one of the causes of the Civil War.

UW Professor David Montgomery says he'll march for science
Kvasir Society Photo/Joy Mathew

There are many stories of great floods out there, first and foremost the fable of Noah's ark. But some geologists have found that many of these legends have some basis in historical fact. We talk with University of Washington professor and MacArthur award-winner Dave Montgomery, the author of "The Rocks Don't Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah's Flood."

"The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show" debuted on television screens in 1959. The cartoon featured an all-American squirrel and his pal the moose hotly pursued by Boris and Natasha — the Russian-accented spies with a knack for falling on their own grenades. "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show" parodied the space race, the arms race between the US and the Soviets, and also took its share of digs at the American government and military. In an era when Yogi Bear was stealing pies off window sills — never before had an animated cartoon carried such political currency. And as Studio 360’s Julia Wetherell reports in Rocky and Bullwinkle and the Cuban Missile Crisis, it just might have predicted the fall of communism.

Other stories from KUOW Presents:

Don't Know Much About the American Presidents book cover
dontknowmuch.com/

The presidential debates are a major factor in this year’s race for the White House. When did the debates become such a big deal? 

Historian Kenneth Davis tells us the story of America’s presidential debates and talks about his new book, "Don’t Know Much About The American Presidents."

Presidential Popularity Contests With Robert Merry

Oct 11, 2012
Where They Stand
(Credit/Simon & Schuster)

Who was the best US president? The worst? Biographer Robert Merry plays "rate the presidents" based on popularity and historical judgment. Here are some hints: Abraham Lincoln's at the top and James Buchanan ranks as one of the country's biggest failures.

Harriet Baskas, courtesy of Seattle Museum of Communications

The 1962 Seattle World's Fair introduced technological innovations that seemed out of reach at the time, but would eventually become a part of every day life.  Some of the ground breaking gadgets unveiled included a pager, a cordless phone and something called a computer.

Wikipedia/public domain

The University of Washington is a respected institution of higher learning, serving more than 92,000 students on campuses in Seattle, Bothell and Tacoma. But it didn’t quite start out this way; in its first 25 years, the school went broke and even shut down for a brief time. It barely had enough students and faculty to fill a large room.

Wikipedia photo/unknown

For most of the 20th century, luxury travel meant train travel. And if you were lucky enough to afford it, you spent the night in a private Pullman sleeping car.

The Dark Origins Of Valentine's Day

Feb 14, 2011

Valentine's Day is a time to celebrate romance and love and kissy-face fealty. But the origins of this festival of candy and cupids are actually dark, bloody — and a bit muddled.

Though no one has pinpointed the exact origin of the holiday, one good place to start is ancient Rome, where men hit on women by, well, hitting them.

Those Wild And Crazy Romans

From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.

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