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The Voynich Manuscript is a singular mystery. But thanks to a small publishing house in Spain, the one-of-a-kind text will soon be more like one-in-900.

The 15th-century document is written in an unknown, apparently encrypted language that has defied every code breaker's efforts. It's illustrated with unknown or imaginary plants and never-seen constellations. The only copy is locked away at Yale University to protect the book; scans online are the closest most mortals can get to viewing its pages.

Shiyogi Kawabata, 88, worked on a wooden chain (below) while interned at Minidoka, a Japanese internment camp in Idaho.
KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman

At 88, Shiyoji Kawabata remembers the harsh conditions he and his family endured in the Minidoka Relocation Center during World War II.

Ticks. Coyotes. Scorpions. Black widow spiders.

Eighty years ago this month, the United States competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games in Nazi Germany, with 18 African-American athletes part of the U.S. squad.

Track star Jesse Owens, one of the greatest Olympians of all time, won four gold medals. What the 17 other African-American Olympians did in Berlin, though, has largely been forgotten — and so too has their rough return home to racial segregation.

Bust of Chief Si'ahl in Seattle's Pioneer Square.
Flickr Photo/Brian Glanz (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/DwkeT

The first thing to know about Chief Seattle is how he pronounced his name.

Skagit elder Vi Hilbert pronounced it for HistoryLink (18 seconds):

Chief Seattle, our city’s namesake, is a bit of an enigma.

He was born in 1786, after native populations were decimated by small pox and other diseases brought in by white settlers.

Wendy Boglioli won bronze in the Women's 100 metres Butterfly and gold in the Women's 4 × 100 metres Freestyle Relay at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Audio Pending...

Bill Radke speaks with swimmer Wendy Boglioli about facing off against the East German women's swimming team at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

The massively powerful East German swimmers, who were later found to have been systematically doped by their government, took gold after gold in event after event. The Americans were entirely shut out -- until the last race. 

A Portland testing lab and a research team led by the University of Victoria have reset assumptions about the durability of biological evidence.

How durable? Wrap your head around 250,000 years.

David Bromberg is best known as a guitar virtuoso, who has collaborated with Bob Dylan and George Harrison and fronted his own band. But he's also a collector of American violins, and his collection is such that the Library of Congress has announced its intention to acquire it.

Workers ready Slo-mo-shun IV for public viewing.
Courtesy Paul Dorpat

Jon Osterberg remembers the first time he saw a hydroplane, more than 50 years ago.


Courtesy of MOHAI, Milkie Studio Collection

Bill Radke talks to writer Heather Wells Peterson about the history of revolving restaurants. She wrote an article about it for Lucky Peach. The restaurant on top of the Space Needle, SkyCity Restaurant, is the world's oldest operating revolving restaurant, but they date back all the way to the Roman Empire when the emperor Nero had one. 

Revolving restaurants enjoyed their heyday in the U.S. during the Cold War, but have largely fallen out of fashion since then. But, Peterson explains, they are gaining traction in some Asian countries and in the Middle East.

The 1936 Olympic team crewed the wooden Husky Clipper, which now hangs in a place of honor above the the crew dining hall.
KUOW Photo/Matt Mills McKnight

Marcie Sillman speaks with Judy Willman, daughter of Joe Rantz, about how finding "swing" with the 1936 University of Washington rowing team changed her father's life. The nine boys on that legendary team beat staggering odds to win gold in the Berlin Olympics.

The University of Texas dedicated a memorial to victims of a sniper-style attack there 50 years ago on the same day concealed-carry of handguns became legal at Texas public universities.

In an early afternoon ceremony, Gregory Fenves, the university's president, dedicated a granite monument containing the names of 17 people killed by Charles Whitman, a 25-year-old student and former Marine, who opened fire from the school's clocktower on Aug. 1, 1966. He killed people both on campus and elsewhere that day.

John Hinckley Jr., 35-years after he tried to kill a president, has won his freedom.

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has granted a request for Hinckley to leave the mental hospital where he's resided for decades, to go live full-time with his elderly mother in Williamsburg, Va.

A Ku Klux Klan rally in Oregon (estimated 1920s)
Courtesy of the Oregon Historical Society

Bill Radke talks with Alana Semuels about an article she wrote for The Atlantic about Portland, Oregon's history of racism. We all know the PDX has a reputation as a liberal, quirky city. Despite this stereotype, Portland today is the whitest city in America, partially as a result of deliberately racist policies in Oregon and Portland itself, some of which date back to the mid 19th century.

The 2,200-year-old mummy of an Egyptian man who spent a lot of time sitting and eating carbs went on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem on Tuesday and will be open to the public beginning Wednesday.

Verizon is buying Yahoo for $4.8 billion, acquiring its "core Internet assets" — search, email, finance, news, sports, Tumblr, Flickr — in essence writing the final chapter of one of the longest-running Internet companies.

As the U.S. presidential election shifts into the major party convention phase the question arises, how politically polarized are we? As this discussion details, while our political discourse may not have reached historical depths of incivility, sometimes it sure feels that way.

And statistically, both politicians and voters are more polarized now than ever before.

The legal scholar Richard Posner points out in The Little Book Of Plagiarism that The Bard himself was a "formidable plagiarist."

In one celebrated scene in Anthony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare borrows heavily from Plutarch's Life of Mark Antony. That borrowing extends to modern literature and even the visual arts, Posner argues.

Top Northwest officials and a member of President Obama’s cabinet will gather Tuesday for the renaming of a wildlife refuge near Olympia in honor of one of the region’s best known Native American leaders.

The Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is being renamed in honor of late Nisqually tribal leader Billy Frank Jr.

Andrew Mack, a former strategic planning director at the United Nations and now a fellow at the One Earth Future Foundation in Broomfield, Colorado, coined the term "asymmetric conflict" back in 1975.

Craig Dupler, retired Boeing engineer
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

100 years ago Friday, Bill Boeing incorporated his airplane company. It would later be known as the Boeing Airplane Company and Washington's largest private employer. KUOW made a visit to the place where it all started.


This Capitol Hill, Seattle home could be bought on a single middle class income for a family of six for $16,000 in 1957.
KUOW Photo/Emily Fox

When I thought about moving to Seattle a few months ago, I was shocked at how expensive everything was.

I grew up in a Michigan town where the average house is worth about $125,000 today, and rent goes for about half of what it is in Seattle.

Knowing the lifestyle that my middle class grandparents were able to have here 60 years ago, I wondered if that Seattle will ever be able to be achievable again for middle class folks like me.

"The middle class is disappearing" has been a standard line during this election cycle. As it turns out, it's not wrong.

No president has campaigned strongly for his chosen successor in at least 100 years.

Tuesday's event, with President Obama campaigning for Hillary Clinton, his former secretary of state and onetime rival, in North Carolina is remarkable for that reason. It kicks off what is likely to be a season of vigorous campaigning by the president.

Jean Carroll was among the first swimmers at Colman Pool – even before opening day.
Courtesy of Jean Carroll

Jean Carroll got the call on July 3, 1941.

It was an official from the City of Seattle Parks Department inviting Jean and her best friend Marie Blyth to be the first people to swim in the Colman Pool at the edge of Lincoln Park in West Seattle.


Using advanced imaging technology, researchers in Lithuania have uncovered a tunnel that Jewish prisoners used to escape Nazi extermination pits.

By doing so, they have provided physical evidence of a well-known tale of heroism during the Holocaust — known before only through the testimony of 11 Jews who escaped.

For the past 72 years, teams have been searching for the tunnel at the Ponar massacre site, located in a forest about 6 miles from Vilnius.

Bill Radke speaks with pop culture author Chuck Klosterman about his new book, "But What If We're Wrong: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past."   

Pfc. Holly Horned of the Indiana Army National Guard adjusts her gas mask before entering a gas chamber during a nuclear, biological and chemical warfare training exercise at Camp Atterbury, Ind., June 15, 2010.
Flickr Photo/DVIDSHUB (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/8cwDmR

Author Mary Roach has a specialty of sorts; she writes about the funnier aspects of science. Along with the humor, she’s known for her thorough research.

Her books include “Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers,” “Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex” and now “Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War.”  

Mary Roach spoke with Seattle Review of Book’s co-founder Paul Constant at Town Hall Seattle on June 15. The event was sponsored by University Book Store. Ana Sofia Knauf recorded their conversation.

Online editor Isolde Raftery reads an old residential ledger at the Puget Sound Regional Branch of the Washington State Archives in Bellevue.
KUOW Photo/Amina Al-Sadi

First, an admission.

We were clueless when we started researching the house at 1643 South King Street in Seattle's International District.

Activists and anarchists lived at 1643 King Street for at least 40 years. They called it the King Street Collective.
Courtesy of Ronni Tartlet

If this house could talk, what stories would it tell?

About the Irish-American couple that first owned it?

And the Japanese family sent to an internment camp?

Or the anarchists that played drums during the WTO protests?


Stock paper
Flickr Photo/Hobvias Sudoneighm (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/Fecq6

Author Mark Kurlansky tells the story of the time he met legendary newsman Walter Cronkite. Cronkite greeted him with the line “I know you. You’re the leading expander of minutiae.”

If you’re only familiar with Kurlansky’s book titles that may seem an apt description. His latest is “Paper: Paging Through History.”

But he begs to differ. He says he’s not trying to find the obscure in minor details. He’s looking for critical keys to history.

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