history

In 1944, the U.S. pinned its hope on a secret project to win World War II. The government was counting on the B Reactor at Hanford in southeast Washington state to make enough plutonium in time. One of the physicists working against the clock was a 24-year-old woman: Leona (Woods) Marshall Libby.

Mike DiCecco carrying a Christmas tree
Courtesy of MJD Distributors Garden Center

Have you ever heard of the Chubby and Tubby variety stores? Back in the day they were a Seattle institution. They were known for cheap Converse shoes, cheap fishing supplies, cheap everything. 

It's been about 12 years since the Chubby and Tubby stores shut down, but it turns out their cheap Christmas tree tradition lives on.

'White Christmas' composer Irving Berlin.
Wikimedia Commons

The most popular Christmas carol in America stands apart from the others in a number of ways: It’s not upbeat, there are no fanciful characters and it isn’t religious. Instead, it’s melancholy and wistful – full of longing for bygone days.

Taylor Atchison (L) and Antonio Knoy (R) work in their shop, Knoy Metalworks, in the old Fenpro building in Ballard. They're one of many workshop owners who will be displaced when the building is torn down.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

An old metal lathe thunders in the massive warehouse on Ballard’s main street. It sounds like freedom to Denny Jensen, one of those toiling in the maze of workshops there.

“We’re so independent; we really like to be our own boss,” said Jensen, a metal fabricator. “That’s what this place gave me for 11 years.”

Clay Jenkinson as John Wesley Powell
Photo Courtesy of Katrina Shelby Photography

Scholar and author Clay Jenkinson is known to many listeners as the co-host of The Thomas Jefferson Hour. You may also know that every year he visits Seattle to perform one of his historical interpretations. He calls it the highlight of his year.

Army recruits in Seattle being fitted for uniforms after the Pearl Harbor attack, 1941.
Courtesy of MOHAI, Seattle P-I Collection, PI28235

David Hyde speaks with local historian and radio producer Feliks Banel about the reaction of the Pearl Harbor attack in Seattle and the lasting impact it left on the city. 

Pacific Ocean from across the straights.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

In 1520, explorer Ferdinand Magellan called it “peaceful.” At more than 60 million square miles, the Pacific Ocean covers 30 percent of the earth’s surface -- an area larger than the landmass of all the continents combined. It is our planet’s largest and deepest ocean basin, and it has stories to tell. So, where to begin?

Author Simon Winchester sees many good starting points. His new book is “Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World's Superpowers.”

In January 1945, in a German POW camp, a U.S. soldier named Roddie Edmonds defied the threat of death to protect the Jewish troops under his command.

Seventy years later, he's being recognized for his valor.

It's the first time a U.S. soldier has been named Righteous Among the Nations, an honor from Israel's Holocaust remembrance and research center reserved for non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

Rosa Parks on a Montgomery bus on December 21, 1956, the day Montgomery's public transportation system was legally integrated.
Wikipedia Photo

Bill Radke talks to Carla Saulter, writer of the blog Bus Chick, about how Rosa Parks' legacy has impacted her life. 

Despite what you read in some history books — such as the Biographical Dictionary of Congressional Women — Rep.

Sixty years ago Tuesday, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Ala. A police officer made the arrest that set off the modern civil rights movement. Today police recruits in Alabama's capital city are being schooled in that history in a course designed to eliminate bias in policing.

The Pilgrims are among the early heroes of American history, celebrated every Thanksgiving for their perseverance in the New World against great odds.

To Christian conservatives, they are role models for another reason as well: They were deeply committed to their Christian faith and not afraid to say so.

In the Mayflower Compact, the governing document signed shortly before the Pilgrims disembarked in Massachusetts' Provincetown Harbor, Pilgrim leaders said they undertook their voyage across the Atlantic "for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith."

Washington and Lafayette at Mount Vernon, 1784, by Thomas Prichard Rossiter and Louis Rémy Mignot.
Public Domain

In 1777 Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier de Lafayette was a French aristocrat looking for military glory. Since the French weren’t at war, the 19-year-old crossed the Atlantic to join George Washington and other American revolutionaries in their fight with the British.

That’s where Sarah Vowell comes in.

A photographer from Wenatchee, Washington, has made a revealing discovery at the scene of a remote and long-abandoned fire lookout: a pile of very old firewood.

A portrait of composer Claude Debussy painted by Marcel  Baschet, 1884.
Public Domain

Pop music has always  borrowed liberally from classical themes: think Al Jolson’s 1920 hit “Avalon” lifting Puccini’s opera “Tosca,” 1970s disco sensation "A Fifth of Beethoven” or Vitamin C’s more modern sampling of Pachelbel’s “Canon in D Major.”

But it's a two-way street! In fact, the first borrowing might have taken place on the classical side.  

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