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A statue of Russian revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood.
Flickr Photo/Martin Deutsch CC By-NC-ND-2.0 http://bit.ly/1MIuGBF

Washington state and Seattle have a reputation as left-leaning – most recently because of the election of Socialist city council member Kshama Sawant and our adoption of the $15 an hour minimum wage.

But our lefty reputation is older than that. (Exhibit A: statue of Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin in Fremont.)

(This post was last updated at 6:15 p.m. EDT.)

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced on Wednesday that the countenance of abolitionist leader Harriet Tubman will grace a new $20 bill.

The decision caps a public campaign asking for a woman to be placed on American paper currency and months of deliberation by the Treasury to replace either Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill or Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.

Los Angeles is home to the largest Thai community outside of Thailand. This week, Thai-Americans are celebrating the traditional three-day water festival called Songkran to mark the new year. And many of them regularly shop at LA's landmark Bangkok Market, the first Thai food store in the U.S.

The first Trump tower? Donald Trump's grandfather, Frederick Trump, leased a business that offered "private rooms for ladies" in Seattle's red light district.
Puget Sound Regional Archives

Donald Trump, the presidential candidate, is 100 percent Queens. But his grandfather, Frederick Trump, built his nest egg in the Northwest.

In the 1940s, an elite team of mathematicians and scientists started working on a project that would carry the U.S. into space, then on to the moon and Mars. They would eventually become NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (or JPL), but here's what made them so unusual: Many of the people who charted the course to space exploration were women.

Nathalia Holt tells their story in her new book, Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars. Holt tells NPR's Ari Shapiro that the women worked as "computers."

During the 1930s, as Adolf Hitler was rising to power in Germany, the man who would turn out to be his most implacable foe was drowning — in debt and champagne.

In 1936, Winston Churchill owed his wine merchant the equivalent of $75,000 in today's money. He was also in hock to his shirt-maker, watchmaker and printer — but his sybaritic lifestyle, of a cigar-smoking, horse-owning country aristocrat, continued apace.

Baked Alaska: A Creation Story Shrouded In Mystery

Mar 29, 2016

On March 30, 1867, for a mere $7.2 million — about two cents per acre — the U.S. bought land from Russia that would eventually make Alaska its 49th state, gaining a delicious fringe benefit in the process: Baked Alaska.

A classic Craftsman in Seattle's Mount Baker neighborhood. Most of the neighborhood was developed in the early 20th century when architecture was in its heyday.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Look around almost any Seattle neighborhood and you’ll see them: Modest one-story homes, with large, covered porches and eaves that shield wooden siding from the rain.

They’re Craftsman-style bungalows, and you’ll find hundreds of them here, from Wallingford and Ravenna to Mount Baker and over the bridge in West Seattle.

Photo by Frank Shaw, and used with permission by Paul Dorpat.

In 1965, a local businessman towed a giant orca into Elliott Bay. Namu the Killer Whale became a huge hit with the public, inspiring local musicians and even a movie.

Julia Ward Howe is renowned as the poet who woke up one night in an inspired state to pen the lyrics of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," the song that would become the victorious psalm of the Civil War.

But what few know is that the writer, reformer and mother of six who wrote those stirring words – "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord" – was adrift in a lonely war of her own, against a husband who sought to control every aspect of her life, from what she wrote to what she ate.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump, pictured here 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference.
Flickr Photo/Gage Skidmore (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/e41ELr

Bill Radke speaks with University of Washington historian Margaret O'Mara about mud slinging and crudeness in American politics.

After Donald Trump defended the size of his penis during a Republican primary debate, some people asked, have we hit a new low? According to O'Mara, the answer is no. Things like this have been happening for centuries.

And often, the vulgarity is a smoke screen that distracts from the real issues, O'Mara said. 

In 1927, the U.S. Supreme Court decided, by a vote of 8 to 1, to uphold a state's right to forcibly sterilize a person considered unfit to procreate. The case, known as Buck v. Bell, centered on a young woman named Carrie Buck, whom the state of Virginia had deemed to be "feebleminded."

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who is running for president in 2016.
Flickr Photo/Brookings Institution (CC BY NC ND 2.0)

Bill Radke speaks with University of Washington historian Margaret O'Mara  about how Bernie Sanders' campaign reminds her of Henry Wallace, Franklin D. Roosevelt's vice president who lost to Harry Truman  in the 1948 Democratic primary. O'Mara is the author of the book, "Pivotal Tuesdays: Four Elections That Shaped the Twentieth Century."

Will America Fall Like Rome?

Mar 1, 2016
Rome sunset.
Flickr Photo/Guillermo Alonso (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/rbftP1

Bill Radke speaks with University of Washington classics professor Sarah Stroup about her view that America is becoming more xenophobic and how we seem to be paralleling Ancient Rome.  

Marshall Islanders gather at the Burke Museum in Seattle to mark the anniversary of the droping of a hydrogen bomb on Bikini Atoll in 1954.
KUOW Photo/Posey Gruener

On March 1, 1954, the United States dropped a 15 megaton hydrogen bomb on Bikini Atoll. In the years since, Marshall Islanders, or Marshallese, have marked the anniversary as a national holiday and a day of mourning. Producer Posey Gruener went to the Burke Museum in Seattle to speak to some Marshallese who gathered to mark the occasion.

The U.S.S. Bear, a cutter that was dispatched by President McKinley to rescue the Belvedere and other ice-bound whaling ships. The Bear wasn’t able to break through the ice to Point Barrow until July 28, 1898. Today, there is no ice.
U.S. Library of Congress

Audio Pending...

When the steamship Belvedere left San Francisco in the spring of 1897, its crew members couldn’t have known what a treacherous voyage awaited them.

Tony Johnson of the Chinook Tribe is fluent in Chinook Wawa. He stands at Chinook Point near the mouth of the Columbia, a key spot for the fur trade 200 years ago where strangers met and needed a common language.
KUOW Photo/Dwight Caswell

Chinook Jargon was a trade language that once ruled the Northwest. But when was it used, and how many people spoke it? Listener Michelle LeSourd of Seattle asked KUOW's Local Wonder. 

More Hall Annex on UW campus. The building is an example of brutalism architecture.
Courtesy of Washington Trust for Historic Preservation/Jennifer Mortensen

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Chris Moore from the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation about the recent decision by the University of Washington's Board of Regents to replace More Hall Annex, a historic nuclear reactor on campus, with a new computer science building.

Moore is involved with an effort to add More Hall to Seattle's list of historic places, which could save it from demolition. The University of Washington has sued the city to stop that effort. A ruling is expected April 1.

The history of science is full of happy accidents — most folks have heard that penicillin was discovered in 1928, when a few mold spores landed on some neglected petri dishes in a London lab. But sometimes serendipity's role is a bit less ... mainstream.

After centuries of neglect, the world's largest fortification, the Great Wall of China, has a band of modern-day defenders who are drawing up plans to protect and maintain the vast structure.

They're not a minute too soon: Roughly a third of the wall's 12,000 miles has crumbled to dust, and saving what's left of it may be the world's greatest challenge in cultural preservation.

Qiao Guohua is on the front line of this battle. He lives in the village of Jielingkou, not far from where the eastern end of the Great Wall runs into the Yellow Sea.

chocolate lw
KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

Listener Beth Ann Johnson asked Local Wonder about Seattle's chocolate industry, and reporter Ruby de Luna agreed to report. (We know. Tough assignment.)

Food writer Hsiao-Ching Chou
Courtesy of Hsiao-Ching Chou

What’s the best Chinese restaurant in Seattle? Seattle food writer Hsiao-Ching Chou gets this question all the time.

She struggles to answer, she told KUOW’s David Hyde, because there isn’t one.

A photocopy of the Seattle Times' front page the day after 9-year-old George Weyerhaeuser returned home to Tacoma. A sports reporter found him in Issaquah and drove him home.
Seattle Public Library archives

It was the Northwest’s most notorious kidnapping case. Little George Weyerhaeuser had been snatched off the streets of Tacoma and held for $200,000 ransom.  

Eighty years later, Weyerhaeuser, the timber titan, told me he hadn’t read much news coverage about his kidnapping. 

He has a vivid memory of those eight days, he said, but he hadn’t dug through those old stories from 1935. He was 9 at the time, after all, and his parents wanted to leave the kidnapping in the past. They wanted him to grow up without this traumatic event hanging over his life.

David Hyde speaks with Knute Berger about how Washington became the only state in the union to put a fascist presidential candidate on the ballot.  

A reprint of Adolf Hitler's notorious autobiography, Mein Kampf, or "My Struggle," is for sale in German bookstores today for the first time in 70 years.

The annotated edition is being published by the Munich-based Institute for Contemporary History, and its editors say the new version points out Hitler's lies and errors and includes critical commentary on how the original version, published in the 1920s, influenced Nazi atrocities.

Siblings David Ko and Karen Ko
Courtesy of StoryCorps

When Roy and Alice Ko were released from internment camps after World War II, they ended up in Richland, Washington – home to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Their children David and Karen Ko talked about growing up in Richland in the years after the war.

Native American tribes, cattle barons, trappers, farmers and wildlife advocates have all fought over what’s now known as Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon for centuries.

StoryCorps

In this StoryCorps segment Anne Roda, 70, interviews her mother, Marie Prichett, 98, about the time her family spent at Manzanar, a Japanese Internment Camp, where her husband was a social worker.

One of the world's most precious volumes starts a tour on Monday, in Norman, Okla. The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is sending out William Shakespeare's First Folio to all 50 states to mark the 400th anniversary of the bard's death. Published seven years after he died, the First Folio is the first printed collection of all of Shakespeare's plays.

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