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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.

Jeff Coats kidnapped David Grenier and stole his car in Tacoma, Washington on September 6, 1994. Coats was 14 years old, and was sent to adult prison. Now, Coats is a successful real estate agent who speaks on issues of imprisonment and rehabilitation.
Provided courtesy of Katherine Beckett, University of Washington

Ross Reynolds speaks with University of Washington sociology professor Katherine Beckett about the story of Jeff Coats who, along with two 17-year-old friends, robbed and kidnapped Tacoma resident David Grenier on Sept. 6, 1994. Beckett helped produce a full-length audio documentary about Coats, who she believes has rehabilitated himself.

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.

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. 

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