history

Many Americans are familiar with the astronaut heroes of the 20th century space race — names like Gus Grissom and Neil Armstrong. But who did the calculations that would successfully land these men on the moon?

Several of the NASA researchers who made space flight possible were women. Among them were black women who played critical roles in the aeronautics industry even as Jim Crow was alive and well.

When Olympia was run by (musical) women

Sep 21, 2016
The band Sleater-Kinney is one of the most famous products of the 90s punk scene in Olympia, Washington.
Flickr Photo/peta_azak (CC BY ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/t3x8LT

Bill Radke speaks with Len Balli about the history of punk music in Olympia. Balli is the curator of a new exhibit at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma that displays called "A Revolution You Can Dance To." 

3,000-Year-Old Cooking Fail Found At A Danish Dig Site

Sep 21, 2016

Denmark currently holds the title of world's happiest country. But we could imagine at least one Norseman back in time who, after a failed cooking attempt, probably felt little of the famed Danish hygge.

In a hilly wetland north of Silkeborg, archaeologists have unearthed a wholly intact Bronze Age clay pot containing a cheesy and charred residue burned to its inside.

Adrienne Bailey, 62, recalls when black people in Seattle had to buy or rent homes with the help of benevolent whites, who were known as shields.
KUOW Photo/Jamala Henderson

Drive from south Seattle to the north end, and you might notice how the racial population changes.

Listener David Newman asked the Local Wonder team to look into why Seattle seems so segregated. Our first stop was the Ship Canal, that skinny waterway near Husky Stadium that connects Lake Washington with Puget Sound.

The Duwamish River isn't naturally straight - we did that while building the city of Seattle.
Flickr Photo/King County, WA (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/bL547t

Bill Radke sits down with Crosscut's Knute Berger to discuss Seattle's many massive engineering projects that it has undertaken over the years. Berger wonders what the city would have been like if we hadn't straightened the Duwamish River or gotten rid of Denny Hill: Would we have been a city at all? 

Courtesy of Julia Harrison

Bill Radke speaks with food anthropologist Julia Harrison about how Washington state became the king of apple production in America. 

Labor journalist Sarah Jaffe
Courtesy of Julieta Salgado

When it comes to the future of good jobs and a contented workforce in the United States, the outlook is tenuous at best: workers left in the wake of off-shoring, financial crises and game-changing robotic technology developments all shape market.

Journalist Sarah Jaffe says community movements are a key to better outcomes. “For the people taking part in them it is not a question of left or right, but of the powerless against the powerful.”

Courtesy of Madeline Whitehead

Bill Radke sits down with author Colson Whitehead to talk about his new novel, "The Underground Railroad."

His book explores slavery in the American South and the role of the Underground Railroad in that story. But in a departure from the history we know about the Underground Railroad, in his book the railroad is an actual railroad. 

The building rises — bronze and "brooding," in the words of architect David Adjaye — floating in a sea of white marble and limestone on the sprawling National Mall in Washington, D.C.

As part of the Pendleton Round-Up Rodeo in northeast Oregon, a Western pageant called “Happy Canyon” will kick off its 100th year run Wednesday. The show includes hundreds of volunteer performers, galloping horses, a live orchestra, Old West cowboy antics and real Native Americans.

World War II pilot Elaine Harmon, who died last year at the age of 95, wanted to be laid to rest with her fellow veterans at Arlington National Cemetery.

And on Wednesday, Harmon's wish was fulfilled — thanks to a dedicated effort by her family and a law passed by Congress.

Harmon was one of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, a group of female pilots who flew military planes in noncombat missions in order to free up male pilots for fighting.

camping
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Bill Radke speaks with author Dan White about the history of camping in America. White highlights how we overcame the early Puritan fear of the woods and the changing demographics of wild places. His latest book is "Under the Stars: How America Fell in Love with Camping."

Tribute: The Man Who Led The War To Kill Smallpox

Aug 25, 2016

"Anxious, pleading, pock-deformed faces; the ugly, penetrating odor of decaying flesh; the hands, covered with pustules, reaching out, as people begged for help .... And there was no drug, no treatment that we could give them."

Lesley Holdcroft, elevator operator at Seattle's historic Smith Tower.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Smith Tower re-opens Thursday in Pioneer Square. It marks an important turnaround for the 1914 landmark Seattle building. 

It was once the tallest building West of the Mississippi. But it left that title behind long ago. You could say the Smith Tower hit rock bottom after the recession when plans to turn it into condos didn’t pan out and banks foreclosed on the famous wedding cake of a building.

KUOW’s Joshua McNichols took a tour of Smith Tower to learn some of its history.

Audio Pending...

Growing up in Seattle I spent summer evenings like this picking blackberries.

These days I spend more time trying to fend off blackberry vines in my garden.

If you’ve tried to do that, you’ve probably found that following one long blackberry vine to the source leads to another heading a different direction.

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