WASHINGTON – Week of September 18
Stories from the States

WASHINGTON – Week of September 18


Seattle, Washington

Week of September 18, 1899

Population 1900: 189,518
Population 2015: 704,000

The featured photo above shows a view looking up 1st Ave. from Pioneer Square in 1900.

September 18, 1899

What Time Is It?

Seattle needs a town clock that will be recognized as the official representative of Father Time.

For years past the minutes and the hours have been embroiled in this community. Down on Second Avenue at one jewelry store the noon hour announces its advent, while on First Avenue 11:57 a.m. still claims to be on earth. Somewhere down in the bottoms, an erratic clock sets the 6 a.m. whistle blowing at 5:57 a.m., while another irresponsible timepiece at the railroad depot starts a train our seven minutes ahead of Peter Smith’s official time, as announced by the watch in his vest pocket. So very erratic are the clocks of the city that there is even no telling the time when the fish will bite in Lake Washington.

These things ought not so to be. Way up in the heavens, where the courthouse is located, a clock might be set in position, the hands of which would accurately indicate to all citizens the moments as they fly. With a central standard authority on time recognized by the mayor, city council, and chief of police, there would henceforth be no excuse for missing up the minutes and transposing the seconds. By all means, let us have a city clock.

September 18, 1899

A Cargo of Cod

After a five months’ cruise in the Bering Sea, the barkentine Blakely returned to West Seattle yesterday with 100,000 pounds of cod. While on the cruise she lost a seaman named Lujan. He is supposed to have been lost in a fog.

September 18, 1899

Illegal Gambling

There is a great stir in progress among the gamblers of Seattle. Threats are alleged to have been made by a certain councilman that if they do not conduct their business “thus and so,” a resolution would be introduced in council ordering all games closed. The story obtained from police authorities is as follows: Several days ago Ed Pincus, a well-known character of the tenderloin district, was discharged from his position as the night watchman at the Standard Gambling House.

Pincus has no leased rooms in the rear of Councilman William McArdle’s saloon on Second Avenue South and is preparing to open a gambling house. It is said that if any complaints are made against Pincus’ games by the proprietors of other houses, a resolution closing all public gambling resorts will be pushed. It is also stated that Pincus has been furnished the necessary bankroll and preparations are now being made to open the games as soon as possible.

September 19, 1899

The Fire Fiend

The fire fiend has commenced operations in Seattle again. This morning at 1 o’clock the fire department was summoned to the foot of Harrison Street to extinguish a blaze in an unoccupied boathouse. The building was destroyed before the department arrived. Chief Kellogg says the fire was of incendiary origin. The loss was about $25.

September 20, 1899

Funds For The Library

The Seattle Public Library commission is making an effort towards having the city add two-tenth of a mill to the city tax levy of 1899 for the purpose of raising money to buy new books. The library is at present supported by revenues derived principally from vice and crime. The fund so obtained, according to the commissioners, is fluctuating. They are satisfied that the library should continue to be supported as heretofore, although they advise that the city make up by taxation the deficiency in revenue.

September 22, 1899

The Historical Society

The Washington State Historical Society will hold its annual meeting in Tacoma on Monday, October 2, 1899. The Washington Historian, a quarterly magazine, will be introduced to the world about the first of the month. Communications regarding the society should be addressed to Secretary Edward N. Fuller, Tacoma.

September 22, 1899

Uncle Sam Visits Seattle

Frank S. Colburn, who left New York City in September 1896 to tour the world on foot, arrived in Seattle last evening, thus completing a walk across the United States, connecting the three great trans-continental links: New York, Chicago, Seattle. he is not on a wager, his object being to see the country, investigate conditions, and eventually write a book detailing his adventures. He made an incidental trip down to San Francisco and was there when the war with Spain started. he enlisted and served in Battery B of the California heavy artillery but did not get to the front, his battery serving on coast defense at Lime Point, California.

Colburn bears such a striking resemblance to the caricatures of Uncle Sam that he is known by that title wherever he goes. He does not make up for the character but represents it through the habiliments of the present day. He makes his expenses and pays his way as he goes.

He is a song writer and composer of ability and has written a poem on the return of the soldier boys which the Portland Oregonian commented on most favorably. He will set it to music and publish it here, dedicated to the Red Cross Society and offer the proceeds of its sale to their benefit.

After the Exposition, Colburn will take a steamer to Honolulu, then to Japan, to China, to Manilla, to New Zealand, and then around the world, endeavoring to reach Paris during the World’s Fair and carry the greetings of the Seattle Exposition all the way with him. Today he paid his respects to the mayor, squared himself with the chief of police, and registered as a guest of the chamber of commerce.

September 23, 1899

Women’s Press Club

A movement has been started by local women who write for the press to establish a women’s press club in Seattle. The parties are working quietly but hope to secure the cooperation of all the Seattle women who have written for publication.

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Population and featured photo from Wikipedia.


  • Ruth Cox September 18, 2017 at 12:41 PM

    Now, if history had been this much fun back in school I might have paid a tidbit more attention! I enjoyed, especially learning about Uncle Sam — Colburn!

    • KarenB October 13, 2017 at 8:26 AM

      Thank you for your comment and I am sorry I have been so slow to reply. We’ve had company for the past three weeks. I agree history would have been more fun even if a few items like this were included.


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