The Congressional Nursery

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Politics & Government

Two very happy announcements arrived last week — both involving babies, congresswomen, and Washington State.  We have photos and a list.

The first happy news was an announcement from Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the U.S. Representative from Washington’s 5th Congressional District:

“Brian, Cole, Grace, and I are thrilled to welcome Brynn Catherine to our family!  (Born at 6:19 am on Nov. 24, weighing 7 lbs. 6 oz.) Nothing compares to the miracle of bringing a new  life into the world.  She’s beautiful and seems to be taking it all in stride.  Our hearts are full.”

Politicians have had children before, of course, but considering the overwhelming majority of office holders in American history have been male, it’s been a rarity for a member of Congress to give birth.  The first was Rep. Yvonne Burke of California.  Burke had a daughter on Nov 23, 1973 — 40 years and a day before McMorris Rodgers — while serving the first of her three congressional terms.  A generation passed before a second congresswoman became a mother in 1995.  Two more representatives gave birth the following year before another quiet decade in the congressional nursery slipped by.

McMorris Rodgers ended that quiet. You’ll notice the names Cole and Grace in the announcement above.  They were born to the representative and her husband Brian in 2007 and 2010 respectively.  So not only is the Spokane Republican the most recent congresswoman to have a baby, she was also the first to give birth twice — and now three times — while in office.  And she’s not exactly neglecting her day job.  McMorris Rodgers is in the House leadership, the chair of the House Republican Conference, and the highest ranking Republican woman in Congress.

The second happy news story involved Jaime Herrera Beutler, Republican U.S. Representative from Washington’s 3rd Congressional District.  Herrera Beutler had a baby this year herself, but she (Abigail) was born 12 weeks premature with Potter’s Syndrome, a serious and usually fatal condition that stifles the development of the kidneys and lungs.  Since her birth on July 15, Abigail has been living in a California hospital getting remarkable care.  She was born without kidneys and will need a transplant eventually, but thanks to an experimental procedure suggested by doctors at Johns Hopkins, she has not only beaten the odds and survived, but has gotten stronger.  Last week the “miracle baby” was released to an outpatient care facility and is expected to go home to Camas for the first time by Christmas.

So congratulations and best wishes to both Washington congresswomen and their families!  And welcome to the world, Abigail and Brynn.  Your moms have delivered four of the only twelve babies ever born to members of Congress.


Birth Baby Name Congresswoman Life Party/ State Term
1. 1973 girl Autumn Roxanne Yvonne Braithwaite Burke 1932- D-CA 1973-79
2. 1995 girl Elizabeth Enid Greene Waldholtz 1958- R-UT 1995-97
3. 1996 girl Susan Ruby Susan Molinari 1958- R-NY 1990-97
4&5. 1996 boys Reece & Bennett Blanche Lincoln 1960- D-AR 1993-97*
6. 2007 boy Cole Cathy McMorris Rodgers 1969- R-WA 2005-
7. 2008 boy Henry Kirsten Gillibrand 1966- D-NY 2007-09*
8. 2008 boy Zachary Stephanie Herseth Sandlin 1970- D-SD 2004-11
9. 2009 boy Joaquin Linda Sánchez 1969- D-CA 2003-
10. 2010 girl Grace Blossom Cathy McMorris Rodgers   R-WA
11. 2013 girl Abigail Rose Jaime Herrera Beutler 1978- R-WA 2011-
12. 2013 girl Brynn Catherine Cathy McMorris Rodgers   R-WA

Six states.  Nine women.  Twelve babies.  Six boys, six girls.  Six baby Democrats (5 boys, 1 girl), six baby Republicans (1 boy, 5 girls).

*Lincoln later served in the Senate 1999-2011. Gillibrand later served in the Senate 2009-present.

PHOTOS: Both photos appearing in this article were posted on the congresswomen’s Facebook pages.  We intended to use official photos received from congressional offices when we conceived (no pun intended) and researched this list in June.  But mother-and-baby photos are so much better.  Duh!

SOURCES: The terms of office were taken from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.  Baby names and birth years were culled from official online biographies and dozens of news articles concerning the  various congresswomen.


College Football Virtual Standings, 2013

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Sports & Recreation

The Lutes have reclaimed the crown.  With eight wins, Scott Westering’s squad earned the best record among the state’s college football teams in 2013.  That means we can declare Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma our third annual WA-List virtual state champion.

Over the last three years we have run “virtual standings” on the WA-List home page for all seven local teams as if they were competing in a regular season state league all their own. It is a way to track who is doing well regardless on which level of competition they played.

Pacific Lutheran won the title in 2011, too.  A modest 6-3 record that year was sufficient to edge out the rest of the state’s teams. Despite improving to 7-2 in 2012, the Lutes lost the virtual state championship to Eastern Washington University (9-2).  Ironically, Eastern improved its record again this year, but couldn’t overtake PLU in our regular-season standings.

Improving seasons appear to be contagious.  Since we began our virtual standings, not only have PLU and Eastern steadily improved, but Washington and Central Washington have gotten better.  In fact, for six of the seven Washington college teams, 2013 was the best of the three seasons we’ve tracked.  Added together, Washington teams were 44 wins, 31 losses this year, up from 40-34 last year, and 31-42 in 2011.

We also want to mention that Eastern finished strong this year; they won their last 8 games and are continuing into the NCAA Division I championship bracket!* And we’re relieved that Puget Sound ended its 20 game losing streak at Whittier September 21, despite the fact they have lost all seven games since. (Hey, it’s a consequence of keeping score: someone wins, someone loses.)

Congratulations to the Pacific Lutheran Lutes for winning the state again this year!


October November
SCHOOL RECORD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Pacific Lutheran University 8-1 W W W L W W W W W
Eastern Washington University 10-2 W W L L W W W W W W W W
University of Washington 8-4 W W W W L L L W W L W W
Central Washington University 7-4 L W L W W W W L W L W
Washington State University 6-6 L W W W L W L L L W W L
Whitworth University 4-6 W W L L L L L W L W
University of Puget Sound 1-8 L W L L L L L L L

See also:  the 2011 and the 2012 virtual standings.

*PLU played in the NCAA Division III bracket but lost the opener to undefeated Linfield — the only team that defeated them during the regular season, too.


Review: Vanishing Tacoma

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Review

Described as a grand hotel unlike any other in the region, it was a meeting place for both society and business.  Then one night in 1935, the Tacoma Hotel went down in flames (right). Fortunately no one died in the fire, but the event was sad nevertheless because a landmark building was gone overnight.

A new book by Caroline Gallacci and Ron Karabaich illustrates this sort of story many times over.  Vanishing Tacoma, like most books in the Images of America series, uses captioned vintage black and white photographs to show the steady remaking of a city. Hotels, schools, banks, houses, and roads have come and gone.  One generation’s structures erase those before them.  Only a precious few survive.  The buildings that manage to grow old sometimes do so through the efforts of preservationists, but more often their longevity is due to the pure chance of being in a place that city planners, developers, or disasters didn’t find and destroy.  Time moves on.  A city is forever changing.

Vanishing Tacoma shows ghosts in plain view.  If you’re familiar with Tacoma, you might recognize in the photographs (like the one of North Tacoma Avenue near Division Street below) the curve of a hill or a building that still stands. Such clues may reveal places you know well.  But stark differences between a century-old photo and your modern reality can play games in your brain. You know the place, but the surroundings have utterly changed.  Ghosts.  Gone and mostly forgotten.  Replaced.

The fourteen images in the first chapter show neighborhood scenes a few decades on either side of 100 years ago. They are perhaps the best examples with which to compare today with that foreign land of the past.  Sequences of photos later in the book show specific properties over time, with the comings and goings of icons like the Charles Wright Building in downtown Tacoma and the Boathouse on the waterfront near Point Defiance.

Not all parts of the city are represented in the book, to be sure, and some photographs are not as interesting as readers might wish. The cover photo, for instance, was a curious choice to spotlight.  But many other photographs in the book simply reveal a past you may be entirely unfamiliar with: the “wild west” look of an unpaved Pacific Avenue in the 1890s, Sixth Avenue with streetcar tracks, the Crystal Palace Public Market, and the sturdy bicycle bridge spanning the gulch near Holy Rosary Church.

Cities change slowly but steadily.  The images in Vanishing Tacoma remind us how the present fades into the past one building, one paved road, and one ghost at a time.  Historians and preservationists try to prevent it, but even something of grandeur (and all the people who toiled on it or in it) can fade completely.  From our perspective of the Tacoma Hotel many decades after its fire, we see that not only has that grand hotel vanished from the city’s skyline; it has been erased from popular memory as well.  How many modern Tacomans know that such a grand hotel operated at Ninth & A for more than 50 years?  Or that it even existed at all?  Will the work of our lives vanish as well?

Vanishing Tacoma, $21.99, Arcadia Publishing. Available at local retailers, online bookstores, or through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com or 888-313-2665.

PHOTOS: courtesy Arcadia Publishing.


Bench-warmer: Supreme Court Longevity

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Politics & Government

Of the 108 men and 4 women who have served on the Supreme Court, only one rose from the state of Washington.  But that one — William O. Douglas — sat on the high court’s bench longer and wrote more opinions than all the rest.

Douglas was born in Minnesota on Oct 16, 1898.  His family moved west as his father took various jobs. When his father died in Portland, Douglas’ mother settled the family in Yakima.  Young William grew up in eastern Washington, hiked in the Cascade mountains, and graduated from Whitman College in 1920.  After teaching English at Yakima High School for a couple years, he entered Columbia Law School in New York.  By 1925, he had a law degree and began a career teaching at Columbia and Yale.  But his growing political connections served him well during the 1930s and he made a name for himself among Democratic Party leaders.  Only 14 years removed from law school, President Franklin D. Roosevelt nominated Douglas to the Supreme Court .  He was only 40 — one of the youngest justices ever.

His political and judicial leanings were progressive.  He supported FDR’s New Deal programs,  civil rights, and environmental activism.  His opinions often landed opposite others on the court who believed in judicial restraint. His court career was one of Constitutional reinterpretation more than precedent.

Politics aside, his remarkable tenure is the subject of today’s WA-List.  Douglas served on the Supreme Court from April 17, 1939, to November 12, 1975.  That’s 13,358 days — more than 2 years longer than anyone else before or since. During that 36.6 year span, he served with five chief justices and 23 associate justices.*  That made him a colleague to more than a quarter of all the members of the court in United States history!  Thirteen justices came and went entirely during his term.  He retired in 1975, due to declining health and died  January 19, 1980 at age 81 — three months shy of 41 years after taking the bench.

Today’s list shows all 14 justices who served 30 or more years on the US Supreme Court. Douglas tops the list, besting Stephen Field by 744 days. Remarkably, Douglas was succeeded on the court by John Paul Stevens, who himself made it to #3 on the list. That one seat, therefore, was occupied by only two men over a span of 71 years.  Stevens, who is still living at the time of this writing, would have surpassed Douglas on July 16, 2012, had he not retired.

The longest-serving current justice is Antonin Scalia, appointed by President Ronald Reagan. He took office September 26, 1986, and has served more than 27 years so far.  He would need to serve through April 25, 2023 to surpass Douglas.


Justice Term Years Served Appointed by Home state
1. William O. Douglas 36yr 6m 1939-1975 Franklin Roosevelt Washington**
2. Stephen J. Field 34yr 6m 1863-1897 Abraham Lincoln California
3. John Paul Stevens 34yr 6m 1975-2010 Gerald Ford Illinois
4. John Marshall, CJ 34yr 4m 1801-1835 John Adams Virginia
5. Hugo Black 34yr 1937-1971 Franklin Roosevelt Alabama
6. John Marshall Harlan 33yr 10m 1877-1911 Rutherford Hayes Kentucky
7. William Brennan, Jr 33yr 9m 1956-1990 Dwight Eisenhower New Jersey
8. William Rehnquist, CJ 33yr 7m 1972-2005 Richard Nixon Virginia
9. Joseph Story 33yr 7m 1812-1845 James Madison Massachusetts
10. James M. Wayne 32yr 5m 1835-1867 Andrew Jackson Georgia
11. John McLean 31yr 2m 1830-1861 Andrew Jackson Ohio
12. Byron White 31yr 2m 1962-1993 John Kennedy Colorado
13. Bushrod Washington 30yr 9m 1799-1829 John Adams Virginia
14. William Johnson 30yr 2m 1804-1834 Thomas Jefferson South Carolina

CJ=Chief Justice

*Douglas served with 28 justices (including 5 chief justices). The names make a long list unto themselves: Hugo Black, Harry Blackmun, William Brennan, Chief Justice Warren Burger, Harold Burton, Pierce Butler, James Byrnes. Tom Campbell, Abe Fortas, Felix Frankfurter, Arthur Goldberg, John Harlan, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, Robert Jackson, Thurgood Marshall, James McReynolds, Sherman Minton, Frank Murphy, Lewis Powell, Stanley Reed, Owen Roberts, Wiley Rutledge, Potter Stewart, Chief Justice Harlan Stone, Chief Justice Fred Vinson, Chief Justice Earl Warren, Byron White, and Charles Whittaker.

**Douglas was from Washington, as described above, but was appointed to the court officially as a Connecticut resident due to his association with Yale.

SOURCES: Dates were derived from The Supreme Court of the United States website.  Biographical information was culled from various sources and assorted personal files.


Washington from Space: A Quiz (2013)

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Geography & Geology, Quiz

Welcome to our second annual satellite image quiz!  There’s no place like home.  There’s no place like any place, really.  Shorelines, roads, forested land, and human development make each place unique.  This week we’re offering a list of satellite images* of specific places in Washington State.  Can you guess the location of each one?  We’ll add one image to our list each day this week.

  • Leave your guesses in the comments below — and in the spirit of the game, please post your guesses without verifying them first!
  • Be sure to include the number (or the day of the week) given for each image.
  • Come back each day for the next image.
  • Be sure to return Saturday for all the answers!

*All images shown are from either Google Maps or Google Earth.

#1 (MONDAY).  We’ll start out with what may be an easy location to guess.

#2 (TUESDAY). Today’s image might be more of a challenge.

#3 (WEDNESDAY). Deeper greens and blues than yesterday’s image.  Is the location easier to guess?

#4 (THURSDAY). Hmm. That’s a curious mix of building shapes. Where do you suppose it is?

#5 (FRIDAY). There are a few roads in this last image of the week. Where are they?

SATURDAY. Answers!  Thanks for playing this week.

  • Monday: Gas Works Park, Seattle. The water from Lake Union is just below the scene shown..
  • Tuesday: The Vancouver Land Bridge, a pedestrian overpass designed by Vietnam Veteran Memorial artist Maya Lin as part of the Confluence Project. It’s the first bridge over Highway 14 east of 1-5. You can walk it if you approach from the waterfront or Ft Vancouver National Park.
  • Wednesday: Cape Flattery, the extreme northwest tip of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Neah Bay is barely visible on the right.
  • Thursday: Washington State Penitentiary, Walla Walla.
  • Friday: Interstate 705, freshly sprung from I-5 in Tacoma — thus the multitude of  lanes — passing by the long, silvery Lemay Car Museum. The Tacoma Dome is outside of the frame to the right.

See also: The 2012 Quiz.


Health plans by the county

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Politics & Government
Important: WA-List is a media outlet.  We are not affiliated with the state government or any insurance company. For detailed information about the plans mentioned below (or enrollment instructions) please go to Washington’s state exchange.

Without getting into the politics1 of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) or discussing the federal government’s less than stellar rollout this month2,  we thought we’d take a quick look at the insurance options on Washington’s state exchange.  We knew Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler took on the authority to approve or deny plans, but we hadn’t seen any news reports specifying which companies had received his yeas or nays until we researched today’s lists.  We also didn’t know the extent to which those options varied county by county.  We worked it all out, though, and created the lists below. 

Kreidler approved eight health insurance companies for the state exchange before it opened October 1.  Seven of the eight serve residents in King County and Spokane County.  Six counties (Asotin, Clallam, Garfield, Jefferson, Klickitat, Lincoln, and Skamania) are limited to only two competing companies.

That geographic disparity in companies leads to a sliding scale in the number of available health plan options, too.  The federal ACA categorizes insurance plans by the scope of coverage, and among the plans approved by Kreidler, there are 12 gold plans, 17 silver, 14 bronze, and 2 catastrophic.  That’s 45 total options.  But no county in Washington has access to all 45.  King and Spokane have 38 available; Clark has 18.  Everyone else falls somewhere in between.  Eighteen counties have no catastrophic insurance options.  None have an approved platinum plan — the ACA’s highest grade.

The first of our two lists below identify the eight state-approved insurance providers, ranked by the number of counties each serves.  The second list shows which companies serve each of Washington’s 39 counties.


  • LifeWise (LW): 39 counties; 8 plans = 2 Gold 3 Silver 3 Bronze
  • Premera Blue Cross (PBC): 38 counties; 16 plans = 4 Gold 6 Silver 6 Bronze
  • Community Health Plan (CHPW): 26 counties; 3 plans = 1 Gold 1 Silver 1 Bronze
  • Group Health Cooperative (GHC): 19 counties; 4 plans =  1 Gold 1 Silver 1 Bronze 1 Catastrophic
  • Coordinated Care (CC): 14 counties; 3 plans = 1 Gold 1 Silver 1 Bronze
  • BridgeSpan Health Company (BSHC): 7 counties; 3 plans = 1 Gold 1 Silver 1 Bronze
  • Molina Health Plan (MHP): 3 counties; 3 plans = 1 Gold 1 Silver
  • Kaiser Foundation (KF): 2 counties; 7 plans = 1 Gold 3 Silver 2 Bronze 1 Catastrophic

Adams LW PBC CHPW   CC      
Asotin LW PBC            
Benton LW PBC CHPW GHC CC      
Chelan LW PBC CHPW   CC      
Clallam LW PBC            
Clark LW   CHPW         KF
Columbia LW PBC   GHC        
Cowlitz LW PBC CHPW         KF
Douglas LW PBC CHPW   CC      
Ferry LW PBC CHPW          
Franklin LW PBC CHPW GHC CC      
Garfield LW PBC            
Grant LW PBC CHPW   CC      
Grays Harbor LW PBC CHPW   CC      
Island LW PBC   GHC        
Jefferson LW PBC            
Kittitas LW PBC   GHC        
Klickitat LW PBC            
Lewis LW PBC CHPW GHC        
Lincoln LW PBC            
Mason LW PBC   GHC        
Okanogan LW PBC CHPW          
Pacific LW PBC CHPW          
Pend Oreille LW PBC CHPW          
San Juan LW PBC   GHC        
Skamania LW PBC            
Stevens LW PBC CHPW          
Wahkiakum LW PBC CHPW          
Walla Walla LW PBC CHPW GHC CC      
Whatcom LW PBC CHPW GHC        
Whitman LW PBC   GHC        
Yakima LW PBC CHPW GHC CC      

1 We try to be non-partisan here.
2 That’s the OTHER Washington, for crying out loud..

 SOURCES: Most information on this list was culled from Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner press releases dated Aug 1, Aug 30, Sep 4, and Sep 5.  Additional information was received after queries to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner and Coordinated Care.


Sunblock: The Next 50 Years of Solar Eclipses in Washington

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Geography & Geology

The Northwest is not exactly famous for its sunshine. Would we miss it if it was taken away?  Suddenly?  Sure, a miles-thick nimbostratus might darken our skies from time to time and volcanic ash has been known to turn some of our cities’ noontimes to night, but how often does several thousand miles of solid rock come between us and our favorite star?

Not often at all.*  The last total solar eclipse — an astronomical phenomenon caused by the moon passing between the earth and the sun thereby casting a shadow on us — visible from anywhere in the state of Washington happened more than 30 years ago.

I remember that morning, February 26, 1979, because we kids were permitted to linger at home an hour before going to school.  The sun came up somewhere behind the clouds, everything went dark for a few minutes, then daylight resumed.  Had I been with my brother in Maryhill I might have witnessed the moon’s disc slide completely across the sun, banishing daylight and calling back the stars for a few minutes.  But even in overcast Tacoma the peculiar mid-morning nightfall was fascinating.

Many years have passed since then. Will totality strike Washington again soon?  For today’s list we decided to spin the astrolabe 50 years into the future and list all the eclipses that might be visible from here. About twenty partial eclipses are due in that coming half century, starting with one precisely a year from today: Oct 23, 2014.  The best eclipse of the lot, however, will come 34 months later on August 21, 2017.  At about 10:20 that Monday morning, the thin shadow of totality will slide into northern Oregon from the Pacific and roll east and south toward South Carolina.  If you watch from anywhere in Washington, you’ll see a partial eclipse.  With 99% of the sun covered, Vancouver will have an almost total eclipse, but you’d have to venture still farther south — near Salem, Oregon — to be cast into the pits of darkness.**  The two-minutes of totality coupled with the much longer partial eclipse phase fore and aft might be worth the short trip to the Beaver State.  We’ll have a close call with an annular eclipse streaking through Oregon in 2023, too.

FAR FUTURE:  We looked for the holy grail — a total eclipse in the state — but couldn’t find one any time soon.   Not in this century, at least.  The closest after 2017, won’t come until September 14, 2099.  That’s right: 2099!  That’s when a totality shadow will pass through British Columbia north of us.  The main shadow of an annular eclipse, however, will next cross through Washington on July 3, 2094.  It will cut a wide diagonal path from Bellingham to Clarkston and all parts south and west.  The remainder of the state — the north central, northeast, and Spokane areas — will be in the partial shadow.  Another annular eclipse will graze the Longview and Vancouver area Nov 15, 2077.  Each of these three events, of course, involve a very long wait.  It might be best to enjoy the partial eclipse of 2014, plan for the near-total eclipse in 2017, and for goodness sake hope for good weather.


2014 Oct 23 Partial Partial throughout Washington.
2017 Aug 21 Total Partial throughout Washington, but very near total. The path of totality runs horizontally across northern Oregon. Vancouver and Portland will be 99% total; Salem 100%.
2023 Oct 14 Annular Partial throughout Washington. The path of annularity runs through Oregon.
2024 Apr 8 Total Partial throughout Washington.
2026 Aug 12 Total Partial in extreme northeast Washington only, if at all.
2029 Jan 14 Partial Partial throughout Washington.
2033 Mar 30 Total Partial throughout Washington.
2039 Jun 21 Annular Partial throughout Washington.
2040 Nov 4 Partial Partial throughout Washington.
2043 Apr 9 Total Partial throughout Washington.
2044 Aug 23 Total Partial throughout Washington.
2045 Aug 12 Total Partial throughout Washington.
2046 Feb 5 Annular Partial throughout Washington, with the path of annularity ending near the Oregon-Idaho border.
2048 Jun 11 Annular Partial throughout Washington.
2052 Mar 30 Total Partial throughout Washington.
2054 Sep 2 Partial Partial throughout Washington.
2055 Jun 27 Partial Partial throughout Washington.
2056 Jan 16 Annular Partial throughout Washington.
2057 Jul 1 Annular Partial throughout Washington.

*Solar eclipses are not common.   There are typically two or three somewhere in the world during any given year and not all of them are total eclipses.  They might be annular.  That’s when the moon, farther away than normal, isn’t large enough to cover the sun, but manages to block most of its center and  leave a bright ring-of-fire around it.  There are also partial eclipses in which the moon passes above or below and merely grazes part of the sun’s disc.  Even the few that are total reach totality along only a very narrow ribbon of the earth’s surface.  And that ribbon is more likely to cast a shadow across open ocean than any particular landmass.  So it’s a special event when the moon passes in front of the sun where you happen to be.  Most people yearning to see an eclipse must travel.  And hope for good weather when they get there.

**I’m sure being cast into the pits of darkness is not what most visitors expect when they visit Salem.  Or even Eugene.

PHOTO: The corona of the sun during a total eclipse, August, 1905.

SOURCES:  This list was long in the making.  We  first learned of the 2017 eclipse in 1979 — long before WA-List was a household name.  In more recent years, we sifted through various reports and resources that calculated eclipses.  Dates worldwide were easy to come by, but detailed shadows maps were not.  Some maps were excellent in an astronomical sense, but were understandably not designed to be precise down to a state boundary level.  As a consequence, it took some time to determine how close some eclipse shadows approached Washington.  We believe our final list is accurate.  The Astronomy Department at the University of Washington kindly confirmed our dearth of total eclipses through the next century and shared the main shadow tracks of several of our closest encounters.  The best sources for eclipse data that we found online included the US Naval Observatory, the UK Hydrographic Office, the International Astronomical Union, MrEclipse.com, and eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov.


Lunch in a bag

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Business & Industry

On a road trip this summer we couldn’t help notice the omnipresence of Jack in the Box.  The square sign seemed to appear at every other interstate exit ramp and it was often the first restaurant on the adjacent street.  We did a check and discovered there were 148 JITBs in the state of Washington.

It turns out that’s only good enough for fourth place in today’s WA-List.  You’ll find even more Starbucks, Subways, and McDonald’s. There are enough Starbucks, in fact, to evenly distribute one store into every 10×10 mile square in Washington.  Our curiosity was peeked.  We set out to compile a ranking of fast food sites in Washington.

NOTES: WA-List does not endorse any of these companies.  We merely wanted to see how common they were.  No fries or shakes were consumed in the endeavor.  Be sure to see our methodology, omissions, and sources below.


Chain Type # of stores in WA   # of stores in USA  
Starbucks Snack  693  (a) 11,128  
Subway Sandwich 465 (b) 25,549  
McDonald’s Burger  266  (a) 14,157  
Jack in the Box Burger  148  (c) 2,250  
Papa Murphy’s Pizza & pasta  128  (d) 1,329  
Domino’s Pizza Pizza & pasta  112  (a)  4,928  
Burger King Burger 108 (b) 7,183  
Pizza Hut Pizza & pasta  106  (d)  6,209  
Baskin-Robbins Snack  103  (d)  2,463  
Dairy Queen Burger  102  (a)  4,462  
Taco Bell Mexican 93 (b) 5,262  
KFC Chicken  80  (d)  4,556  
Wendy’s Burger  76  (a)  5,817  
Quiznos Sandwich  67  (a)  2,353  
Arby’s Sandwich  58  (a)  3,354  
Panda Express Asian  58  (a)  1,533  
Papa John’s Pizza & pasta  52  (e)  3,131  
Jimmy John’s Sandwich  47  (e)  1,560  
Little Caesars Pizza & pasta 45 (b) 3,725  
Jamba Juice Snack  38  (a)  774  
Panera Bread Sandwich  24  (a)  1,652  
Carl’s Jr Burger  22  (a)  1,124  
Qdoba Mexican Grill Mexican  21  (a)  627  
Five Guys Burgers & Fries Burger  20  (e)  1,105  
Chipotle Mexican Grill Mexican  17  (a)  1,410  
Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen Chicken  12  (e)  1,679  
Sbarro Pizza & pasta  12  (e)  611  
Sonic Drive-In Burger  10  (a)  3,556  
Einstein Bros. Bagels Sandwich  9  (e)  534  
Long John Silver’s Seafood  7  (a)  911  
Krispy Kreme Snack  6  (e)  239  
Church’s Chicken Chicken  3  (e)  1,202  
Wingstop Chicken  3  (e)  533  
Del Taco Mexican  2  (e) 551  

Top national chains with no Washington locations:  Bojangles’, Boston Market, Captain D’s, Checkers/Rally’s, Chick-fil-A, CiCi’s Pizza, Culver’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, El Pollo Loco, Hardee’s, In-N-Out Burger, Jason’s Deli, Krystal, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Steak ‘n Shake, Tim Hortons, Whataburger, White Castle, and Zaxby’s.  We believe at least three of these chains have had Washington locations in the past.

Top national chains with a disproportionate number of Washington locations:  Of the fast food restaurants that made the final list, we ran calculations to see which ones proliferate in Washington at a higher rate than the national average.  The “Disproportionate Top 5” were Papa Murphy’s (with our state hosting 9.6% of the US total), Jack in the Box (6.6%), Starbucks (6.2%), Jamba Juice (4.9%), and Baskin-Robbins (4.2%).

PHOTO of street in North Bend featuring Burger King, Taco Time, Arby’s, Starbucks, and McDonald’s © Steve Campion.

METHODOLOGY: We started with the QSR 50, an industry ranking of the largest fast food (“quick service”) restaurants in America.  QSR Magazine’s lists for 2012 and 2013 gave us 52 chains to investigate.  We sought location data directly from the companies themselves.  That was possible in many cases, but not all.  Several chains ignored our repeated requests, leading us to derive data from other sources.  The numbers are in constant flux, too, since stores open and close throughout the year.  We believe our final list is reasonably accurate; a snapshot of restaurant locations during late summer, 2013.

OMISSIONS: Sadly, this methodology left out a few chains that Northwesterners are quite familiar with, including Abbie’s Pizza, Blimpie, Burgerville USA, Dick’s, Ivar’s, Skipper’s, and Taco Time (which even appears in our photo above, second from left).  After much deliberation we chose to exclude them because we couldn’t be sure we’d find all of the small local chains if we strayed from the national list. We could easily get tangled by definitions, too. Frisko Freeze, for example, has been a fast food landmark in Tacoma for 60+ years and had multiple locations for a while. But it’s back to one location again. Is it a chain?  Are Starbucks and Papa Murphy’s fast food? We had to start our list somewhere and the QSR 50 seemed the most reasonable. If we find reliable sources of information, we’ll gladly post all (or most) of the local chains in an exclusive  future list.

SOURCES: The number of national locations come from QSR 50’s 2012 data, except for those of Sbarro and Einstein Bros. Bagels which come from 2011 data.  The number of Washington locations are from late summer, 2013.  It was collected from several sources (labeled by letter in the list’s fourth column and described below).  We tried to get direct confirmation from each of the fast food companies themselves and thank those companies marked with (a) or (c).  They responded to our query in a straight-forward manner — either by email or return phone call.  Companies labeled (e) had straightforward website location finders. The others — marked with (b) or (d) — were not cooperative with our quest, and remained silent despite two, three, and even four contact attempts by phone or email.  We did our best to derive  location estimates from other sources .

  • (a) email correspondence with the company
  • (b) database search within DemographicsNow via Pierce County Library
  • (c) telephone confirmation with the company
  • (d) estimate based on limited information on the company’s website
  • (e) data collected from the company’s website

Seattle Pioneers in Prime Time

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Arts, Culture & Media

Asa Mercer took on a crazy idea. In 1864, the first president of what became the University of Washington sailed back East and tried to gather a ship full of women and return them to Seattle where a disproportion of single men eagerly awaited potential brides. He convinced only 11 women to make the trip.

No matter. Producers in TV Land liked the story and built a television series around it. On Sept 25, 1968, with an opening featuring a stereopticon and an instrumental version of “Seattle (The Bluest Skies You’ve Ever Seen),” ABC introduced America to a fanciful version of Seattle’s pioneer logging days. “Here Come the Brides” ran for 2 seasons.

The show centered on the fictional Bolt Brothers (the three men in the image, right).  They owned a logging operation and a forested mountain within jogging distance of Seattle. They were in constant conflict with Aaron Stempel, wealth personified, who owned the mill and a fair share of the town. When the Bolts weren’t trying to keep Bridal Veil Mountain from the entrepreneurial hands of Stempel (or those of any traveling huckster), they were struggling to keep the 100 brides happy in their new frontier home. None of this was based on fact. Hollywood seldom requires that.

For today’s WA-List, we present the characters and actors who appeared in at least half of the show’s 52 episodes, and include a few miscellaneous facts about them — including more than a few surprising connections with Star Trek.


The Bolt Brothers

  • Jason Bolt (Robert Brown). We think the oldest brother of the Bolt clan is a separated-at-birth-candidate with Grant Goodeve, the Eight is Enough actor and current host of Northwest Backroads. Jason was the biggest man in TV’s version of Seattle and kept things productive and orderly — even if he did get hot-tempered from time to time. Actor Brown appeared as Lazarus in Star Trek (“The Alternative Factor” episode), and appeared as different characters in three different episodes of Perry Mason.
  • Joshua Bolt (David Soul). A few years after HCTB, Soul got a part on a little hit show called Starsky and Hutch. Soul was Hutch. He also dabbled in a music career and landed a record on the pop charts. Star Trek experience? Yes. He played Makora in “The Apple” episode.
  • Jeremy Bolt (Bobby Sherman). The actor who played the youngest Bolt brother became a teen idol in the pop music world for a few minutes (or a little longer). He even recorded a version of the series’ theme song. It never appeared on the series, but he did sing at least once on the show. Jeremy’s character was in love with Candy, the leader of the brides. Of the four actors appearing in all 52 epsiodes of HCTB, Bobby Sherman is the only one who never appeared in Star Trek.

The Money

  • Aaron Stempel (Mark Lenard). The owner of Seattle’s lumber mill put up most of the money to bring the brides to Seattle but his bet with the Bolt brothers would win him ownership of their mountain if even one bride left town before a year was over. You might also recognize the actor who played Stempel from Star Trek. Mark Lenard portrayed Sarek, Spock’s father, in two different Star Trek series and four Star Trek movies.
    • The Sempel-Sarek connection was so great that a 1985 sci-fi novel by Barbara Hambly led Spock to 19th century Here Come the Brides Seattle to thwart a Klingon plot to destroy the Federation. Ailing in Seattle, Spock was cared for by Sempel, who Capt. Kirk later discovered was Spock’s maternal ancestor. How’s that for a tangled weave of actors’ resumes, television characters, and historical and science fiction storylines? It’s a shame Murray Morgan never included a chapter on Spock in his classic Skid Road history of Seattle!

The Women

  • Candy Pruitt (Bridget Hanley). Candy was Jeremy’s sweetheart and the spokesperson for the brides on the show. Hanley was the only cast member to have been born in Seattle, albeit about 100 years after the her character would have been born in New England. The actor never appeared on Star Trek, but we did confuse her name with the author of the aforementioned Star Trek-Here Come the Brides novel as we prepared this list.
  • Lottie Hatfield (Joan Blondell). Lottie’s bar was the main interior set on the show. In various episodes, Lottie’s was the social center of town, as well as the courthouse, gaming room, and go-to place for business negotiations and brawls. Joan Blondell was a veteran actress starting in 1930, but may be best known to younger audiences as the principal of Rydell High in the movie Grease. Believe it or not, she even made a guest appearance on co-star David Soul’s Starsky and Hutch in 1976. Her character name? Mrs. Pruitt. Hmm. That was Candy’s last name, not Lottie’s!

Other Cast

  • Biddie Cloom (Susan Tolsky). Biddie was Candy’s inexhaustibly talkative best friend.
  • Capt. Roland Clancey (Henry Beckman). Clancey was a sea captain who appeared to be the only sailor willing to land in Seattle. The episodes featured very few other captains or ships. Clancey’s fondness for alcohol led him to Lottie’s and his fondness for Lottie increasingly made him a regular character in the show’s second season. Actor Beckman lived in Deming, Washington for a few years after HCTB concluded.
  • Ben (Hoke Howell). Owner of Seattle’s general store.


  • Asa Mercer brought 11 “Mercer Girls” to Seattle in 1864, far fewer than he had planned. Three years later he made a second trip back east hoping to enlist 700 single women, but convinced only about 40 more.
  • The TV series’ theme was an instrumental version of Hugh Montenegro’s “Seattle” during its first season. A choral arrangement of the song was added for season 2.  I’ve heard several people argue that Perry Como sang the theme for the show.  Nope.  He recorded a popular version but it wasn’t for the show.
  • Blondell died in 1979, Lenard in 1996, Howell in 1997, and Beckman in 2008. The other five actors (who played the Bolt brothers, Candy, and Biddie) are still living.
  • We frequently mentioned Star Trek in this list, but that was not the only common parallel TV series. Three of the actors here appeared in Love, American Style and three were passengers aboard the Love Boat. Unfortunately, Clancey was not among the latter. He could have skippered the ship.

SOURCES: Actor names and resume information was derived from the Internet Movie Database. We also learned much about the characters and fictional history of Seattle by watching all 52 episodes of the Here Come the Brides series. The true story of the Mercer Girls has been told many times, including a chapter in Totem Tales of Old Seattle by Gordon Newell and Don Sherwood. Murray Morgan (Skid Road) and William C. Speidel (Sons of the Profits) briefly wrote about the matter in their books. We discovered the Ishmael book accidentally while doing this research. It came up in a search of library catalogs.


Carriage Returns: Northwest Carriage Museum in Raymond

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Transportation

“Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry
When I take you out in the surrey,
When I take you out in the surrey with the fringe on top!”
–From Oklahoma! by Rodgers and Hammerstein, 1943

Who wouldn’t want to go for a ride in a surrey? Or zip across town in a Hansom cab? Or ride in style in a C-Spring?

Carriages are nostalgic in this age of automobiles; the stuff of Sherlock Holmes movies and old black & white photos. We’re more than a century removed from the heyday of horse-drawn carriages and we seldom see them — even at pioneer fairs or parades. Imagine our surprise, then, when we stumbled upon an entire museum of carriages in the Pacific County city of Raymond. If that wasn’t astonishing enough, the carriages on display were not worn-out buckboards showing their age. One hundred fifty years old? These look like they are still in a dealer’s showroom. Did they have carriage showrooms in the 19th century? Maybe you should ask when you visit.

This unlikely but remarkable museum grew from the collection of Raymond residents Gary and Cec Dennis. They had been collecting and restoring antique carriages on their property for years. Credit them (and NWCM curator Jerry Bowman) for the selection and condition of many of the vehicles. Some retain their original upholstery!

In 1999, the Dennises offered to donate the carriages to the city if it would build a museum to house them. The city agreed and the Northwest Carriage Museum opened in Raymond in 2002. The restored carriages are things of beauty and the museum’s displays and lighting are top-notch.

As we strolled through the halls, taking our own sweet 19th century time, we began compiling a list: An illustrated sampling of carriages, coaches, and wagons. That list appears below and features 14 carriages including a hearse and a sleigh. Three have Hollywood resumes. All are fine specimens of 19th century American and British transportation, superbly maintained, and just a bit dreamy. In the days of the horse-drawn carriage, many of these were status symbols — signs of wealth and elegance. They not only carried people from place to place but displayed their passengers to onlookers. You can’t see fine details in these small web photos, but you can get very close at the museum where anything from the headlights and seats to the paint detailing and wheels might fascinate you. We had to omit some other interesting artifacts: an 1850s London road coach, a governess cart, a social vis-à-vis, and a produce wagon among others. And we haven’t even mentioned the carriage maker’s tool wall and replica school room for children. You’ll have to see those when you visit.

The Northwest Carriage Museum (NWCM).

  • Location: 314 Alder St, Raymond, WA 98577.
  • Open: May-Sept: Daily. Oct-Apr: Wed-Sun. Check the website for specific open hours.
  • Phone: 360-942-4150
  • Website: NWCarriageMuseum.org


C-Spring Dress Landau. This carriage is the museum’s star attraction. It greets visitors as they come in. (A side view is shown above.) It’s a convertible with a top that collapses in two halves behind either of the facing passengers. They could have the top down in good weather or simply when the riders desired to be seen. Status was everything. The driver, perched high on a completely different plane (and social level) was more a part of the horse team than the human carriage riders.
Shelburne Landau. This carriage had a brief movie career, appearing in both Gone With the Wind (1939) and Jezebel (1938). Before and after its screen roles, however, it was left to deteriorate. It was twice restored — first by Hollywood in the 1930s, then by the Dennises in 1993. The Landau was typically a carriage for the wealthy and owners often had a family crest visible on the door. It featured two heavy tops that could be locked together and folded down in good weather. See larger photo.
Top buggy. Smaller and lighter than the Landaus, a buggy was designed for one or two passengers and was pulled by a single horse. That made it versatile and quite fast. It could travel at 8 to 10 mph when the horse moved at a trot. (Fast is a relative term, mind you.) See larger photo.
Studebaker Stanhope. The museum’s 1895 Stanhope was a popular model from an Indiana company that came into being manufacturing wagons for farmers, miners, and the military. Its assembly process was efficient for its day, enabling Studebaker to mass produce wagons and carriages at prices below their competitors. The company continued production well into the automobile era. By the way, the Stanhope was an “izzer” at the time. Don’t know what that term meant? You’ll find out when you visit the museum.
Hansom Cab. Joseph Hansom patented the Hansom Safety Cab in Britain as early as 1834. Paying passengers sat under the cover between the two large wheels. The high dashboard in front allowed the horse to be harnessed close to the cab. Combined with a lower center of gravity, these features gave the Hansom Cab a reputation for speed and safety. The driver was perched very high behind the cab. From there he could see over the roof and open and close the doors. His control of the door latches, in fact, enabled him to keep his passengers locked tight until he collected his fare through a small trap door.
Spider Phaeton. Similar to the Top Buggy in looks and speed, this American carriage became known as a gentleman’s coach. It’s owner, usually young and male, drove it himself and might race other young men in friendly competitions. It was popular throughout the later half of the 19th century. The museum’s specimen sports a stylized heart-shaped lantern — ideal for the gentleman owner to use when courting. An outside rear seat enabled a footman or chaperone to go along for the ride but offered no view inside the main compartment.
C-Spring Victoria. While the young men sped through town in their Spider Phaetons, wealthy women showed off their fine clothes in this slower-moving carriage. Its open sides made dresses visible, and the continuous mud guard/step protected them from any wheel splatters. The shock absorbers and broad frame gave this vehicle a gentle ride, too. This particular carriage once appeared in The Little Princess, a 1939 Shirley Temple film. The museum left a child’s umbrella on the seat as a reminder. See larger photo.
Fringe Top Surrey. The surrey was a style that developed in the United States and was popular among people of modest incomes. We showed you this photo at the top of the page, but decided to show it again here within the list. Are you still humming the tune? See larger photo.
Kimball Town Coach. The newest acquisition to the museum was donated this summer by the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) in Seattle. It was built in Chicago in 1890, and was originally owned by Frederick Weyehaeuser’s brother-in-law F C A Denkmann. The two men partnered in the lumber industry along the Mississippi, and both eventually moved west. The carriage moved west with Denkmann’s grandson who did a partial restoration and kept it in a Bainbridge Island barn until donating it to MOHAI in 1963. It never made it into public display there, but finally had its public debut in Raymond 50 years later, after NWCM’s curator finished the restoration.
Summer Coupe Brougham. Smaller than a coach, this Brougham was a compact carriage set on a low frame. The driver rode outside in front, while his passengers had a single forward-facing bench in an enclosed, windowed cabin. The museum’s restorers had planned to paint this particular model but admired the natural wood color so much they merely stained it to bring out the rich brown. One feature we liked involved its steps. Step covers attached to the door collected the mud and dirt of street traffic while in motion. Open the door and the cover slides away to reveal a clean step. See larger photo.
Wagonette. This carriage was popular in England around 1850. Prince Albert introduced the style, but it became a vehicle for families who were not royal. It was perfect for country outings with family and friends.
Three-Spring Democrat. An ordinary people’s wagon was box-shaped and open — just as good carrying merchandise as people. As such it was popular as a work vehicle and a way to tote a large group of people for an outing. The museum’s Democrat is a reproduction and is the only one in the collection open to the public for sitting. Children can even dress the part. A rack of 19th century kids’ clothes can be seen on the wall behind the carriage. Let them play dress up, climb aboard, and snap some pictures.
Coachman’s Sleigh. No wheels, but it’s still a carriage. The proud owners of a sleigh like this would take it for a ride on winter days (the skids need snow!) when the weather was sunny and mild (since there’s no cover). It was definitely an attention-getter around town.

And now we come to the end of our list with a vehicle many people took during their last carriage ride: a morticians’ hearse. This one is large, has carved panels, an ice-box “basement”, and Hollywood credentials. It appeared in Gentleman Jim, a 1942 movie starring Erroll Flynn. See larger photo.

SOURCES: Notes taken at the museum, with some basic fact-checking, manufacturer’s information, and additional context researched using various websites. Laurie Bowman, the museum’s director, kindly allowed us to photograph the carriages for this article.

Kimball Town Coach courtesy of the NWCM
All other photos © Steve Campion