Sunrise, Sunset

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Geography & Geology

Whether you can see it or not, the sun rises over Washington everyday. Honest. Sometimes your only clue is the brightening of clouds. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the old orb itself.

We thought we’d step into the role of a Northwest almanac by creating a perpetual calendar of sunrises and sunsets — a list of times on a weekly basis throughout the year. We’ve been wanting one of these for years, so we’re as pleased as anyone that we finally got around to making it ourselves. We chose six geographically diverse cities so you can extrapolate times for your location by picking cities on either side of you and averaging their data, skewing toward the closer city. It might not give you a precise time but it should land you within a very few minutes.1

Once you know when they happen, we hope you enjoy every sunrise and sunset you’re lucky enough to experience.

Sunrise times are AM; sunsets are PM. Times displayed in italics are Pacific Daylight Time (PDT); all other times are Pacific Standard Time (PST).  Two non-header rows in the table are in bold type. Those dates fall during the weeks2 we transition between PST and PDT. Times in those rows are displayed as PST, so add one hour to the times if the specific day for which you’re calculating is daylight time.


Westport Seattle Wenatchee Spokane Bellingham Vancouver
rise set rise set rise set rise set rise set rise set
JAN 1 8:02 4:39 7:58 4:29 7:49 4:21 7:38 4:09 8:03 4:25 7:51 4:38
JAN 8 8:01 4:46 7:56 4:36 7:48 4:29 7:37 4:16 8:01 4:32 7:50 4:45
JAN 15 7:57 4:55 7:53 4:45 7:44 4:38 7:33 4:25 7:58 4:42 7:47 4:53
JAN 22 7:52 5:02 7:47 4:55 7:38 4:48 7:28 4:35 7:51 4:52 7:42 5:03
JAN 29 7:45 5:15 7:40 5:06 7:31 4:59 7:20 4:46 7:43 5:03 7:35 5:13
FEB 5 7:36 5:26 7:30 5:17 7:22 5:09 7:11 4:57 7:34 5:15 7:27 5:23
FEB 12 7:25 5:35 7:20 5:28 7:11 5:20 7:00 5:08 7:23 5:26 7:17 5:33
FEB 19 7:14 5:47 7:08 5:39 7:00 5:31 6:48 5:19 7:10 5:38 7:06 5:43
FEB 26 7:01 5:58 6:55 5:50 6:47 5:42 6:36 5:30 6:57 5:49 6:54 5:53
MAR 5 6:48 6:08 6:42 6:00 6:34 5:52 6:22 5:41 6:44 6:00 6:42 6:03
MAR 12 6:35 6:18 6:28 6:11 6:20 6:03 6:08 5:51 6:29 6:11 6:29 6:13
MAR 19 7:21 7:28 7:14 7:21 7:06 7:13 6:54 7:01 7:15 7:21 7:15 7:22
MAR 26 7:07 7:38 7:00 7:31 6:52 7:23 6:40 7:11 7:00 7:32 7:02 7:31
APR 2 6:54 7:47 6:46 7:41 6:38 7:33  6:26 7:21  6:45 7:42  6:49 7:40
APR 9 6:40 7:57 6:32 7:51  6:24 7:42  6:12 7:31  6:31 7:53  6:36 7:49
APR 16 6:27 8:06 6:18 8:01  6:11 7:52  5:59 7:41  6:17 8:03  6:23 7:58 
APR 23 6:14 8:16 6:06 8:10  5:58 8:02  5:46 7:51  6:04 8:14  6:11 8:08 
APR 30 6:03 8:26 5:54 8:20  5:46 8:12  5:34 8:01  5:51 8:24  6:00 8:17 
MAY 7 5:52 8:35 5:43 8:30  5:35 8:21  5:23 8:10  5:40 8:34  5:50 8:25 
MAY 14 5:43 8:44 5:33 8:39  5:26 8:30  5:13 8:20  5:30 8:44  5:41 8:34 
MAY 21 5:35 8:52 5:25 8:48  5:18 8:39  5:05 8:28  5:21 8:53  5:33 8:42 
MAY 28 5:28 9:00 5:18 8:55  5:11 8:47  4:59 8:36  5:14 9:01  5:27 8:49 
JUN 4 5:24 9:06 5:14 9:02  5:07 8:53  4:54 8:42  5:10 9:07  5:23 8:55 
JUN 11 5:22 9:11 5:11 9:07  5:04 8:58  4:52 8:47  5:07 9:13  5:21 9:00 
JUN 18 5:21 9:14 5:11 9:10 5:04 9:01 4:51 8:51 5:06 9:16 5:21 9:03
JUN 25 5:23 9:15 5:13 9:11  5:06 9:02  4:53 8:52  5:08 9:17  5:23 9:04 
JUL 2 5:27 9:14 5:16 9:10  5:09 9:01  4:56 8:51  5:12 9:16  5:26 9:03 
JUL 9 5:32 9:11 5:22 9:07  5:14 8:58  5:02 8:48  5:17 9:13  5:31 9:00 
JUL 16 5:38 9:06 5:28 9:02  5:21 8:53  5:08 8:43  5:24 9:07  5:37 8:56 
JUL 23 5:46 8:59 5:36 8:55  5:29 8:46  5:16 8:36  5:32 9:00  5:44 8:49 
JUL 30 5:54 8:51 5:44 8:46  5:37 8:38  5:25 8:27  5:41 8:51  5:52 8:41 
AUG 6 6:03 8:41 5:53 8:36  5:46 8:28  5:34 8:17  5:51 8:40  6:00 8:32 
AUG 13 6:12 8:30 6:03 8:25  5:55 8:16  5:43 8:05  6:00 8:28  6:09 8:21 
AUG 20 6:21 8:18 6:12 8:12  6:04 8:04  5:52 7:53  6:10 8:15  6:17 8:10 
AUG 27 6:30 8:05 6:21 7:59  6:14 7:51  6:02 7:40  6:20 8:02  6:26 7:57 
SEP 3 6:39 7:52 6:31 7:46  6:23 7:37  6:11 7:26  6:30 7:48  6:34 7:44 
SEP 10 6:48 7:38 6:40 7:31  6:32 7:23  6:20 7:12  6:40 7:33  6:43 7:31 
SEP 17 6:57 7:24 6:49 7:17  6:42 7:09  6:30 6:57  6:50 7:18  6:52 7:18 
SEP 24 7:06 7:10 6:59 7:03  6:51 6:55  6:39 6:43  7:00 7:03  7:00 7:04 
OCT 1 7:15 6:56 7:09 6:48  7:00 6:41  6:49 6:29  7:10 6:49  7:09 6:51 
OCT 8 7:25 6:42 7:18 6:34  7:10 6:27  6:59 6:15  7:21 6:32  7:18 6:37 
OCT 15 7:35 6:29 7:28 6:21  7:20 6:13  7:09 6:01  7:30 6:20  7:27 6:25 
OCT 22 7:45 6:17 6:39 6:08  7:30 6:01  7:19 5:49  7:41 6:07  7:37 6:13 
OCT 29 7:55 6:05 7:49 5:56  7:41 5:49  7:29 5:37  7:52 5:55  7:46 6:02 
NOV 5 7:05 4:55 7:00 4:46 6:51 4:38 6:40 4:26 7:03 4:43 6:56 4:52
NOV 12 7:15 4:45 7:10 4:36 7:02 4:29 6:51 4:16 7:14 4:33 7:06 4:43
NOV 19 7:25 4:38 7:21 4:28 7:12 4:21 7:01 4:09 7:25 4:25 7:16 4:36
NOV 26 7:35 4:32 7:30 4:23 7:22 4:15 7:11 4:03 7:35 4:19 7:25 4:31
DEC 3 7:44 4:29 7:39 4:19 7:30 4:12 7:20 3:59 7:44 4:15 7:33 4:28
DEC 10 7:51 4:28 7:47 4:18 7:38 4:10 7:27 3:58 7:52 4:14 7:40 4:27
DEC 17 7:57 4:29 7:52 4:19 7:44 4:11 7:33 3:59 7:58 4:14 7:46 4:28
DEC 24 8:00 4:32 7:56 4:22 7:47 4:15 7:37 4:02 8:02 4:18 7:49 4:31
DEC 31 8:02 4:38 7:58 4:27 7:49 4:20 7:38 4:08 8:03 4:23 7:51 4:36

1Sunrise and sunset times are dependent on east-west differences (just like time zones), directions somewhat close to north-south lines (due to the angle of the sun), elevation, and which year in the leap year cycle we’re in. We can’t account for all such factors with this simple list, so we’re seeking general estimates instead. After extrapolating, you should get times within a few minutes of accurate.  You might notice that the sun’s risings and settings take about 24-30 minutes to move across the state east (Spokane) to west (Westport) and, depending on the season, there is a 0 to 15 minute difference between north (Bellingham) and south (Vancouver) locations.

2The transition dates between standard and daylight time vary year to year, but always take place on the Sunday mornings between Mar 8-14 and Nov 1-7.

PHOTO of Mt Rainier Sunrise © Steve Campion, 2014

SOURCE: Sunrise and sunset times on this list are derived from 2014 ephemerides calculated by the US Naval Observatory. The times are reasonably accurate for any year, although they may vary by a minute or two within any leap year cycle.


26.2 or more (2014 edition)

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Sports & Recreation

Last year’s ultra list was a hit, so we’re bringing it back for 2014.

And why not?  There are enough marathons, ultramarathons, and long distance trail runs in the state to keep your feet hurting all year long. In fact, if you plan your trips well you can hit an organized 26.2 miler or greater almost every weekend of the year.

Below are the organized runs we found to be 26.2 miles or more. In some cases, shorter courses (half-marathons, 30Ks, etc) are associated with these events but they’re incidental as far as this list is concerned. We were only interested in the long run.

If there’s an organized ultra in Washington not listed here, please leave a comment here or on the WA-List Facebook page. We’d love to hear about it.

Note about websites: We tried to identify the official race website or the sponsoring running club for each event. Some of the runs did not have their websites set up or updated for 2014 by our publishing deadline in January. We’ll update the list as best we can throughout the year.  Always double-check race websites for the latest before you commit your running shoes to anything.














*An asterisk means the listing was added, updated, or confirmed after the initial publication of this list.

PHOTO by Rich White.

SOURCES: We started this list with a dozen well-known marathons in early 2013, then expanded as discoveries warranted. Ultrarunner Linda Barton, pictured in the photo above, offered additional suggestions. Thank you, Linda!  Most of the information on this list came from the running organizations’ websites themselves, 2013-14.


Where I Wandered: 2013

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Yada Yada

Publicly pointless, personally meaningful.  For the third year in a row, I’m tabulating my travels in a list.  No one cares where I wandered.  But I enjoy recalling the trips and activities and people I encounter each year.  This is my list.  Make your own!

After a rough, mostly home-bound 2012, I was back out on the road this year, bagging more than half of all Washington counties, and enjoying a long northeastern adventure. I’ve been to all 39 counties in Washington at least twice over the years.  In fact, I’ve been to 31 counties since WA-List launched two and a half years ago. (See my 2011 & 2012 lists.)

There’s plenty of interesting things to see and do and explore here. Our state has great variety in its landscapes, cityscapes, culture, art, agriculture, recreation, history, and people. It’s well worth wandering. That’s what I do. That’s what WA-List does. Thanks for traveling with me again this year! And if you’d like, please leave a comment saying where YOU wandered this year.


1. Pierce 13. Stevens
2. Thurston 14. Lincoln
3. King 15. Cowlitz
4. Spokane 16. Lewis
5. Ferry 17. Kittitas
6. Whatcom 18. Pacific
7. Okanogan 19. Chelan
8. Skagit 20. Pend Oreille
9. Snohomish 21. Douglas
10. Grays Harbor 22. Island
11. San Juan 23. Clark
12. Grant

SOURCE: Off the top of my head … and in some of my bills.

PHOTO of a Douglas County road © Steve Campion


Review: Vanishing Vancouver

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Review

“This city starts at Fifth Street.” It’s an accurate description. Downtown Vancouver grew from the Columbia River ferry landing a century and a half ago.  It was the logical point to walk off the boat from Portland and emerge in the business district.  Later it was the logical place to build the river bridge and the interstate highway.  Ah, there’s the rub.  Highways need space, and a large part of downtown was razed to let the cars flow through.  When you drive past Vancouver on Interstate 5 today, you are driving on the old downtown.  And what isn’t gone has greatly changed.

Vanishing Vancouver, a new book by Pat Jollota in the “Images of America” series, is a community photo album.  Like the people in an old family album, many of the landmarks in this book are no longer with us, and those that remain show a glint of familiarity but are noticeably different.  It’s fascinating to see the changes in buildings, streets, and vehicles.

If you’re familiar with Vancouver, you might recall some long-gone businesses like the Vancouver Brewery, Kaiser Shipyards, the Holland Restaurant, and Hi School Drug. You will also see early photos of an Igloo Restaurant, and Burgerville USA.

But need not be from Vancouver to be drawn into the history told on more than one hundred pages of captioned photos.  The city is the home of the earliest permanent European settlement in Washington.  It has served as an encampment for both British and American interests.  Ulysses Grant was stationed here before the Civil War and POWs were housed here during World War II.  Vancouver has hosted business and industry for nearly two hundred years.  History has continuously changed the landscape and the urban appearance.  The photographs in Jollota’s book captures many of the ghosts of this vanished past.

You’ll see images of the Columbia River — frozen.  (A plane is parked on the ice in one photo.)  You’ll see a parade of Prunarians. They were an important group 100 years ago, but seem rather curious from the perspective of 2013.  And you’ll learn about the Witness Tree (pictured at right) that served as the basis of the street grid and all property claims in town.

Whether buildings succumb to highways, civic developers, new technologies, fire, flood, or abandonment, all cities change.  It is very easy to not notice the changes that happen gradually.  It is far easier to forget things that have vanished completely.

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

One more thing:  Knowing of the modern city center west of Interstate 5, I was fascinated to see images of the older, now-missing downtown.  The pictures reminded me of Tumwater, another Washington city that yielded its central business district to I-5 pavement.  (See Tumwater by Heather Lockman and Carla Wulfsberg, another book in the “Images of America” series.)

PHOTOS: courtesy Arcadia Publishing.


Top Dawgs

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Sports & Recreation

After an 8-4 bowl-bound season, Husky head coach Steve Sarkisian packed his bags.  He’s left the University of Washington football program after five years to return to USC where he previously worked as an assistant coach.  He didn’t even wait to find out which bowl game the Huskies would be playing.  Tally his five seasons at UW and you’ll find 34 wins, 29 losses, three postseason appearances, and one bowl win.  The 2013 Apple Cup win over the Cougars earned him the last  win he needed to rise on the all-time Husky win list (below) over Coach Rick Neuheisel who reached 33 wins in only 4 seasons about a decade ago.

The Huskies have played under 27 head coaches since their first games in 1892.  There may be no argument who among them was the most successful.  The late Don James trotted onto the filed at Husky Stadium 18 seasons and won almost three out of every four games.  The “Dawgfather” also had ten bowl game victories, one national championship, and a trophy case full of coaching awards.  His nearest rival might be Gil Dobie who coached nine undefeated seasons (and whom we featured in A Gloomy Success).  Yes, that really is a zero in his loss column!  John Cherberg, a beloved but not-so-successful coach, converted his popularity into a political career.  He served as lieutenant governor for the next three decades, 1957-1989!

Now that Sarkisian has coached his last Husky game, we wanted to see how he ranked on the all-time list.  He’s 7th in wins, and 15th in winning percentage.  Sarkaisian fared better than his two immediate predessors, Keith Gilbertson and Tyrone Willingham.  They were two of only eight UW coaches with losing records.


Rank Coach Year(s) Wins Losses Ties Percentage
 1  Don James  1975–1992  153  57  2  .726
 2  Jim Owens  1957–1974  99  82  6  .545
 3  James Phelan  1930–1941  65  37  8  .627
 4  Enoch Bagshaw  1921–1929  63  22  6  .725
 5  Gil Dobie  1908–1916  58  0  3  .975
 6  Jim Lambright  1993–1998  44  25  1  .636
 7  Steve Sarkisian  2009–2013  34  29  0  .540
 8  Rick Neuheisel  1999–2002  33  16  0  .673
 9  Ralph Welch  1942–1947  27  20  3  .570
 10  Howard Odell  1948–1952  23  25  2  .480
 11  James Knight  1902–1904  15  4  1  .775
 12  Tyrone Willingham  2005–2008  11  37  0  .229
 13  John Cherberg  1953–1955  10  18  2  .367
 14  Victor M. Place  1906–1907  8  5  6  .579
 15  Ralph Nichols  1895–1896, 1898  7  4  1  .625
 16  Keith Gilbertson  2003–2004  7  16  0  .304
 17  Claude J. Hunt  1917, 1919  6  3  1  .650
 18  Oliver Cutts  1905  5  2  2  .667
 19  Darrell Royal  1956  5  5  0  .500
 20  A. S. Jeffs  1899  4  1  1  .750
 21  Jack Wright  1901  3  3  0  .500
 22  W. B. Goodwin  1892–1893  2  4  1  .357
 23  Charles Cobb  1894  1  1  1  .500
 24  Tony Savage  1918  1  1  0  .500
 25  J. S. Dodge  1900  1  2  2  .400
 26  Carl L. Clemans  1897  1  2  0  .333
 27  Stub Allison  1920  1  5  0  .167

PHOTO of Steve Sarkisian by Bryan Veloso.


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.