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4m 40s

Why the Tacoma Narrows Bridge was nicknamed Galloping Gertie

Immediately after the August 1940 grand opening of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, motorists and engineers alike realized that something was not quite right with it. The bridge deck undulated in waves, up and down, and the bridge was quickly nicknamed "Galloping Gertie."

5m 37s

When Washington's Cities Burned

During a hot summer, we worry about wildfires in our forests and range lands. But in 1889, the year that Washington became a state, three of Washington's cities burned within weeks of each other.

4m 0s

'Flying saucers'? You can thank WA for the term

Two incidents in the Pacific Northwest inspired the worldwide phenomenon of fables about UFOs. When a private pilot in 1947 spotted a strange formation of discs flying near Mount Rainier, he had no idea his reporting of "flying saucers" would start worldwide sightings that persist today.

4m 3s

Meet the Confederate spy who became mayor of Seattle

Beriah Brown was a frontier newspaperman who defended slavery and the South during the Civil war. His work infuriated Union supporters who drove him out of San Francisco under threat of lynching. He fled to Seattle to escape the past and start over.

5m 20s

The Northwest’s most notable hoaxes

Sometimes so-called “fake news” makes real news. We focus on three famous Seattle hoaxes that shook up the region: an April Fool’s report that the Space Needle had collapsed, a fake “grunge lexicon” that fooled the New York Times, and a prank that sold 83,000 cups of chowder.

5m 15s

When hockey was king in Seattle

In 1917 Seattle hosted a plucky hockey team, the Metropolitans, that brought big-time sports to Seattle. These boys on the ice won Seattle’s first world championship over 100 years ago by winning the Stanley Cup in their home arena.

4m 56s

The Great Seattle-Tacoma Blow-up

Since the mid-19th century, Seattle and Tacoma have been business rivals. A focus of their fight: what to call Mt. Rainier. Tacomans wanted it renamed Tacoma or Tahoma, said to be the native names for the volcano, but the mountain’s “discoverer” named it for a friend in the Royal Navy. Rainier survives, but discussion has been rekindled after Alaska’s Mt. McKinley was renamed “Denali.”

5m 15s

Harry Allen, Turn of the Century Trans Youth

Long before transgender rights were headline news, a man by the name of Harry Allen was challenging gender norms in the Pacific Northwest, making headlines of his own during the gold rush era of the late 19th century. He was a cowboy, he was a bartender, he was an outlaw and he was born Nell Pickerel. In this episode of Mossback’s Northwest, Knute Berger tells his story.

4m 15s

When Coal Was King in Seattle

In the PNW, we are concerned about climate change and our dependence on fossil fuels – especially coal. But there was a time 100 years ago when coal was king in King County. Coal mines sprang up in Newcastle, Black Diamond, Renton, Issaquah and as far north as Bellingham. Seattle’s emerging commercial harbor shipped millions of tons of coal to the entire West Coast.

3m 54s

What was Lesser Seattle?

After World War II, civic boosters launched a campaign called Greater Seattle which rolled out the red carpet for transplants and tourists in hopes of transforming the city into a global destination. Meanwhile, another kind of civic booster was arising. Operating under the banner Lesser Seattle, these Seattleites sought to keep Seattle from changing its character. Mossback explains.

3m 38s

The Shipwreck That Still Shares its Bounty

A Spanish galleon from Manila went down in a storm off the Oregon coast 327 years ago. It was carrying a cargo of beeswax for the Spanish colonies, and that beeswax is still being found on beaches today.

3m 33s

When Mark Twain Came to Seattle

It was a trying time for Seattleites in the summer of 1895. The city was still reeling from the Panic of 1893, which threw the national economy into a tailspin, and the skies were hazy with wildfire smoke. Into this scene stroll Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain. Reeling from his own financial misfortune, America’s most celebrated author made his only visit to the Pacific Northwest.

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