In 1888, the Northern Pacific Coal Company traveled to the Southern States to recruit black workers in order to help break the strike by coal miners in Roslyn, Washington. Work was so scarce for Blacks in the South at that time that many were ready to take the “free ride” to the West. They had no idea what awaited them.
Unsung Heroes: Major John Dowd
The Spokane Army Air Depot required a dedicated crew to build and refurbish the equipment required for WWII. Spokane and the surrounding communities played a pivotal role in facilitating the war effort in establishing the Spokane Army Depot. At its peak, the air depot had over 10,400 civilian workers – the Unsung Heroes of WWII. One such hero is a man named John Dowd. Like those who served during this time, he felt he was "just doing his job."
“Saved by The Bell”
The expressions "saved by the bell" and "dead ringer" come from the invention of the safety coffin. The coffin was invented in the 1700s due to the premature burials of live victims. Surgeons had problems telling when a patient was in a coma or dead. During the yellow fever and cholera outbreak people were afraid they would be buried alive. The coffins were fitted with a bell that the victim could pull, allowing the grave keeper to rescue them.
The First Movie Star
In Florence Lawrence's early film career, she was the leading lady in over 250 films, but no one knew her name. At the time the studios did not release names because the actors would request more money for their work. In 1910, Carl Laemmle recognized the power of a name and created a ruse surrounding Lawrence to gain business for his studio, thus creating a movie star. Lawrence was also the first to experience the inevitable downfall of stardom.
Letters Home: Enduring the Great Depression
The Dayton Historical Depot Society has two collections of letters that reflect the struggles that our community and their families faced during the Great Depression. One collection belongs to the Boldman family, and the other is in the letters belonging to Dr. Charles H. Day. In both we find letters home to Dayton from children who have gone off to make their living, and we can feel the poignancy of the threat of lost work and lost income.
“The Long Journey of the Nez Perce”
In 1877, the US Gov't ordered the Nez Perce tribe to leave their homes in Oregon and move to a reservation in the Idaho Territory. After a band of young warriors attacked settlers on the Salmon River, the Nez Perce leaders, including Chiefs Joseph, Looking Glass, and White Bird, fled with their people. With the army in pursuit, the Nez Perce fought a series of running battles over vast territories in a desperate bid to preserve their way of life.
Zelda Fitzgerald: The Flapper Girl
Zelda Fitzgerald was a socialite, novelist, and the wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald. She strongly influenced her husband's work, and together they became the emblems of the Jazz Age. Their marriage was plagued with excessive drinking, infidelity, and bitterness. Her extensive diaries provided material for his fiction, and a start to the decline of their marriage when he used them for inspiration.