Possibly stemming from a sense of patriotism, the Fourth of July is noted for many significant events in Washington history. On that date in 1889, Joseph Pearsall staked the first mining claim in Monte Cristo, which led to a brief boom for the mountain community. On July 4, 1915, Bill Boeing reportedly took his first airplane ride. That same day, Samuel Hill dedicated the Pacific Highway at Blaine. Exactly three years later, Hill was on hand to help dedicate the Stonehenge replica at Maryhill.
Seattle alone has its share of noteworthy Independence Day events. In 1854, it was the day Lake Union and Lake Washington were named, and on July 4, 1914, the Smith Tower was dedicated. Exactly three years later the first ship passed through the Lake Washington Ship Canal. And on July 4, 1965, Ivar Haglund launched the first Ivar's Fourth of July fireworks show, an annual extravaganza until this year, when it was discontinued.
Most Fourth of July events have been celebratory, but a few grim ones are worth noting. One hundred and twenty years ago, Ellensburg suffered a major fire that destroyed 200 homes and 10 business blocks, and the nineteenth century's last Fourth of July included a horrific tragedy in Tacoma. This year, HistoryLink.org wishes you a holiday both happy and safe.