What dominated the U.S. and world news in the 1940’s was, of course, the lead up to and direct involvement in World War II. The popular music of the “swing era” included the big band sounds of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Duke Ellington Band, Benny Gooodman and Count Basie, among many others. Crooners of the day included, no less than, a young and exciting Frank Sinatra along with the “triple threat” presented by the sly and soulful Bing Crosby, who appeared on records, radio and in movies.
1. Boeing imports women from all over the country to work.
Many brave young men took memories of those timeless songs and now classic movies with them overseas and onto the battlefield. They also brought with them the letters and notes from family and loved ones who were back home, stateside. As we know, they also brought with them and received, via the U.S. postal service, photographs of their sweethearts left behind. Servicemen also laid claim to the images of “pin-up” and calendar girls in their shared quarters, in lockers, on building walls and the painted images of flying beauties that adorned the front of their aircraft.
However, one of the most powerful images to ever come out of the war effort was not one of a winking, scantily clad belle but that of a strong feminine aesthetic. An iconic image of “Girl Power”, on full display, in poster form, that of “Rosie the Riveter.”
While most people know of her and that she has come to represent the women who were involved with the war effort in factories and manufacturing, most of those same people may not be aware that she is also representative of the many women who joined the war effort at the cost of leaving homes and families behind, in order to do so.
According to http://www.historylink.org/File/3340 , in June of 1943, Seattle-based aircraft manufacturer Boeing Company was forced to “import” women, nation-wide, due to a lack of locally available, skilled workers, as most of the eligible male population was off fighting in WWII. Many of those women had been recruited from all over the country to work and during training these women were housed in federally funded, temporary housing units built in the Denny Triangle area of present-day Seattle.
2. Ivar’s Acres of Clams opens at Pier 54.
“Ivar’s” is a name that is synonymous with what the Pacific Northwest seafood scene is and has become. Most of those familiar with the Seattle based Ivar’s seafood restaurant chain are probably accustomed to its cuisine and aware of the current locations, throughout the local area and regionally.
However, most people probably don’t know that the Ivar’s location on Seattle’s Pier 54 was, originally, home to Seattle’s first aquarium that Ivar Haglund had himself built in 1938. At first, Ivar had established a small fish and chips bar adjacent to his aquarium in order to feed his patrons but, later in July of 1946, he replaced that bar with the now famous “Ivar’s Acres of Clams” that accommodated nearly a hundred customers, on the same site.
For more info please go to: http://www.historylink.org/File/2501
3. Kalakala becomes world’s first to use commercial marine radar.
As previously mentioned, in our blog post “3 Things You Didn’t Know About Seattle in the Thirties” The Kalakala was a truly astonishing marine vessel that roamed the waters of the Seattle area for many mid-century years. Her name “Kalakala”, in Chinook Indian jargon translates to “the flying bird”. A gleaming beacon of modernity and style coupled with a workhorse ethic, continually transporting people and vehicles in luxury accommodations across the Puget Sound up until the 1960’s, when she was later decommissioned. She was home to many firsts, as a ferry may go. From her unique steel structure and shining outer skin to her record breaking 3,000-horse power diesel engine, she was home to many state-of-the-art inventions. One such invention she received was put into use on February 14th 1946, allowing the Kalakala to become the first ever user of commercial radar for navigation, anywhere in the world!
To learn more about the interesting topic visit: http://www.historylink.org/File/9282
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4. University of Washington Medical School opens.
On the heels of Gov. Monard C. Wallgren’s 1945 signing of the Medical-Dental Bill authorizing the formation of UW Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, came further progress to the Seattle area. This seemingly good news was not without its own unique set of challenges. Apparently, in the decades preceding the achievement of a UW campus-based medical school, there were roadblocks put up, at many turns. In earlier scenarios, starting in the late 1800’s, there was a push for the establishment of a university department of medicine, despite an overall lack of candidates who were even qualified to enter high school! Further opposition came from the Washington State Medical Association to stall any such progress, in order to prevent any competitive surplus of qualified medical physicians.
However, a confluence of circumstances after WWII, including soldiers returning from war seeking education, coupled with a shortage of qualified physicians, physicians in need of continuing education, etc. then lead to official approval for the inevitable establishment of the University of Washington Medical School in October of 1946. The first classrooms and offices were located at King County Hospital and in various make-shift structures on campus.
To learn more about this topic: http://www.historylink.org/File/3332
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So, hopefully we learned a little bit more about the history of one of the most fascinating decades in world history, “The 40’s”, and our great city of Seattle!
Stay tuned for more bits and pieces of Pacific Northwest history coming soon….!