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News from the OSOS Blog
Stories from the Archives...

The Office of the Secretary of State routinely updates a blog entitled "From Our Corner,"  in order to provide from-the-source information about important state news and public services.  Often, stories of note from the Archives are included on this page.

Myths in Records Management

As business becomes increasingly digital and amasses ever-increasing numbers of records, the tasks before our records managers seem daunting.  Our team of experts can make these seemingly overwhelming tasks much more manageable!

Speaking of Records Management, Training Opportunities for State & Local Government are available.
Who said that?  

"A nuclear power plant is infinitely safer than eating, because 300 people choke to death on food every year."

Find the answer here!

This same person also said,

"Everybody is exposed to radiation.  A little bit more or a little bit less is of no consequence." 
Enjoy Washington history every time you use your computer!
T hese images, from the collections of the Washington State Archives, capture historical moments from across the state.  Click on the image, or visit the Washington State Digital Archives homepage here to download the screen saver and start enjoying pictures of Washington's past today!
both voted among the best in Washington for state genealogy websites
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Banner Image: Beach at Deception Pass State Park, March 1934, State Parks and Recreations Commission, Photographs of Park Development, 1933-1938, Washington State Archives.

March 2015
After 100 years, a public record comes home
Palouse Clerk-Treasurer Mike Bagott (left) hands a very old volume of Palouse City Council minutes to Lee Pierce, ERB 

Contributed by Larry Cebula, Professor of History, EWU, and Assistant Digital Archivist, Washington State Archives    

Between 1914 and 1920, the town fathers of Palouse, a small Whitman County community near the Idaho border and north of Pullman, kept careful minutes of the meetings of their city council. With elegant strokes of an ink pen, they wrote down the official business of their town in a leather-bound ledger.


When the volume of the meeting minutes was filled, in the spring of 1920, it was put on a shelf next to earlier volumes. And then, at some point, it disappeared... 

Click here to find out what happened next and how this valuable piece of history found its way back to the Washington State Archives!     
Books from the Archives, Episode Four
Contributed by Terry Badger, Deputy State Archivist

There are an unlimited amount of interesting stories to be found in the Archives.  On any given day, the Archives has patrons looking for their family history, what the Legislature meant by a certain word or phrase, the cause of pollutants found in the ground or water, the chain of title to properties throughout the state, and yes--even good ol' fashioned history.

David Bullock came in search of documents that could help him tell part of the story of the coal miners in the Roslyn area.  Never been to Roslyn?  It's a beautiful area nestled in the Cascade Mountains, so much more than "Northern Exposure."  Coal Wars: Unions, Strikes, and Violence in Depression-Era Central Washington culminates Bullock's extensive research into this fascinating tale.  Read more here and see some photos of Roslyn hosted by Washington Rural Heritage.   
Olympia's own ark in West Bay, 1920-1942

Contributed by Ben Helle, Washington State Archives, Olympia Branch 

Most Olympians are unaware that for more than 20 years, an ark sat in the West Bay, awaiting the tides that would wash away humanity.  "Captain" William Lound Greenwood (1866-1958) began his ark in 1920 atop the hull of an old schooner believing that a flood of epic proportions would arrive in 1932 as a result of severe earthquakes. Greenwood would make the claim again in 1938 and 1941.

To find out how Greenwood's story ends and see more photos, click here.  You can also visit this website and see a brief newsreel of Olympia's own "Noah"  in 1929! 
Port of Olympia Quiz Answer! 

Last month we asked what you thought this sphere might be from our Port of Olympia photograph collection.  Of those who weighed in, the consensus was that it was some sort of fuel tank.  Click here to find out the truth.

Archives Treasures - Timber Cruise Maps   

Contributed by Tracy Rebstock,
Southwest Regional Branch Archivist

One of the treasures that researchers discover in the Archives is timber cruise maps.  Originally used to record land and timber estimates, they can include date, location, legal description of land on which timber is growing, type and grade of timber, estimated quality and value, and remarks.  But in addition, they can include drawings of buildings, roads, and other natural features that the original intent of the document never imagined people would want.  A recent patron to the Southwest Branch wanted information on land around Spencer Lake in Mason County.  His look at the timber cruise maps unearthed a lake shaped differently in 1909 than it is today, the location of an old school, and some cranberry bogs.

Take a look at the pages from the Mason County Timber Cruise from 1909 here.  See what YOU can discover! 

Get to Know Archives Staff! 
People come to the Archives in many ways.  This month's Employee Spotlight -
Mike Baker

Mike joined the Archives team in May 2014 as a Digital Projects Technician and has pitched in with many extra tasks that help keep this place running smoothly.  He recently secured the permanent position of Office Assistant 2 with the Imaging Department, and we couldn't be happier to have him here!

His supervisor, Angela Yoder, sent him a series of questions, and he was kind enough to answer them.   In addition to the usual suspects of questions, read here to find out what Mike thinks is the most interesting thing he's scanned while here, and just what activity he'd like to do with Jeff Bridges.
We hope you've enjoyed this edition of
"Out of the Archives!"

Steve Excell, Washington State Archivist | |
Telephone: (360) 586-1492
1129 Washington St. SE
Olympia, WA 98504-0238