New Seattle History Guide

 Shove over, Sherlock. Seattle history detectives have a powerful new tool to help them deduce the details of Seattle’s past. You should have been so lucky!

Due to the efforts of nearby historians, Lorraine McConahy and Helen Divjak, the legendary voice of Paul Dorpat and friends and Greg Lange at the Puget Sound Regional Archives  among others, we’ve had powerful allies for delving into Seattle history. Now, Seattle history detectives are armed with a new arsenal, a comprehensive compilation of Seattle history resources created by our own Special Collections Department.  The new Seattle Building History Guide annotates a wealth of Seattle history research tools and places them in a broader context than ever before. We’ll be rolling it out on May 19th at the Third Place Books History Cafe. Afterwards, the guide will be available from our website.

If you’re the sort of person who, while riding Space Needle elevator or contemplating your idea for the site of the proposed Chihuly museum, wonders more about the land Continue reading “New Seattle History Guide”

Warship Under Sail – Interview with Lorraine McConaghy

Some of you may know local historian, Lorraine McConaghy, through MOHAI’s Nearby History workshops. A member of the Pacific Northwest Historian Guild, McConaghy has been writing, talking and teaching  the history of Seattle and its environs for years. With her new book, Warship Under Sail, McConaghy delves into the history of the United States Navy by exploring the the USS Decatur warship which played a decisive role in the Battle of Seattle.

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ask her questions about the process of writing “Warship”.  Here’s our email interview:

What gave you the idea to write about the USS Decatur?

 In the 1990s – as soon as I first saw them – I became fascinated with the two drawings of Seattle made by U.S. Navy officer Thomas Stowell Phelps during the 1855-6 Treaty War, and published with his memoirs.  The drawings are labeled, and I began the work by just learning what was represented by the “North Blockhouse” or “Yesler’s Mill.”  I didn’t understand why the USS Decatur was here, where it has come from, who had summoned it – nothing.  So it was a very organic process where asking a question led to an answer, and that answer itself encouraged more questions.  In the end, I wrote about the Continue reading “Warship Under Sail – Interview with Lorraine McConaghy”