Mercer Island Historical Society, library to present two events on Washington’s past

The Mercer Island Library and Mercer Island Historical Society are presenting two events in early November that detail important moments in Washington history.

“Waterway: The Story of Seattle’s Locks and Ship Canal” will be from 7-8:30 p.m. on Nov. 2.

Getting Newcastle coal to Elliott Bay inspired the vision of a canal connecting Lake Washington to Puget Sound, but it took 63 years to become reality. Jennifer Ott and co-author David B. Williams of “Waterway: The Story of Seattle’s Locks and Ship Canal,” share stories uncovered about the false starts, political shenanigans and far-reaching impacts of the canal’s construction and operation.

“Washington at War: The Evergreen State in World War I” will be from 7-8:30 p.m. on Nov. 9.

Led by historian Lorraine McConaghy, the program begins with an illustrated introduction to the war’s themes before offering a “Readers’ Theater:” a script that is read aloud together, allowing participants to speak the history they are discovering.

The script includes excerpts from newspapers, diaries, writings, speeches, and correspondence, and is based on extensive research in primary source material focused on the war’s impact on Washington — and how Washington impacted the war. The reading covers the period between the successful Prohibition referendum in 1914 through Seattle’s General Strike and President Woodrow Wilson’s visit to Washington in 1919.

Participants can learn about and discuss this dramatic period of immigration, wartime industrialization, women’s rights, social change, radical labor, epidemic disease and worldwide turmoil.

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