Skid Road to Skid Row: Seattle Pays Its Namesake For His Trouble

Skid Road Seattle

Skid Road Seattle

Skid Road Near Utsalady

On This Date in History:  In the early 1850’s, white settlers set up logging operations in what is now Seattle.  The settlement was mainly made up of men which prompted Asa Mercer to set up a scheme to import women to the region.  About 140 years later that effort was made famous in a television adaptation called Here Comes the Brides.   Now, what the area lacked in women it made up in timber.  The area was teeming with trees but they needed a way to easily get the felled trees to the sawmill set up in the town.   They used to skid logs down a chute on the main street to get them to the sawmill. The road came to be known as “skid road”.    Later, as the town’s main center moved north, the road was left in a dilapidated part of town filled with drunkards and derelicts. The part of town went from being known as “skid road” to “skid row” and today the term “skid row” has made its way into the American lexicon for the dilapidated area of any town in the country.

Skid Road Near Snoqualmie

By the end of the Civil War, business was blowing and going in the Pacific Northwest as westward expansion was back on the minds of Americans (it never really abated much) and there was the issue of reconstructing all of the destruction brought on by the Civil War.  So, Seattle was a growing, bustling town and skid road was no doubt a busy  timber thoroughfare. Amidst all of this,  On This Date in 1866, an Indian Chief died. He was a chief of the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes having gained the leadership of both tribes by having a Suquamish father and a Duwamish mother. He was born in the late 18th century and by the 1850’s,  when white settlers from America started setting up villages, the chief welcomed the strangers.   Inn homage to his kindness, the settlers named the village they set up on Puget Sound for him. They called it Seattle. Chief Seattle  (aka Sealth) was a pretty smart guy as, even though he thought the whites would eventually eradicate his people, he figured that fighting them would only hasten their demise. A couple of other tribes disagreed and started a war, only to surmise that Seattle was probably right all along and they too put down their weapons and made the best of the situation as they could.

Chief Seattle An Unlikely Benefactor For the Pacific Northwest

However, Chief Seattle had a little problem. In the Indian tradition, the mention of a dead man’s name would disturb his eternal rest and with a town bearing his name, the Chief would be quite restless in eternity. Well, the settlers couldn’t possibly change the name of their town. So, instead, they came up with a truly American solution.  For the discomfort of his having to live eternity in a restless state they thought that they would pay him to make his final years on earth a little more settled.  Americans from the beginning of the nation have been repulsed by the idea of taxation when they felt it was subjected on them by outside forces.  But this was different because the citizenry levied a tax on themselves to raise money for a little fund that they paid to Chief Seattle before he died as a payoff for the trouble he would be in when he passed from this world. On June 7, 1866 Chief Seattle died and by not living longer, Seattle gave one more gift to the people of the town that bore his name:  he saved the taxpayers of Seattle money.

SPC Severe Outlook Tuesday

Weather Bottom Line:  I have to say that in a quick analysis of the maps and other data, I was fully prepared to say that we have a decent risk of severe weather on Wednesday.  We have a low coming through the flow that will be just to our North and closer than the last one that moved west to east along the lower Great Lakes and brought a bunch of nasty weather from Northern Illinois through Northern Ohio over the weekend.  It seemed a reasonable assumption.  But, closer examination gives me some pause.

SPC Severe Outlook Wednesday

First off, I’ve seen several forecasts that have Tuesday with either an equal or even higher rain chance than Wednesday.  The boys at the SPC have our area on the eastern edge of the area of slight risk for severe weather on Tuesday.  Then, we’re on the western periphery of a smaller area for the Wednesday slight risk.  From observing the maps, I was not certain exactly why they would be so agressive on the Tuesday outline.  The only thing that I could figure was that they were looking at perhaps storms to the west holding together sufficiently to make it to our area before midnight.  I’m not so sure  I buy this.  We’ve got pretty dry air over us and I”m not so sure that the atmospheric column will destablize enough by late Tuesday to support any such storms.  The GFS does throw out a few showers on Tuesday afternoon but the NAM keeps us dry.

SPC Wed Severe Weather Probability

I had anticipated that severe parameters derived from forecast vertical profiles would reveal a healthy severe chance for Wednesday when the low actually comes close, we would have an extra day to reload the atmosphere with warm and more humid air and with some afternoon heating.  But, alas, neither the vertical profiles of the NAM or the GFS are very exciting for Wednesday either.  I am speculating that is the reason why the severe area for Wednesday is mainly to our east and also relatively small in areal coverage.  When the best dynamics swing through here, they come after midnight Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning.  When the afternoon heating kicks in, those areas of greatest instability and dyanmic forcing is to our east.  This is all just a bunch of machines talking.  What I would expect would be increasing clouds and humidity on Tuesday and it will be mainly dry with perhaps some scattered stuff late Tuesday.  I will suppose that the SPC has a handle on this but will keep in mind that the low will not move quite as fast, thus providing a more elevated risk for rain and t’storms on Wednesday though I have only marginal data to support any real significant severe weather in our area.  In essence, for me I’m not so sure that Wednesday will be so sedate but would not anticipate wide spread death and destruction.  Things will be more clear on Tuesday.  We get much warmer by next weekend.


5 Responses

  1. A guy at work asked me, since he thought I was smarter than him, if a flushed commode swirled the opposite direction in the Southern hemisphere. I told him that I wasn’t that smart but I knew someone who was and I figured that he would know the answer and then could explain why it does swirl the opposite direction. So can you tell us if a flushed commode swirls the opposite direction in the Southern hemisphere vs. the Northern hemisphere and why it does?
    Thank you
    Una Turley

  2. I may elaborate more later but basically its a myth. The short and sweet reason is that one is talking about conditions of such a small scale that the rotation of the earth is negligible. It is true that large scale circulation systems like Low and High pressure go opposite directions in the S. Hemisphere than in the North but those items are typically well over 1000 km across where as your sink or toilet is only a few inches. The flow of plumbing has to do with the design. The water in my bathtub in the last two houses I’ve owned went down the drain clockwise whereas most of the time it goes counter clockwise. Tell your friend not to feel badly but I’ve seen people on TV who do the weather but prove their lack of understanding of Atmospheric Physics by claiming that the water down the drain routine is a fact when, in fact, it is false.

  3. Thank you, Bob
    I knew I could count on you for a definitive answer. I’ll pass it on.

  4. I’m curious where you found the first image in your post captioned “Skid Road Seattle”. Do you have a reference number at all? I’m trying to find that image at a higher resolution.

  5. Been so long ago, I can’t recall. But, I suspect the resolution is what it is.

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