A Zoo, Two Mayors and a Triple Crown Winner

News from a 2012 Heritage Special Projects recipient

Guest blogger Cassandra Tate, HistoryLink Staff Historian and Video Project Manager, shares some exciting new content… 

Over the past three years, www.HistoryLink.org – the online encyclopedia of Washington state history — has added audio and video clips to more than 60 essays, thanks largely to funding from 4Culture. Some of the most recent additions include a selection of TV ads recorded by Seattle Mayor Gordon Clinton during his campaign for re-election in 1959. In contrast to the mudslinging and personal attacks that are common in today’s political advertising, these ads are models of civility and restraint. Clinton makes no mention of his opponent. Instead, he calmly talks about his accomplishments and humbly gives credit to “teamwork.” The background film footage provides a charming look at the cars, the fashions, and the small-town feel of Seattle at that time.

If you think traffic is crazy now, watch Model Ts, delivery trucks, and streetcars shoulder each other on the Fremont Bridge in 1926. Check out a very young Dixy Lee Ray, later to be elected Washington’s first female governor, promoting the science exhibit at Century 21 – the Seattle World’s Fair, in 1962. See Seattle Slew win the Kentucky Derby in 1977, in the first of three races on his way to that year’s Triple Crown. As of 2012, Seattle Slew is one of only 11 horses to win the fabled Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing, and the only one to have been undefeated when he won it. And for a reminder of how far zoos have come in the last half century or so, take a look at the Woodland Park Zoo in 1938. This film clip includes images of the cramped, barren cages that typically housed zoo animals in those days. Woodland Park — now regarded as one of the best zoos in the country – revolutionized zoo design in the 1960s with its “bioclimatic” exhibits, which provided more naturalistic environments for its animals.

To sample other elements in HistoryLink’s multimedia library, click on the “Audio & Video” icon in the left-hand column under “Selected Collections,” on HistoryLink’s home page.