Oh, what a beautiful day
A few of us sailboaters are of the opinion that perfection by man was reached only once in history, by diligent development of sailboats and sailing ships. The only advancements left are materials, and possibly computer help. Otherwise, we've gone as far as we can go.
Your story ("A Life's Work," Aug. 1) by William Dietrich is such a beautiful story and so beautifully written that I'm going to save it for a beautiful situation.
After a beautiful day of sailing, we will be sitting on the sailboat watching a beautiful sunset. I will unfold your beautiful story and read it to my beautiful friends. Isn't that beautiful?
Tony Emmanuel, Sammamish
Where are the trains?
I immensely enjoy the Paul Dorpat feature Now and Then. I know it's one of your most popular features. But look, why is it that the impact of the train on Seattle is so often overlooked? Sure, it's romantic to portray Seattle as a seaport town Pacific Northwest magazine of Aug. 29 ( "Looking for Luck"), for example but this really is simply romance. What built Seattle, Portland, Spokane, Wenatchee, Yakima, Tacoma, Olympia and many other cities was the Great Northern and Northern Pacific Railroads.
Historians like Paul Dorpat and Walt Crowley do the history of the Pacific Northwest a great disservice by marginalizing the primary contributor to the economic success of the region. Railroads brought the troops, moved the produce, let East meet West and visa versa.
True, the Alaskan Gold Rush was an all-maritime affair, as is the fishing industry, but until very recent times all goods and people were shipped by the railroad. Yet you rarely see the inclusion of historic photos of the Seattle waterfront's numerous train tracks with mention of their social and economic, much less historic, significance. The very large King Street yard, now covered as the site of two sports stadiums, is not mentioned anywhere in public art in the complex nor is there any mention of the blue-collar workers who muscled the trains and boxcars through Seattle on their way east or south. Your editors and historians have a public duty to tell it like it was and is, not simply propagate romantic copy that sells well or satisfies a developer's dream-version Seattle.
This was once the most blue-collar town on the West Coast. The influence of your historian's writings is felt far and wide, and has become the public record of note for most. How about talking about the 900-pound gorilla that set the tone of development throughout the entire region, even before statehood? That would be the rise and fall of the American railroad system that met its Northwest terminus in Seattle. And let's not overlook the architectural significance of the Union and King Street stations. For many, this would be the most architecturally significant building they would enter in their lifetime.
Billy King, Seattle
Letters to the editor are welcome. Write Editor, Pacific Northwest magazine, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111, or e-mail email@example.com and in either case include a telephone number for verification.
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