Find of the Month

November 2019 - Daylight Savings Time

letter from J.L. Smick, 1948

In the late 1940s, the city of Seattle established daylight savings time. Citizen letters to the city council indicate this was not necessarily a popular move. For example:

Mrs. C.E. Davis: “Why do you and all those who want DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME, go to the Artic [sic] Circle where they have six months daylight in the summer and then everyone would be happy?... What are you trying to do, wreck our nervous systems and haven’t you anything else to do but sit there and think up ways to inconvenience the people here?”

Norman Hallam: “Could it be that you have been swayed only by a small minority who have been profited by having an extra hour to play golf? If these people want to have an extra hour a day, they can get up an hour earlier and not make us all suffer.”

Mrs. L. Hahn: “Why do you persist in trying to foist on an unwilling citizenry such an obvious falsehood of time saving. If you are bound to add 1 hour on one end of 24 hours you must take it off the other end – so what do you save? Lay off it.”

J.L. Smick: “Standard time is proven and accepted as universal law, and the spectacle of civic organizations swaggering with the impudent impunity of characterless charlatans, shamelessly admitting that their way of life cannot conform with the most perfect law that could possibly be devised, sets them in the position of considering themselves more perfect than eternal law itself.”

A.W. Eckman: “We do not need some Radio Company or anyone else trying to dictate their red propaganda to people what they should do as the city of Seattle has been doing when they shove that old day-light saving on to the people.”

J.M. Hone, Executive Secretary of the Independent Theatre Owners of Washington, Northern Idaho and Alaska: “It is within the power of each individual to save his own daylight so he need not make others miserable.”

In 1951, state law came through for these citizens and prohibited any Washington locality from observing anything but Pacific Standard Time. However, in 1960 a statewide ballot measure succeeded in establishing daylight savings. Last May the state legislature voted to permanently remain on daylight savings time, but as of this writing Washington and other west coast states are waiting for congressional approval to make the change.