2019 Find of the Month Archive

Watch for Flying Saucers Week

letter to Mayor Braman

Members of a group called World Wide Watch wrote to Mayor Braman in 1967 asking him for a "Watch for Flying Saucers Week" proclamation. One of the letters explained that "this year is a LANDMARK! The 20th Anniversary of the very famous phrase 'Flying Saucer,' coined in Washington State by Newsmen when a private pilot named Kenneth Arnold, Boise, Idaho related to the world that on June 24, 1947, he had observed nine disc-shaped objects flying towards Mt. Rainier."

The letters and an accompanying press release explained that to mark the anniversary, the group was organizing watch teams around the country to search the skies. One of the teams would form a caravan from World Wide Watch headquarters in Eatonville up to Mt. Rainier. Teams were to look for "intelligent patterns of behavior" or any attempts to communicate. Reports from all teams were to be collected at the Eatonville headquarters, where they then would be collated and shared.

In addition to encouraging citizens to watch for UFOs, the group also hoped to persuade Congress to pass laws allowing "legal landing and protection for friendly extra terrestrials":

It is the general consensus of many people interested in the subject of space visitation that we will be involved in an exchange of culture that will lead to interplanetary commerce by 1988. So let US open the space doors now! Let US have vision and foresight enough to begin a two-way approach to space.

Mayor Braman responded to the group:

While I appreciate your interest in this subject and recognize that it could have considerable import, I do not feel justified in issuing such a proclamation. I certainly see nothing wrong in your attempting to stir up interest to the end that many people would join you and your associates in this kind of a watch. It just doesn't seem appropriate as an official pronouncement.

The Seattle Times interviewed the group leaders at the beginning of the watch week, when they were confident they would see UFOs. One leader was quoted as saying, "They (flying saucer pilots) know we're watching because they monitor radio-station reports about our activities. We'll be ready if they respond." The newspaper followed up at the end of the week, when the group reported that two objects that "might have been unidentified" were spotted that Saturday night.

Soldiers and temperance

memo to council, attachment to CB 806

In the autumn of 1899, Seattle was eagerly anticipating the return of the First Washington Volunteer Infantry from their service in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War. The governor declared a state holiday and many celebrations were planned, but some were concerned that the welcomes would be a bit too festive.

The Women's Christian Temperance Union proposed that City Council close all saloons on the day of the soldiers' return home:

Whereas; True patriotism includes not only love of country, its citizens and its soldiers, but also an intense desire for a peaceful and prosperous country; for an intelligent, industrious and lawabiding [sic] citizenship, and for an upright, sober and courageous soldiery, and

Whereas; The saloon is one of the most potent factors in staining the reputation and in retarding the genuine prosperity of our country, in hindering the growth of intelligence, industry and the love of true liberty and good order in our citizens, and in destroying the moral courage and sobriety of many of both our soldiers and citizens, -

Therefore, Resolved, that we hereby most earnestly and urgently request and petition your honorable body to use the power delegated to you by the sovereign citizens of Seattle, as other cities are doing in the United States, and by the authority of the great state of Washington, for the honor and good order of the city, to close the saloons and every and all places where intoxicating liquors of any kind are or may be sold or given away in this municipality, and that they shall be and remain closed in fact, under severe penalties, during the day or days and entire time in which, within the city of Seattle, the citizens of Washington shall tender a reception and welcome to its returning soldiers whom they desire to honor.

Members of the Seattle Anti-Saloon League attended the October 9 City Council meeting to voice their opinion on the bill. As part of what the Seattle Times described as a "short but lively debate," Councilmember Hiram Gill was quoted as saying, "If these people would stop to think they would arrive at the conclusion that the whole thing is an insult to the boys who risked their lives for their country. The boys that went to Manila are fully capable of caring for themselves, and I would advise these people to look out for the boys who stayed home with their mammas. The ordinance is fathered by a couple of carpet-baggers who threaten to leave the city should it fail to pass. I tell them now that their return to Ohio will not be the calamity which some people think it would." The council voted 7-4 to indefinitely postpone the bill.