‘Tied By Lightning’ – free events commemorate high tech history in area


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Everyone knows King County to be a high tech hub today, but our region’s first brush with cutting-edge technology occurred well before Bill Gates and Paul Allen.

A century and a half ago, the first high tech endeavor to put down roots in King County was the telegraph, which came up from Olympia along Military Road, and arrived in Seattle on October 25, 1864.

To mark the occasion, a flag was raised, a cannon was fired, and the newspapers crowed that the Puget Sound region was now “tied by lightning” to the rest of the world. The next day a dispatch was sent to President Lincoln, commending “the suppression of rebellion and the extension of Science.” At last this western outpost could receive up-to-date news about the Civil War, and settlers could connect with family, friends, and business relations on a nearly instantaneous basis.

This October, with the assistance of 4Culture Historic Site(s) Specific funding, the sesquicentennial of the telegraph’s arrival will be marked with “Tied By Lightning” exhibits, free hands-on telegraph demonstrations, and other events along Military Road in South King County, as well as at 4Culture offices and the King County Courthouse.

Come try your hand at working a telegraph key, read dispatches from the war front 150 years ago to the day, and check out the equipment that may look quaint now, but represented the forefront of technology back then. The Tukwila Historical Society, the Highline Historical Society, the Greater Kent Historical Society and the Historical Society of Federal Way are all participating in this unprecedented collaboration to celebrate history in South King County. The effort was coordinated by SoCoCulture.

For a listing of all events, visit http://sococulture.org/calendar/2014-10/

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