6 June 1889

The Great Seattle Fire destroys all of downtown Seattle

The Great Seattle Fire was a catastrophic event that occurred on June 6, 1889, and resulted in the destruction of the entire downtown area of Seattle, Washington.

Cause of the Fire: The fire started in the basement of a woodworking shop and paint store owned by John Back. A pot of glue, which was heating over a gasoline fire, boiled over and caught fire. Attempts to extinguish it with water only spread the fire, and it quickly grew out of control.

Spread of the Fire: The fire spread rapidly due to the abundance of wooden buildings and the use of sawdust-filled streets. The city’s water supply was also inadequate to fight such a large fire, and firefighters had difficulty accessing the few available water sources.

Extent of Damage: The fire destroyed approximately 25 city blocks, including the entire business district, four of the city’s wharves, and numerous residential areas. The estimated damage was over $20 million in 1889 dollars (equivalent to about $600 million today).

Rebuilding Efforts: The city quickly began to rebuild, this time using brick and stone to prevent future fires. New building codes were implemented, and the streets were raised 22 feet above the original street level. This led to the creation of the Seattle Underground, a network of underground passageways and basements that still exist today.

Impact on Seattle: Despite the devastation, the fire spurred a period of rapid growth and development in Seattle. The rebuilding efforts attracted workers and businesses, helping to establish Seattle as a major economic center in the Pacific Northwest.

Historical Significance: The Great Seattle Fire is a significant event in the city’s history, marking a turning point in its development. The fire and the subsequent rebuilding efforts are often credited with shaping modern Seattle.

6 June 1933

The first drive-in theater opens in Camden, New Jersey.

Drive-in movie theaters are a type of cinema that allows moviegoers to watch films from the comfort of their cars. They offer a unique and nostalgic movie-watching experience, combining the excitement of going to the movies with the convenience of staying in your vehicle.

Features of drive-in movie theaters:

History: Drive-in theaters originated in the United States in the 1930s and became popular in the 1950s and 1960s. They were initially designed as a family-friendly entertainment option, providing a casual and relaxed atmosphere for movie viewing.

Outdoor Setting: Drive-in theaters are typically located in open fields or large parking lots. They feature a large screen positioned at the front, and rows of parking spaces facing the screen. The outdoor setting allows for a unique movie experience under the open sky.

Car-Based Viewing: The primary feature of drive-in theaters is that moviegoers watch the films from their own vehicles. Each parking space is designed to provide a clear view of the screen. People can sit inside their cars, recline their seats, and listen to the movie audio through their car radios. Some theaters also provide speakers that can be attached to car windows.

Snacks and Concessions: Like traditional theaters, drive-ins offer a concession stand or snack bar where viewers can purchase food and beverages. Popular choices include popcorn, candy, soda, hot dogs, nachos, and burgers. Many people bring their own snacks and drinks as well.

Socializing and Community: Drive-in theaters provide a social atmosphere where families and friends can gather together. People often set up chairs, blankets, or even create makeshift picnic areas outside their vehicles. This communal environment allows for interaction before the movie and during intermissions.

Double Features: Drive-in theaters commonly show double features, which means two movies are screened back-to-back. This provides viewers with extended entertainment and allows them to get the most out of their visit.

Seasonal Operation: Drive-in theaters are often seasonal and operate during spring, summer, and early fall when the weather is more conducive to outdoor activities. However, some drive-ins in warmer climates may operate year-round.

Modern Innovations: In recent years, drive-in theaters have embraced modern technology. Some have transitioned to digital projectors, offering better image quality and the ability to showcase 3D movies. Many drive-ins also provide an FM radio frequency for audio transmission, allowing viewers to tune in directly from their car radios.

Drive-in movie theaters have experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent times, offering a safe and socially distanced entertainment option during the COVID-19 pandemic. They provide a nostalgic and enjoyable movie experience that continues to captivate audiences of all ages.

6 June 1981

Bihar train disaster: A passenger train travelling between Mansi and Saharsa, India, jumps the tracks at a bridge crossing the Bagmati River. The government places the official death toll at 268 plus another 300 missing; however, it is generally believed that the death toll is closer to 1,000.

[rdp-wiki-embed url=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bihar_train_derailment’]

6 June 1749

The Conspiracy of the Slaves in Malta is discovered.

The Conspiracy of the Slaves, also known as the Revolt of the Slaves, was a failed plot by Muslim slaves in Hospitaller-ruled Malta to rebel, assassinate Grand Master Manuel Pinto da Fonseca and take over the island. The revolt was to have taken place on 29 June 1749, but plans were leaked to the Order before it began, and the plotters were arrested and most were later executed.

The plot was discovered on 6 June, three weeks before it was to take place. Three slaves had met in a coffee shop in Valletta to win the support of a Maltese guard to the Grand Master, and began to quarrel. The shop owner, a neophyte called Giuseppe Cohen, overheard them mention the revolt and reported this information to the Grand Master. The three slaves were arrested, and they revealed details of the plan after being tortured.

The leaders were subsequently arrested, and 38 of them were tried and executed. Some plotters reportedly converted and asked to be baptized just before being killed. 125 others were hanged in Palace Square in Valletta, while 8 were branded with the letter R on their forehead, and were condemned to the galleys for life. On the insistence of France, Mustafa Pasha, who was behind the revolt, was not executed but was taken back to Rhodes on a French vessel.

6 June 1889

The Great Seattle Fire destroys almost all of downtown Seattle.

The spring of 1889 in Seattle had been beautiful. There had been little rain, and temperatures were consistently in the 70s. Unfortunately, the unusually good weather proved to be disastrous, as the dry conditions conspired with a handful of other elements to allow for the worst fire in city history.

On the afternoon of June 6, 1889, John Back, an assistant in Victor Clairmont’s woodworking shop at Front Street and Madison Avenue, was heating glue over a gasoline fire. Sometime after 2:15, the glue boiled over, caught fire, and spread to the floors, which were covered by wood chips and turpentine. He tried to put the fire out with water, but that only served to thin the turpentine and spread the fire further. Everyone got out of the building safely, and the fire department got to the fire by 2:45. By that time, there was so much smoke that it was hard to find the source of the fire, and by the time it was found, the fire was out of control. The fire quickly spread to the Dietz & Mayer Liquor Store, which exploded, the Crystal Palace Saloon, and the Opera House Saloon. Fueled by alcohol, the entire block from Madison to Marion was on fire.

Seattle’s water supply proved to be a major problem in fighting the fire. At that time, water was provided by the privately-owned Spring Hill Water Company. Hydrants were only located on every other street, the ‘pipes’ were small, and many were made of hollowed out logs. As more hoses were added to fight the fire, water pressure fell to the point that the hoses didn’t work. Firemen tried to keep the fire from spreading further by pumping water from Elliott Bay onto the Commercial Mill, but the tide was out, and the hoses were not long enough to reach the side of the building closest to the fire. To add insult to injury, crowds harassed the fire fighters as the water pressure fell. At the same time the water supply was dwindling, the wind rose, helping spread the fire. Soon the mill was on fire, as well as the Colman Building and Opera House.

Mayor Robert Moran took command from acting Fire Chief James Murphy, who was reportedly “distraught”. Moran ordered the Colman block to be blown up, in an attempt to end the fire, but the fire jumped past the block, and spread to the wharves as well as up the hill toward Second Avenue.

By 4:00, most residents realized that downtown Seattle was doomed. The fire had crossed Second Avenue, and was heading up to Third. Smoke could be seen in Tacoma, and the roar of the fire heard for miles. Help had been called in from Tacoma, Portland, and even Victoria, B.C., but would take hours to arrive. Business- and home-owners cleared out as much as they could. Those who were able hired wagons to haul belongings onto ships before the ships moved out of the harbor away from the wharves, which were on fire. The Seattle Times was able to get most of their files and books aboard the schooner Teaser.

As the fire reached Third Avenue, Trinity Church burned quickly, and the fire moved across the street toward the three-story Courthouse. Before long, the fire had reached Fourth and University, but a handful of buildings were saved, including the Courthouse. The Fire Department had tried to water down the Courthouse to prevent it from burning, but water pressure was so low, the hoses could only spray the first floor. Quick-thinking Lawrence Booth climbed to the roof of the Courthouse and poured buckets of water down the sides of the building, saving the structure as well as all the public records and the jail within. Booth’s lead inspired bucket brigades to save the Boston Block and Jacob Levy’s house. Henry Yesler’s house was also saved, by someone who thought to cover it with wet blankets.

Meanwhile, the fire was spreading even farther. Before it reached Yesler, Moran ordered that the shacks there be either torn down or exploded, in the attempt to create another fire block. Despite such efforts, the fire crossed the gap, and Skid Road went up in flames next. Mayor Moran declared an 8:00 pm curfew that night and ordered all saloons closed until further notice.

The fire burned until 3:00 am. When it was done, the damage was enormous. 120 acres had been destroyed, as was every wharf and Mill from Union to Jackson Streets. Although the loss of human life was evidently low it was estimated that 1 million rats were killed. Thousands of people were displaced, and 5,000 men lost their jobs. The city estimated it’s losses at over $8 million, and that number didn’t even include person losses or those of water and electrical services. The total losses may have been as high as $20 million.

The city didn’t take much time to mourn. Instead Seattle banded together, and at 11 am on June 7, 600 businessmen met to discuss how to cope with the current situation and plan for the future. To combat looting, two hundred special deputies were sworn in and the town placed under martial law for two weeks. A relief committee was formed to handle the charitable donations that were being sent from all over the country. Tacoma, no longer a rival, but an ally in the time of need, raised $20,000 and sent up a relief committee to help. The armory was converted to a dining hall, so the displaced citizens would have a place to eat. Supplies from San Francisco arrived by June 18. Relief bureaus were able to close as quickly as June 20, as tent-restaurants had been set up quickly, and were able to meet people’s needs. Within a month of the fire over 100 businesses were operating out of tents.

Instead of relocating, most businesses decided to rebuild where they had been, and rebuilding began almost immediately. Wooden buildings were banned in the burned out district, to be replaced by brick. At the same time, streets were raised up to 22 feet in places, helping to level the hilly city. Within a year, 465 buildings had been built, most of the reconstruction was complete and the businesses had reopened.

The fire also led to a handful of other changes for the city. At the time of the fire, the city had an all-volunteer fire department, many of which quit after the fire, citing the harassment they had faced while trying to fight the fire. This personnel crisis led to the creation of a professional fire department by October 1889. The city also took control of the water supply, increasing the size of the pipes, eliminating the wooden pipes, and added more hydrants. The fire, which could have spelled the end of the city, instead became just a brief setback, and led to many significant improvements.

6 June 1971

Soyuz 11 is launched.

Soyuz 11 was the only manned mission to board the world’s first space station, Salyut 1 Soyuz 10 had soft-docked but had not been able to enter due to latching problems.The mission arrived at the space station on 7 June 1971 and departed on 30 June. The mission ended in disaster when the crew capsule depressurised during preparations for reentry, killing the three-man crew. The Soyuz 11 crew members were Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov, and Viktor Patsayev.

The three crew members of Soyuz 11 are the only humans known to have died in space.The Soyuz 7K-OKS spacecraft was launched on 7 June 1971, from Baikonur Cosmodrome in central Kazakh SSR. Several months earlier, the first mission to the Salyut, Soyuz 10, had failed to successfully dock with the station. Soyuz 11 successfully docked with Salyut 1 on 7 June and the cosmonauts remained on board for 22 days, setting space endurance records that would hold until the American Skylab 2 mission in May–June 1973.

Upon first entering the station, the crew encountered a smoky and burnt atmosphere and after replacing part of the ventilation system spent the next day back in their Soyuz until the air cleared. Their stay in Salyut was productive, including live television broadcasts. A fire broke out on day 11 of their stay, causing mission planners to consider abandoning the station. The planned highlight of the mission was to have been the observation of an N1 rocket launch, but the launch was postponed. The crew also found that using the exercise treadmill as they were required to do twice a day caused the whole station to vibrate. Pravda released news of the mission and regular updates while it was in progress.