The Open Prostitution and Gambling Debate in Seattle

Did you know that in 1912 there was a heated dispute over whether Seattle should remain an “open town” with public prostitution and gambling or pass laws that illegalized these things? As you might expect one side of this dispute was led by Frank Blethen and the Times and the students of the University of Washington were on the other side. Mr. Blethen and the Times argued vehemently for Seattle to remain open and students demonstrated against the moral corruption of the newspaper. Thomas Kane, the University president, was to be fired for taking no action against the demonstrating students.

That was a big decade. Four years later the first plane manufactured by Boeing flew, and the next year the Fremont Bridge opened, as the canal linking Puget Sound with Lake Washington was completed.


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