Library Podcast: Buffalo Bill in the City of Smokestacks

Courtesy of The William F. Cody Archive, Buffalo Bill Historical Center and University of Nebraska-LincolnCC BY-NC-SA 3.0

I’ve been fascinated with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show since I visited the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, WY in 1979. What impressed me most was that modern impressions of pioneer times and “the wild west” were actually molded by Buffalo Bill and his show.

Buffalo Bill’s appearance in Everett in 1908 occurred at the tail-end of the show’s twenty-five year run. It was a spectacular traveling show that claimed to tell the story of the settling of the West. Two freight trains were needed to carry all its gear, livestock, tents, bleachers, crew and performers. It pulled into Everett early on September 22 and set up on a vacant lot near the center of town, the future site of Everett High School. It performed twice, and left that night for its next destination.

After a lot of research on the show, I wrote a podcast script and compiled some readings—contemporary Herald and Tribune articles, Wild West show programs and route books, and excerpts from present-day books about the show, and about 1908 Everett. Seven library employees volunteered to read the sixteen parts of the 34-minute podcast. Sound effects enhance the dramatic parts. The Buffalo Bill Historical Center of Cody, Wyoming permitted us to use a recording of the authentic music of the Wild West, plus some great photos of the show.

On September 22, 2013, the 105th anniversary of the show’s Everett appearance, the podcast will appear on our website, http://www.epls.org/.

Cameron

Haunt Locally

I grew up in what’s known as one of the most haunted small towns in America. Alton, IL is home to haunted mansions, schools, and churches. Ghost sightings and spooky histories are more abundant than actual people to tell the tales. There was never a shortage of material for the ghost stories we told around bonfires on chilly autumn evenings.

And guess what? The greater Seattle area is full of similar spots and stories, just waiting for you to explore and discover. Even better? The library has several books to help you find ghostly hot spots and haunted locales.

The easiest way to see as many haunted locations as possible is to follow the driving routes in Washington’s Haunted Hotspots by Linda Moffitt. There are 17 separate road trips, taking you from one end of the Evergreen State to the other. Everett falls in chapter 7 and includes some familiar local buildings. The Rucker Mansion, for instance, is said to be haunted by Bethel Rucker’s mother-in-law Jane, who died in the home of natural causes. Jane must have been a virtuoso in her day, because now she can be heard playing the piano when no one else is at home. Everett High School is also mentioned as being haunted by a man wandering the halls. A construction worker fell to his death when the school was being built—could this be the same man?

Spooked in Seattle by Ross Allison is another book packed with local ghostly lore. Each chapter centers on a different Seattle neighborhood. Most locals are familiar with ghost stories surrounding some of these spooky hotspots, like the Seattle Underground, Smith Tower, and Pike Place Market. But the Museum of Flight, Fremont Troll, and even the Rite-Aid in West Seattle are also apparently visited by spirits from the great beyond. Familiarize yourself with some of the more obscure tales and impress out-of-town guests the next time you head down to the Big City.

While it has the fewest photos, the best written book of the bunch is Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Seattle and Puget Sound by Jeff Dwyer. Don’t be put off by the sections of serious ghost hunting information in this book. Sure, I giggled at the thought of Dr. Venkman and Dr. Spengler running around Capitol Hill on the trail of Slimer. But I urge you to look past that to the wealth of ghost stories that are sandwiched in between ghost hunting tips and ghost sighting report forms. From Manresa Castle in Port Townsend to the Mount Baker Theatre in Bellingham, this book covers much more than just the Emerald City. You may be particularly interested in the story about the haunting at the Historic Everett Theatre on Colby:

For nearly thirty years, patrons, theater staff members, and renovators have reported encounters with an elderly male presence. Many have gotten the impression that this ghost is a devoted patron or a former employee. Psychic investigations of the site have confirmed the presence of a spirit. The entity has been located in the balcony, the aisles of the main floor, backstage, and in the lobby near the four white columns.

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, I guarantee you’ll find at least one story to interest you in these tomes. In fact, if you’re planning a bonfire and an evening of storytelling, be sure to pick up a copy of one (or all) of these books. When you read some of these stories out loud, you’ll have your audience in the palm of your hand.

Carol

Take a Walk

Spudnut Shop

The Old Spudnut Shop

Did you know that President Teddy Roosevelt gave a speech at the site of the EverPark Garage in 1903? Do you remember when the Spudnuts Shop served donuts right next to the Old Post Office?

The Everett Public Library’s newest podcast is a walking tour of Everett’s Central Business District. Starting and ending at the main library (2702 Hoyt Ave.), the tour covers 66 historic sites and stories along a 2.5 mile route. The tour is wonderfully narrated by the library’s own David Dilgard, an expert on all things Everett.

Visit the library’s podcast page to download the podcast to your computer, for use on your iPod or mp3 player. You’ll also find a downloadable map to help guide you, as well as a collection of new and historic photos to illustrate the tour for those of you listening in at home.

A CD recording of the walking tour may be checked out from the library. What are you waiting for?

You may  have read about the tour in the Everett Herald or the Snohomish County Tribune. Put on your walking shoes and take a stroll through Everett history.