May 1, 2024 - News

This week in history: RIP Seattle streetcars

Two people stand next to a Seattle streetcar labeled "Green Lake" while a conductor signals to them, wearing a mask.

Masks required on a Seattle streetcar during the Spanish flu pandemic. Photo: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Here's a look at some of the April historical events in the city, sourced from state history encyclopedia HistoryLink and local newspaper and agency archives.

April 30, 1910: Interurban rail service began between Everett and Seattle. The route started near what is now Westlake Center, traveled through Fremont and along Phinney and Greenwood avenues to what is now Highway 99, linking North Seattle to downtown.

  • The city abandoned its streetcar system in the 1930s, with the last Seattle-Everett trip in 1939.

April 28, 1940: Syvilla Fort, the first Black student at Cornish College of the Arts, gave a dance performance at Seattle's Repertory Playhouse. She was accompanied by John Cage and his "prepared piano," an atonal instrument made by altering a conventional piano.

  • Fort and Cage went on to become influential figures in contemporary art: Fort for her Afro-modern dance technique, and Cage for his experimental compositions.
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