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Bright Ideas
from the National Archives for NHD 1999

Resources at
NARA's Pacific Alaska Region (Seattle)


Pacific Northwest Wildlife And Fisheries

The Records of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Record Group 22) held by NARA's Pacific Alaska Region in Seattle contains material relating to the fisheries of the Columbia River and its tributaries and the effects of dams upon these fisheries. Also included is material concerning international topics such as whaling and pollution.

Records of The U.S. Science Exhibit at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair

The records contained in the Records of International Conferences, Commissions and Expositions (Record Group 43) held by NARA's Pacific Alaska Region in Seattle document the efforts of the Commissioner for the U.S. Science Exhibit to depict the role of science in modern civilization; to create wider public interest in the objectives, nature, spirit and actual work of science throughout the world; and to encourage careers in science. The records are primarily planning in nature. In addition to correspondence and general exhibit files, there are photographs of the exhibits as well as some artwork done in the planning stages of the exhibits. Although dated by today's standards and knowledge, the exhibits show where the cutting edge of science was in 1962.

Controlling the Columbia And Other Western Rivers

Since its creation in 1818, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Record Group 77) has had civil duties including maintaining and improving inland waterways and harbors, formulating and executing plans for flood control, and operating dams and locks. In the Pacific NW, the Corps of Engineers was responsible for the building of a series of dams on the Columbia River which allowed for the navigation of the river and which provide hydroelectric power to the region. NARA's Pacific Alaska Region in Seattle holds construction records for a number of these dams as well as records that document the construction of other dams and flood control projects. In many cases, links between the establishment of the dams and the decrease of the salmon population are now being established.

Using the Jet Stream: Japanese Balloon Bombs During WWII

During the waning days of WWII, the Japanese Army sent hundred of balloons with incendiary and high explosive bombs attached across the Pacific using the jet stream. Records held by NARA's Pacific Alaska Region in Seattle, including Records of the Forest Service (Record Group 95), the 13th Naval District (RG 181) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Manhattan District (RG 77), document the impact these bombs had on the Pacific NW and the distances these bombs traveled.

Connecting Lake Union with Puget Sound

At the turn of the century, the dream of connecting Lake Union, a land-locked fresh water lake in north Seattle with salt-water Puget Sound (and hence the Pacific Ocean) was realized with the construction of the Lake Washington Ship Canal and the Hiram Chittenden Locks. The Records of the Seattle District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Record Group 77) held by the National Archives at Seattle document the construction of the locks (including plans based on the Panama Canal) and the canal.

Living with and Using the Pacific Northwest Forests

The Records of the Forest Service (Record Group) documents the use of many of the Pacific NW forests and impact man has had on this natural resource. Logging, grazing and recreation are documented as well as many of the major fires that the Pacific NW has experienced. In addition to the records available at NARA's Pacific Alaska Region in Seattle, many have been digitized and are available through the NARA Homepage. Included in the Online Catalog (OPA) are panoramic photos taken from fire lookouts in Washington and Oregon, snapshot images of the forests including various recreational uses, recreational maps of the forests from the 1930's, and the fire report done after the Tillamook Burn which documents the fire and the process of regrowth in the forests following the fire.


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