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News / Life / Clark County Life

This week in Clark County History, May 31, 2024

By Katie Bush
Published: May 31, 2024, 6:03am

100 years ago

On May 30, 1924, about 7,500 spectators watched a car, motorcycle and bicycle race held at the Clark County Fairgrounds. The high-speed matches featured “numerous spills” and wrecks, including “the most spectacular one … when George Lott, driving a Deusenberg eight, crashed with Harry Hale, driving an H.V.R. Special.” Both cars were wrecked but the drivers escaped without injury. Three Vancouver cyclists took top spots in the half-mile bicycle race: Huber Smith, Carol White and Harold Van Atta.

75 years ago

Some Vancouver residents felt a slight tremor around 10 p.m. on May 31, 1949 … or did they? Reports of an earthquake in the city “did not reach a very high pitch,” but the local police precinct and The Columbian received calls asking about the source of the disturbance. Individuals detailed “such typical earthquake reactions as falling books, shaking stoves and rattling windows.” The University of Washington, however, didn’t detect any seismic activity.

50 years ago

A young barn owl, received by state game officers in Hazel Dell, was taken to the Portland Zoo for treatment on May 27, 1974. Frank White, regional supervisor for the Washington State Department of Game, said the owl “was probably too young to fend for itself.” The golden-colored, white-faced owl had been found on the east side of the courthouse. After the zoo patched up the bird, it was released to the wild.

25 years ago

On May 26, 1999, around 100 people gathered in Esther Short Park to watch Mayor Royce Pollard and other dignitaries turn a symbolic shovel of dirt for the $1.07 million upgrade of the historic city commons. Considered a central piece of the city’s redevelopment plan, the project included a pavilion stage, a gazebo, walkways, playground equipment, restrooms, rose gardens and other landscaping. The first phase of the park’s renovation involved three-quarters of the grounds.

— Katie Bush is public historian at the Clark County Historical Museum