Diary

Make straight the way of the Lord

These where words any Scotsman would know, and would take literally.  We in America know the story of the Irish Potato famine quite well, but the Scottish story is less familiar.   I won’t recount it, but through the years it has had it’s share of starvation, oppression, and intentionally restricted trade oppurtunities.  The English had a way of keeping people under their thumb.  The British Empires an economic system first and foremost, and the object was to have more for a few, while keeping others down.  The Scots were down when John Knox got a hold of them, and by spit, fire and fury he whipped them into shape and organized them.  An organizational system was put into place to keep the church straight.  The church dominated politics in Scotland.  Education Reform was enacted in 1689 at the conclusion of the Glorious Revolution.  It required a school in every parish.  The Scots took to education quite well.  They worked very hard.  The 18th century saw them developing Ulster Ireland (the North).  What they revealed in their national character was a style of architecture and landscaping called Georgian.  The Scots loved symmetry.

But their was a problem.  The Scots were bursting forth in Ireland, creating wealth and bringing order to the Island.  They were becoming quite succesful.  The London Merchants felt threatened.  They went to Parliament, where they vastly outnumbered both Scottish and Irish representatives.  Rules were put into place to limit exports to other countries.  At first it was on just one product, wool.  Then when the Irish (Scots and native Irish were closer at this time) became succesful at cattle, restrictions on cattle export were put into place; Corn grows well, corn law were put into place.  The Scots finally got sick of it and left for other countries.  many came to America.  When English laws in America started to look too much like they were in Ireland, a revolution happened.  The Scots went after the English with a fury.  There was no recruitment problem for Washington’s Army where there were plentiful Scots-Irish who had been disenfranchised before.

The Scots stayed in the Army of the new Republic.  The order and discipline suited them.  Over the decades they became familiar with the landscape, and new how to take the most direct route.

The Scottish frontiersmen in the south occupied the borderlands of the frontier.  The English dominated the coasts and ports.  They had mostly retained their land which they had before the war.  Land that had been granted to them by the King.  Their coastal economy was based on slavery.  The Scottish frontiersman in the north pushed into western MA, New York, and the land gained by General Clark (cousin of Lewis and Clark, Clark).  Clarks expedition had landed them at the present site of Fort Vancouver, but by democratic vote, they went to the south side of the Columbia for the winter.  the northern economy was of commerce, and the internal infrastructures of the state was well developed.  Products could get to market easily, and power was plentiful because of fast moving streams.

By 1824, frustration had begun to set in again.  Because of topography, and the cost of getting product of market, the Scots (and other frontiersmen) were getting frustrated.  Andrew Jackson, the soon to be first Scots-Irish President, (Oh great merciful one….not), had won the popular election by a good margin.  But in the house of Representatives John Quincy had finagled the Presidency.  This pissed off Jackson immensly.  But instead of just staying mad, he got even.  He worked the next three years to build a coalition to defeat Adams.  He used the slogan “they have set up a rigged game”.  It was.  The South used the free labor of Black Men to grow cotton, readily accessed by New England ships.  The North got rich at slavery, while at the same time condemning Southeners.  Jackson won his election, and broke the doors to the southwest open.  His victory came at the cost of Black men and Indians.

The status quo lasted for fourty years.  Early in Jackson’s presidency a precedent was established.  No roads for America.  The South feared being by-passed.  The initial action was “The Mayfield Road Veto”.  Their was to be no internal improvements involving one state alone, at the expense of the national treasury.

By 1853, the Republicans were gaining power.  They had enough to win a vote to build a road in Washington State.  The road was to go from Fort Vancouver, to Fort Duwamish.  Men were sent out to survey the road, but starting the construction would have to wait until after the Civil War.

The Civil War had terrible consequences, and the People were sorely tried.  Moral questions were at the forefront of everyones mind.  The Battle Hymn of the republic was written during the war, and it was a soalful, melancholy, yet militant and spiritual tune.  Thoughts of how civilization would be rebuilt after the War were on the minds of those who did the planning.  Men like Frederick Law Olmstead, and John Muir were looking for a new way to keep men civil.  Muir found it in nature, Olmstead found it in designing cities with park space and uplifting architecture.  R H Thomsen, city engineer of Seattle, grew up with the Civil War  legacy all around him.  TR did too, but surrounded by the wealthy, whom he despised because of their selfishness.  What TR did for the national forests of Washington, The Olmstead Sons did for the city of Seattle.  Morallity was imprinted on both.

Back to my road.  The road was completed in 1873.  It terminated in South Seattle, at Fort Duwamish.  The area is now called South Park (from Olmsteads Plan), and Georgetown.  There are still little 15’X25′ houses in both neighborhoods, left over from the Fort.  They have been moved all around the area, but I’ll get to that later.  The road was built over a 25 mile section of land that had ‘floated’ into Washington State (Tectonic Plate theory).  It is almost perfectly symmetrical.  Once over the bluffs of the plate, it is relatively flat, with lots of sand and loamy soil that can easily be graded into a road, which they did.  It ran straight from Fort Mahoney to Fort Duwamish.  It was mostly Scotsmen in the Army, and they were the layers out of this valuable road.  Their religion and experience told them to ‘make straight the way of the Lord’.  A new society was going to be built, and no more of the English ‘crooked paths’ were to be laid.  It ran straight and true along the ridge of the plate.  The ‘Island’ was bisected perfectly.  And it pointed at the highlands above Seattle.  Their is an old Irish song sung by a Tacoman, Bing Crosby, that has the phrase  “you take the high road, and I’ll take the low road”.  The road, Federal Way, took the high road.  These were good and honorable men for the most part that founded these cities.

The Countries men had been badly killed and maimed by the Civil War, so the Government brought in Chinese labor.  It took ten years to build the road.  The Chinese, at the completion of the work, ended up in Seattle.  The same year, the Northern Pacific railroad arrived…but in the wrong place.  It landed in Tacoma.  The competition begins. The competition is mostly healthy.  They are twin cities by design of the road.  They are more than content to have complementary names for city features.  Edgewood, Lakewood, Lakemont, Edgemont, they are names repeated in both cities, and rotate off the same axis.  Things are happy, peaceful, and prosperous.

Coming into the City of Seattle, was a young engineer by the name of R H Thomsen.  The year is 1883.  He is a strict and straight Scots-Irish Presbyterian.   Art would call him a dour Presbyterian.   He builds straight roads, and he doesn’t make dirty deals.  He never gets rich.  He is hired by his brother-in-law to assist him in his surveying business.  Turns out he is a genius at surveying.  Within two years he is the city surveyor, and has the absolute trust of the City Council.  The town founders and councilmen are well backed by the eastern financiers.  But they have to maintain integrity in the building of the city.  The financiers don’t wan’t wild cost overruns.  The Council needs someone to depend on, and that person turns out out be Heber (Thomsen’s nickname).

One of the first things he did was lay out a roadway over the marshy Duwamish to South Park and Georgetown.  They were to be a central and vital part of the City, but in the future.  For now they were the breadbasket of Seattle, and critical to it’s gaining supremacy in the region.  This insured the food supply.  He laid it out not in a brutal and confiscatory way, but in working with the earths natural terrain, and respectful of the citizenry already living there.  Industry had already come their, with a electricity generating plant built in Georgetown in 1906.  It wasn’t Looserville, it was an equal partner in the future.  And yes, the road was straight.  It was called the Grant Street Road, in respect for the War hero and President.  Grant was a hero to the folk, and Teddy Roosevelt was quickly replacing him.  note: all three were Republicans

Corruption was rampant in these times, but it had not yet affected Seattle very much.  The new order TR brought was progressiveism and saving a part of forest for the People.  This was critical to the progressive movement at the time.  But it had to be built on a fresh foundation, not an old crooked one.  The West was the only place it could happen.  And it did.  It was laid into the foundations of civil roads, landscape, buildings, and schools.  Everywhere the new ‘Hope and Change’ was apparent.  Their was nothing sinister about it, it was truly for the People.  And it took planning, good planning.  The machinery of progressiveism was stolen by Woodrow Wilson, but I won’t get into that now.  The important point is that Progressive in the West is nothing sinister.  It was discussed openly amongst the elite with their financiers, but put to a vote of the People.  Each issue was broken down, put on a ballot, discussed feverishly, then voted on.  Open and accountable.

Thomsen’s Grant street Bridge would have been called the 7th Ave. bridge.  Eventually at one time or the other their were four bridges.  1st Ave., 7th Ave. or Grant Street, 14th Ave. or Military Road, and now 21st Ave. or Boeing bridge (private road, not part of the community).  Do you see a pattern here?  Multiples of seven.  Symbols of holiness.  It’s hard to see if you don’t live in tis city, but the heart of the Seattlite is good.  Frustration leads to some cynical, and even self-destructive behavior, but I am not the person to judge peoples private decisions.  I can just offer an alternative.  God has always had the discipline to allow free-will…. I don’t trump him.  There is a road into the city for Republicans, but it is not based on the old ways of the East and South.

An evil has affected the city.  It is based on selfishness and corruption.  It’s name is King County Government, and it’s henchman is the city of Tukwilla and Seatac.  The opening for the evil was based on the taking of land occuring during WW2.  Seattle, Boeing, Residents of South Park and Georgetown, and the Italians are the good guys in this story.  King County and it’s henchmen are the dark force of evil, the Sith if you will.  The Japanese (and some remnant Chinese) are the tragic victims.  If you are sick and tired of the Democratic thuggery masquerading around as progressiveism and pretending to represent the values of the Reverend, let me repeat, The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. (yes his father had the same name and title) come follow me, and I’ll give you a tour of my City and County.  And yes, they were both Republicans.

Their is a road into Seattle for the Republicans.  It lies straight up the real military road, and over the South Park Bridge.  but you have to check your ideological guns in at the city limit.  The City was built for The People.  And the shining lights are on the high road and hills.