Steve Dunkelberger returns on this episode to talk PNW military history. Steve has been a working journalist for more than 20 years at various publications around the Puget Sound. In addition to being a journalist, he is also a judge for the Society of Professional Journalists National Sigma Delta Chi Journalism Awards. He has also has given lectures in the area on issues facing journalists, is a member of the Knights of the Pythias, and offers Drunken History tours of Tacoma. Steve has written two history books on the city of Lakewood and has just published his newest book on McNeil Island. He has also had several of his historical articles published on Historylink.org and in Columbia magazine. His past GCP episodes are Episode 10, a Best Of on Jake Bird, Episode 17 where the guys get to tour The Knights of Pythias’s Commencement Lodge #7, Episode 44 where they discuss The Maury Island Incident, and Episode 61 where they talk Drunk History.
1:30 – Justin shares information on their Patreon account, talks about the upcoming Boot to Boot event on the 29th, and Jeff explains the rules behind Das Boot. Scott gives props to The Camp Bar, Justin discourages people from buying after market/trunk meet, and Steve shares where people can find him online. Steve then dives into PNW military history, he explains that the first 4th of July celebration happened on the west coast in 1841, and him and Scott debate why the celebration was on the 4th instead of the 5th.
15:01 – Steve talks about the 1854 war with the Native Americans, Pierce County voters in 1917 voting to float $2,000,000 bonds to buy land in Pierce County and gift it to the government, and the condition behind the vote. He talks about how the base was officially opened 9 months later, the patriotism parade oopsie, and then discusses the Spanish flu epidemic.
30:05 – He discusses the history behind McChord Air Force Base that started out as Tacoma Fields, it becoming the air force base in 1947, and the first official Air Force casualties being at McChord. Steve talks about how influential the military was on the PNW growth, Tacoma almost going bankrupt in 1898, and Fort Lewis being a WWII POW facility.
43:40 – Steve talks about the Stars and Stripes newspaper, the liberation edition, and he talks about his newest book on McNeil Island. He discusses Roy Gardner the king of prison escapes, farming that happened on the island, and where people can find his book. He talks about what’s new with the Knights of Pythias, this History Happy Hour at The Swiss on July 18th, and Steve lets listeners know how they can pass story ideas to him.
Thanks Steve for another great episode!!Support The Grit City Podcast