Category Archives: History

Read about history through a woman’s eyes

March is Women’s History Month! 

The library has many overlooked titles that open up new worlds to us, teach us about the past to understand our own lives.  Here are some suggestions for reading about women’s fascinating lives in the past (click on the book cover for more information) ~

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Genealogy Resources @ your Library

America's Genealogy BankThe Burlington Library has several great online resources in addition to the book collection of the Skagit Valley Genealogy Society.  America’s Genealogy Bank includes Historical Newspapers (1690 – 1922), Historical Books (1749 – 1900), Historical Documents (1789 – 1994), Social Security Death Index (1937 – 2011).

We also have Proquest Library Edition and Heritage Quest.  These are also useful for local and regional history research in surprising ways.  Give them a try.  You just need your Burlington Public library card or to visit the library.

Contact library staff about how to make better use of them.  The Skagit Valley Genealogy Society volunteers are also available on the first Saturday of the month (except holiday weekends) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to help with detailed questions.


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Filed under Databases, Genealogy, History, Research & Homework

Flooding History

Watching the Skagit  and Nooksack Rivers rise and pool up in the low areas has been something of a tradition for Skagitonians.

Burlington Hill is in the background of the little cottage in Burlington Washington

Burlington Hill is in the background behind this little cottage in Burlington Washington.  For more info, click the postcard photograph.

Decades of news articles and photographs document the history of the rivers.  To learn what it was like there are two websites :

Historical Flood Article  Archives on the Skagit County website

And the Skagit River History website



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Library Program: A People’s Geology Guidebook

DaveTuckerDec92015Booktalk and Presentation:
A people’s geology guide book: “Geology Underfoot in Western Washington
Dave Tucker
Research Associate, Western Washington University
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
6:30 p.m.
Burlington Public Library
840 E. Washington Ave NW
Burlington WA 98233

Geology Underfoot in Western Washington is a get-out-of-the-car-and-put-your-hands-on-the-rock sort of guide book. The author, Dave Tucker of Bellingham, wrote the book for folks without academic background in geology, though geologists enjoy it and teachers use it.

The book is enhanced with with introductory color photographs and many descriptive diagrams. There are 22 field trips to places in the Cascades, Puget Lowlands, Olympic Mountains and the Pacific shore. Readers are introduced to some geologic essentials, such as plate tectonics, how rocks are named and dated, and a capsule geologic history of Washington State. Each chapter was reviewed by a geologist who has worked at the site, and field tested by a lay reader. The presentation will highlight one of the field trips, and explain how the book was put together.

Join us for this inspiring lecture and chance to meet the author of what is sure to become a classic on Washington’s magnificent geography. For more information about the book, visit Dave’s Northwest Geology Field Trips website,



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Filed under Books, History, Science, Washington

“Old Timer’s Tales” remembers the old technology

Edison phonographTuesday night the Burlington Historical Society brought its “Old Timer’s Tales” to the library living room.  Don Mapes, Duane Stowe and Jim Neff entertained us with stories of the Burlington before the streaming music and mp3 players. Mr. Neff brought in the cylinder style phonograph (sometimes called a gramophone) and played three great comedy recordings of the early days. It was a great community night and we look forward to more!

Old Timers Tales $th Annual


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Labor Day 1915

Caption reads: "A Typical American Working Man's Family going to a Labor Day Picnic" in 1915

Caption reads: “A Typical American Working Man’s Family going to a Labor Day Picnic” in 1915

According to the Tacoma Times one hundred years ago, there were active celebrations of Labor Day  even amidst the WWI news.


For the complete article, click the image from: “Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers from the Library of Congress”

But The Journal (of Burlington) in 1915 reported bank stockholder meetings and County fair activities but had no references to Labor Day as a holiday or event.

For more background on labor history here are few books

The fight in the fields : Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers movement by Susan Ferriss and Ricardo Sandoval

The working poor : invisible in America by David K. Shipler.

Sweat and blood : a history of U.S. labor unions by Gloria Skurzynski.

Company towns of the Pacific Northwest by Linda Carlson.

Harvest Wobblies : the Industrial Workers of the World and agricultural laborers in the American West, 1905-1930 by Greg Hall.

For more info on your homework and history research, contact us.




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Filed under Books, Celebrations & holidays, History, Research & Homework

History of Father’s Day

Collections of photographs and history about Father's Day

Library of Congress Collections of photographs and history about Father’s Day

The History of Father’s Day from Library of Congress collections includes photographs, posters and other historical memories to remind us to honor our fathers.

Historical Photographs remind us of our childhood – share the reverie with your fathers!

And last but not least – books about Fathers :






Daddy makes the best spaghetti by Anna Grossnickle Hines. (Kids)

The impossible knife of memory by Laurie Halse Anderson. (Teen)

To kill a mockingbird by Lee, Harper.

The bartender’s tale by Ivan Doig. (Adult)

Owen’s daughter : a novel by Jo-Ann Mapson. (Adult)

The Great Santini by Conroy, Pat.

Ask us for more!





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Explore History Through Comic Books

Wahl PresentationReaders, here’s a riddle for you: what do comic books and American history have in common? A lot more than you might expect!

Three weeks from today (March 24) comic book historian and journalist T. Andrew Wahl will visit the Burlington Public Library. Wahl will explore comic book heroes through the lens of a scholar, providing a fascinating view of our nation’s recent history. In this interactive multimedia presentation, we’ll learn how historical events can be seen in the evolution of characters from Wonder Woman to Spider-Man. Using audience members’ memories as a springboard, this conversation will connect comic book superheroes (and the occasional villain!) to historical topics including war, the advancement of civil rights, and the societal impacts of technology.

No matter if you’re a comic book reader or superhero movie viewer, you’re sure to enjoy this presentation. Give us a call at the library for more details (360-755-0760).

Who are your favorite comic books heroes and villains? Let us know in the comments!


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Filed under Adult programs, Books, History, Library events, Reading

If you liked…

Under A Flaming Sky by Daniel James Brown

Under A Flaming Sky by Daniel James Brown

It isn’t very often we have over 5 holds on a non-fiction book so we have ordered an extra copy of “Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown.  This title has been on the best-seller list for months.

For those of you who are waiting, several of us agree it is worth the wait. If you also liked Timothy Egan’s “Big Burn” you may also want to read “Under a Flaming Sky”, an earlier title by Brown.

All three are historical narratives with good stories of improbable survival, triumph and tragedy.  They serve to keep us aware of our tentative hold on life and humanity.



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Discover Burlington History @ the Library

Discovery Burlington History at the Library

Discover Burlington History Program Sept 16 7 pm at the Burlington Library

Tuesday evening, Sept 16, 7 pm
Burlington Public Library Community Meeting Room
820 E Washington Ave

Learn to find Burlington historical places, people, events, buildings, houses, dates, using the library and other new resources – print and online.  Also learn about the new Hub History Digital Collection of online photographs and documents for learning history.

Bring your questions and share your history stories with the Burlington Historical Society group for a fascinating trip back in time here in Skagit County.

Reference Librarian and local historian Karen Prasse will talk about finding the hidden-in-plain-site resources for history.

The program is sponsored by the Burlington Historical Society

For more information call 360-757-4757


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Filed under Burlington, Genealogy, History, Libraries