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Thu August 23, 2012
5 things that ticked off Seattleites in the early '70s
It’s 1970 and the one thing really bugging one Seattleite – enough to make him/her write a letter and, apparently, leave the city – was hippies.
“Seattle got so bad with hippies, I just had to get out of that city,” the anonymous writer told Mayor Wes Uhlman.
In addition to hippies, we found four other things really bugging people in the early 1970s on the Flickr stream of the Seattle Municipal Archives – communists, smelly busses, the United Nations and protesters.
The ‘hippies’ letter
This letter to the mayor has been up on the city’s Flickr stream for a couple of years, it turns out, and just recently made the rounds on the Seattle section of Reddit where we ran into it.
Archivists for the city of Seattle found that letter and other complaints of note while going through files in the basement of City Hall. When they come upon something especially interesting, said Assistant City Archivist Julie Kerssen, they scan it and post it to their Flickr stream.
“The things like the letter … a lot of those came from Mayor Uhlman’s records,” she said. “It’s a huge collection and we were processing it a few years ago and as we were going through and organizing the records … we did come across some fun stuff.”
Darn United Nations
Another item the archivists dug up was a flier declaring: “Vietnam is a United Nations war. Get out of the U.N. so we can win and bring our men home.”
Just so happens that a story published yesterday on Seattlepi.com shows just how little attitudes have changed toward the U.N. among some Americans.
The PI writes: “Texas county prepares for ‘civil war’ after Obama’s re-election”
The Lubbock County judge – an administrative officer in those parts – wants more tax money to hire more deputies to deal with the civil unrest he seems certain will follow an Obama victory.
“He’s going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the UN, and what is going to happen when that happens?” Head asked.
Below are the other three notes of complaint we found as interesting as the archivists.
Front and back of a postcard sent to "Mare Almond" (aka Mayor Uhlman) in 1971. Found in folder "Anonymous 1971," Wesley Uhlman Subject Files (Record Series 5287-02), Seattle Municipal Archives. For more anti-Communist uproar, see our website for the story on protests against Pete Seeger's planned performance at the Opera House in 1965.
Letter to mayor re: smelly buses, 1970: “I'm betting he didn't get a lot of correspondence on clown stationery,” one archivist wrote. Found in the Wesley Uhlman Subject Files (Record Series 5287-02), Seattle Municipal Archives.
This note was posted on the archives’ website.