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Happy Birthday, Bertha Knight Landes – you were one of a kind

Saturday, Oct. 19, marks the 145th birthday of Bertha Knight Landes, after whom the SR 99 tunneling machine was named.

Ms. Landes didn’t dig any tunnels, but there’s no question she broke ground. Elected mayor of Seattle in 1926, she was the first woman to lead a major American city. During her two years in office she battled bootleggers, cleaned up corruption in city government and put the city’s finances in order.

She was active outside of politics, too, playing leadership roles in numerous organizations, including the Women’s University Club, the League of Women Voters and the Women’s Auxiliary of University Congregational Church.

Oh yeah. She was also a wife and mother of three. With a resume like that, it’s only fitting that the tunneling machine that’s changing the face of Seattle bear her name.

Happy birthday, Bertha. We’re doing our best to honor your name.