“In politics it commonly takes a superior woman to overcome the handicap of traditional prejudice.” -Bertha Knight Landes
The Wonderland Trail, on the slopes of Mount Rainier, was first climbed in 1909 by the Mountaineers.
Among the ranks of the first expedition was Betha Knight Landes, the woman who would become the first female mayor of Seattle.
Scaling gigantic mountains was in keeping with her tough personality. Her steely nerve was manifest in everything she set her hand to. Climbing up glaciers and crossing chasms in an ankle-length wool skirt isn’t for the faint of heart, after all.
Joining Landes was another female Mountaineer who was a teacher: Lydia Lovering. Lydia was a fellow suffragette who left a pennant in the crater of Mt. Rainer that read “Votes for Women.”
During her Mountaineering years, Landes was an active civic organizer, heading up several women’s groups as well as sitting as the president of the Washington State chapter of the League of Women voters.
Climbing up glaciers and crossing chasms in an ankle-length wool skirt isn’t for the faint of heart.
How tough was Bertha Knight Landes? A century after she joined the Mountaineers in their groundbreaking expedition of the Wonderland Trail, the Seattle city council named a 57-foot-diameter tunnel boring machine after her. “Bertha”, the machine, would be used to plow a new automobile route under the city near the ailing Alaskan Way Viaduct.
Bertha Knight Landes was thus remembered as someone who plowed ahead through all strata of apparently impossible obstacles.
Undaunted, she forged a new path for women.
This story is one of many delightful, lesser-told, Pacific Northwest centric stories inspired by our coffee blend names. We hope you enjoy reading them over a cup of great coffee.