On display at the exhibit, Western Union Tribune telegraphs notify Paul A. Young’s wife, Thelma, of his status as a Prisoner of War in 1945. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

On display at the exhibit, Western Union Tribune telegraphs notify Paul A. Young’s wife, Thelma, of his status as a Prisoner of War in 1945. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Historical Society of Federal Way’s new exhibit reflects on World War II

The society’s annual open house and exhibit grand opening is 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7.

The Historical Society of Federal Way invites you to take a local look back on the early 1940s.

“World War II: Washington Remembers” is the society’s latest exhibit, showcasing Federal Way’s service members, military artifacts from the 1930s and 1940s, along with stories of trials and tribulations felt throughout the state. While the foundation of the information is provided by Legacy Washington’s traveling exhibit, the historical society is adding local flair with memorabilia from Federal Way veterans.

“Before they liberated concentration camps or freed countries from tyranny, men and women in uniform … braved the unknown, lived through the unthinkable and changed who we are,” the Legacy website states.

“It’s kind of nice to see their different stories, the different battles, and what they did once they returned,” said Suzanne Vargo, board member of the historical society, of the exhibits spotlight features. “They’re all people that lived here in Federal Way.”

On display are several WWII uniforms from the U.S. Army and Marine Corps provided by local community members, along with a uniform worn during the Battle of the Bulge, which was donated by longtime South King Fire and Rescue member Roger Hershey.

“You’re going to walk into this room and be in a 1940s living room at Christmas time,” Vargo said of her vision for the exhibit setting.

Hanging in the entrance of the historical society is a plaque inscribed with dozens of names of local residents who signed up for the WWII draft, many of which were high school students from Federal Way, Vargo noted.

This exhibit is focused on people of local connection and how it affected the people of Federal Way, Vargo said.

Western Union Tribune articles show the heart-wrenching chronicles of local resident Paul Young and his status as a prisoner of war.

Throughout the exhibit’s stay through May, the society will also present programs about various issues the country faced during the 1940s, such as rationing gas, milk and sugar.

“We’ve never had to ration our sugar,” Vargo said. “I mean gas has gotten expensive, we may have re-thought our trips and how far we’re going to drive but nothing like what these people sacrificed. And back then, you just did it.”

Among the collection of artifacts are a rationing how-to guide and a vintage paper Kit-Kat candy bar wrapper, which reads: “This product is made with plain chocolate. Our standard Chocolate Crisp will be reintroduced as soon as milk is available.”

The society will also touch on the tragedy of internment camps and the mentality brought on by war that lasted decades, Vargo said.

When community members have a chance to explore how this war impacted Federal Way, it doesn’t seem as looming or distant and brings the history home to the heart of Washington, she said.

The annual open house and grand opening of the exhibit is from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7.

The Historical Society of Federal Way is located at 2645 S. 312th St. at the Steel Lake Park Annex. For more information, visit federalwayhistory.org.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@federalwaymirror.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.federalwaymirror.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

World War II: Washington Remembers will be on the display at the Historical Society of Federal Way beginning Dec. 7 through May 2020. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

World War II: Washington Remembers will be on the display at the Historical Society of Federal Way beginning Dec. 7 through May 2020. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

More in News

Redmond’s Silver Cloud Inn, purchased by county to become permanent supportive housing for the chronically homeless (photo credit: Cameron Sheppard)
King County Council approves plan for future of housing-first approach to homelessness

The plan will govern expenditures of Health through Housing dollars from 2022 to 2028.

t
Teen sons of Federal Way man fatally shot at bus stop were shot 2 days earlier

Three shootings in four days near same Kent location lead to one dead, five injured.

Judge's gavel
Self-proclaimed gang member sentenced for drug charges, violent carjackings

The 26-year-old man was arrested in January 2019.

tsr
Jingle Bell Brunch tradition returns in Federal Way

The holiday breakfast event included visits with Santa Claus, a hot cocoa station and more.

t
Tacoma woman killed in four-vehicle I-5 crash near Federal Way

Kent man arrested for investigation of vehicular homicide in early Saturday collision

This October 2021 photo provided by Pfizer shows kid-size doses of its COVID-19 vaccine.
King County woman among first in state to test positive for Omicron

Omicron appears to be more transmissible than the Delta variant.

Uso Hale’s body was discovered near the 4600 block of S. 352nd Street on Nov. 12 after neighbors called to report an object in the ditch. (Screenshot)
Kent man charged with murder after man fatally shot, left in ditch near Auburn

Body of Uso Hale, 39, found in unincorporated King County. His last known address was in Federal Way.

File photo
Black drivers disproportionately pulled over by WSP in King, Pierce counties

A study by WSU researchers examined over 3 million traffic stops performed by WSP officers.

Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror
PHOTOS: Federal Way residents celebrate holiday tree lighting

The tree lighting ceremony was held Dec. 4.

Most Read