Vashon Heritage Museum presents a film screening of “Verona: The Story of the Everett Massacre” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 15, at the Vashon Theatre. Purchase tickets at the door, with a suggested donation of $10 per person.
On Nov. 5, 1916, the steamship Verona, captained by Vashon resident Chauncey Wiman, sailed from Seattle to Everett packed with members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Sheriff Donald McRae and 140 armed deputies met the steamer at the city dock and refused to let them disembark. Emotions were intense on both sides when the first shot was fired. When the shooting finally stopped, five men were dead, two dying, six missing, and dozens wounded.
What started as a strike between the town’s shingle weavers union and mill owners turned into a free-speech fight between the IWW and Sheriff McRae, a man elected twice with the support of workers. The violence escalated, leaving the town torn in two, the shingle weavers union destroyed, and seven men dead. And all the while, the mills kept turning out red cedar shingles and making the mill owners rich.
With stunning historical footage and expert analysis, “Verona: The Story of the Everett Massacre” explores how the conflict between the have’s and have-not’s destroys lives and how those with power and money turn those without power and money against one another. The film was written, produced, and directed by Denise Ohio.
PHOTO CAPTION: The SS Verona was built in Dockton in 1910 by the Martinolich Shipbuilding Company, which also built her sister steamers Vashon, Nisqually, and Calista. | Courtesy Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Association