When most people hear the name “Bertha” and Seattle, they probably think of the giant drilling machine moving under the city’s underground. But there’s another Bertha that pre-dates the one tunneling beneath the city. Bertha Ethel Knight Landes sat on the Seattle City Council in 1922 and became council president in 1924. In 1926, she ran against “Doc” Brown and became Seattle’s first and only female mayor. During her tenure, she advocated for public ownership of utilities and railways, renovated the Seattle Opera House, and appointed professionals to help put the city through “municipal housekeeping”. Bertha Landes organized the Women’s Civic League, studied unemployment, and served as the president of Washington State’s League of Women Voters. She continually urged women to enter politics, their “natural sphere”.
Contributed by: Amee Bahr