Dick Blumenthal, Local Maritime Historian & Author, “Renton: When Rivers Disappear”
Dick Blumenthal began boating on the North shores of Lake Washington at age five. His “yacht” consisted of an eight foot homemade dingy and a pair of oars. He quickly learned how to row, spending many hours fishing and exploring the lake. By age seven, he graduated to a three-horse Evinrude, an engine that seemingly weighed as much as he did. Within a couple years, the family bought a small ski boat and Dick became proficient in that sport using bindings made from tennis shoes nailed to their homemade skis. From this early exposure to the water, Dick’s interests continued to grow. Throughout his childhood, and beyond, he cruised in the San Juans with family and friends, learning of the secrets held by the numerous islands.
Because of his long-time experiences on the water, in the late 1990s, Dick became more interested in local maritime history. Through his investigations he located the original journals of our earliest explorers. He transcribed this material to get a better sense of their efforts, the hardships they faced and the places they visited. This resulted in four books where a reader can review our early history as written by the men who made it.
His fifth book, “Maritime Place Names, Inland Washington Waters,” incorporates information from the earlier books plus a great deal more in his study of the origin of our place names. And his latest book, “How Many Islands? A History Around Lake Washington,” moves his research into the fresh water, with the history of early settlement around the Lake and a special emphasis on the islands within the Lake.
Aside from research and writing activities, Dick enjoys woodworking projects and spends most of his retirement time with home and gardening activities, traveling, and chasing after his six grandchildren.
Dick lives in Bellevue with Cathie, his wife of 50 years.