7352 HistoryLink.org essays now available.
On December 11, 1851, the ship's cook deliberately torched the schooner
Robert Bruce after he dosed the crew with laudanum. A Willapa Bay logger and his Indian helpers rescued the oystermen aboard and brought them ashore. They later settled what became Bruceport. Today, the Willapa Light
Station guides the way for any other addled mariners in the vicinity.
December 8 is the feast day of the Immaculate Conception and marks several historic anniversaries in local Roman Catholic history. The Sisters of Providence arrived at Fort Vancouver on that date in 1856, and Seattle's School of the Immaculate Conception dedicated its first new building on December 8, 1894, evolving from there into today's Seattle University. One hundred and five years later, the university co-hosted the historic visit of South African leader Nelson Mandela and his wife, Graca Machel, on December 8, 1999.
Seventy years ago this week, on December 11, 1946, a severe flood inundated downtown Kent, which led to renewed discussions of dam construction farther upstream. And 10 years ago this week, on December 14 and 15, 2006, a Hanukkah Eve windstorm knocked out power throughout Western Washington.
On December 13, 1950, coal miner John Wolti was trapped in a collapsed
mine at the now-forgotten mining town of Elk Coal in southeast King County. He suffered a 54-hour ordeal 400 feet underground before his rescue. It was the third time that Wolti had narrowly escaped death in a mine accident, and he decided to become a chicken rancher instead.
On December 13, 1983, the Pacific Northwest Ballet premiered a production of Nutcracker, choreographed by PNB artistic director Kent Stowell and with sets and costumes designed by Maurice Sendak. Last year PNB debuted a new Nutcracker, utilizing George Balanchine's 1954 choreography and modern designs by Ian Falconer.
I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.
-- William Wordsworth