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From the Editor

It is a season of celebrations and we begin this Wintertime issue of the Humboldt Historian with a heartwarming celebration of the human spirit as we read Bob Titlow's tale of "The Great Flood." Courage and generosity were the order of the day for just about everyone on the North Coast during this natural disaster. Among the many civilian heroes of December 1964 was North Coast aviator Les Pierce, who, having begun helicopter lessons one year before, made many daring rescues under dangerous conditions of wind, rain, and fog. His story begins on page 34.

This issue also celebrates the arrival of the Brizard Collection—please see page 5. Brizard had several branch stores east of Arcata, where far-flung miners and farmers could get groceries, tools, mail, and exchange their gold. The value and remoteness of the branch stores sometimes made them vulnerable to desperadoes, as seen in Jerry Rohde's gripping tale, "Burglaries at Brizard's," or, on the lighter side, could lead a lonesome storekeeper over the edge, as reported by Louella Parsnips in her offering, "Soused at Somes Bar."

We also celebrate a pioneer Arcata family, Elmira and Thomas Anderson, whose simple lives of midwifery and selling vegetables included a family tradition of making donations to Humboldt State, and whose pioneer home has now been recognized thanks to their great-grandson, Thane Parton. See page 20.

Finally, let us celebrate "Growing Up Years in Crannell" with Wilbur Shoup, and the story behind "Arcata's Cannon," revealed here by history sleuth Bob Felter.

With wishes for happy holiday celebrations to all, from all of us at the Humboldt County Historical Society!


HUMBOLDT HISTORIAN

Winter 2012 - Volume 61, Number 4

12 - THE GREAT FLOOD - By Bob Titlow

Many holiday travelers spent the Christmas of 1964 stranded on the Redwood Highway surrounded by floodwaters. Their stories, like so many from this disastrous event, are of strangers sharing all they can, and heroic rescues. This is one such story.

18 - BURGLARIES AT BRIZARD'S - THE PRESENCE OF THE PAST - By Jerry Rohde

Greed, violent crimes, and revenge in the back country.

20 - A GRANDMOTHER'S QUESTION; A FATHER'S WISH - By Thane Parton

The author shares the story of his great-grandparents, Thomas and Elmira Anderson, and their pioneer home on the HSU campus.

26 - GROWING UP DAYS IN CRANNELL - By Wilbur Shoup

Crannell was a very special place in which to grow up.

28 - ARCATA'S CANNON - By Bob Felter

Where did the Japanese-made weapon come from, and how did it happen to land in Arcata?

34 - NORTH COAST AVIATOR LES PIERCE - Excerpt from "North Coast Aviators," a new book edited by Marc Matteoli

Adventures with Les Pierce, who founded the first commercial airline on the North Coast.

38 - SOUSED AT SOMES BAR - YOU DIDN'T HEAR IT FROM ME - By Louella Parsnips

The temptations of Mr. Samuel Doepke, storekeeper for A. Brizard.




On the Cover - The Brizard Collection

Pictured on the cover is a detail from Alexander Brizard's 1872 certificate from the Society of California Pioneers, which is one of many historical treasures that came to the Historical Society recently from the Brizard Company. A crate of Brizard Company ledgers and journals is seen above.








From the Editor

Fall brings, among other fine things, football season and a new school term. This Fall issue of the Humboldt Historian embraces both of these themes, and a few others, too.

Few Humboldters recall the story of Leo Gallagher, a prince of a young man who died on the Fortuna High football field in 1928. This year is the one-hundredth anniversary of Leo's birth, in honor of which Dr. Alex Service of the Fortuna Depot Museum takes us back to the halls and fields of Fortuna High to share Leo's bright but too-brief career, beginning on page 20.

We've all heard stories, but how strict did the nuns use to be at parochial schools? Perhaps not so very, at least when it comes to the Sisters of St. Joseph. Join alumnus Jim Pegolotti for a trip to Ferndale's Assumption School, which served the Eel River Valley's melting pot of European immigrants from 1893 to 1968. Turn to page 10.

Of course, the old-fashioned country school had its own special charms, recalled here by Ricks L. Falk--who also has fond memories of run-ins with the Sisters of St. Joseph (for engaging in wheelchair races at the hospital and other hijinks). Please see "Feisty Falks--the Third Generation," on page 27.

Readers, you will also find more football courtesy of Jeremiah Scott, Jr. and Bill Prentice on page 34, and the opportunity to explore a darker fall theme, should you choose to enter the world of the Night Walker, who waits on page 30.

Finally, do not forget to keep an eye out for mischievous woodland wordplay in "Doctor Nurse"with your host Jerry Rohde, on page 18, and brace yourself for an exciting sea rescue in Mary Ann Machi's "The Sinking of the Yacht Flamingo," on page 36.


HUMBOLDT HISTORIAN

Fall 2012 - Volume 61, Number 3

10 - ASSUMPTION SCHOOL, 1893-1968 - By James Pegolotti

A history of the school and its place in the Ferndale community, enlivened by many colorful student recollections.

18 - "DOCTOR NURSE" - THE PRESENCE OF THE PAST - By Jerry Rohde

Woodland wordplay.

20 - A TRAGEDY IN FORTUNA - By Dr. Alex Service

Leo Gallagher's untimely death led to a fourteen-year cessation of football at Fortuna High.

27 - FEISTY FALKS - THE THIRD GENERATION - By Ricks L. Falk

More on the spirited Falk men, and reminiscences of life in a simpler, even idyllic era.

30 - VISITATIONS OF THE NIGHT WALKER - YOU DIDN'T HEAR IT FROM ME - By Louella Parsnips

Every few nights in Eureka, the dwelling of some honest citizen was infiltrated by the Night Walker.

34 - UNIVERSITY OF SANTA CLARA FOOTBALL & BILL PRENTICE - By Jeremiah Scott, Jr.

A former Eureka High athlete & college football star recalls highlights from his college seasons.

36 - THE SINKING OF THE YACHT FLAMINGO - By Mary Ann Machi

Heroes of Shelter Cove.




The Humboldt Project

Above: Greeting the passenger steamer at Eureka. This postcard is one of hundreds which Steven Lazar has scanned and posted on the Internet. "The Humboldt Project" can be viewed and enjoyed at http://thehumboldtproject.org. What you will see is just the beginning. Lazar has thousands of postcards yet to scan, as well as those of other local collectors who are contributing to this remarkable public repository of Humboldt images.