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From the Editor

Many thanks to Historical Society treasurer Gisela Rohde, seen below holding a USS Milwaukee Memorial, for her enthusiasm in creating and promoting this fantastic fundraiser. Many thanks, as well, to all our readers and supporters who have participated and now own their own piece of the Milwaukee. A number of these framed, limited, signed, and numbered collectibles are still available at the Barnum House Bookstore - only 100 were produced. Proceeds all go to the digitizing of the HCHS photo collection, which includes over 70,000 historical images.

The wreck of the Milwaukee has personal resonance for many today whose family histories include ancestors who visited the grounded ship, who helped with the rescue efforts, or who were on the crew, as well as for those who have been out to the north spit and seen the remains of the ship for themselves, still visible at minus tide. Ethno-geographer and historian - and current HCHS president - Jerry Rohde gives the history of the Milwaukee in its most complete iteration yet, in "The Presence of the Past" on page 20.

Just how does something as major as the creation of the Woodley Island Marina come about? The formation, the challenges and accomplishments, and the individual commissioners of the Humboldt Bay Harbor District are all presented here in our opening story, by Jeremiah Scott, Jr., who served as legal counsel for the Harbor District for thirty years. Turn to page 10.

Additionally, Dora Rasmussen Smith of turn-of-the-19th-century Ferndale presents her Friendship Book on page 34, as well as her report card from the State School of Manual Arts. As for the other fine tales - all true! - which await you in this issue of the Humboldt Historian, from the amazing Alexander von Humboldt to the merry men of the Pistol River Band: enjoy!


HUMBOLDT HISTORIAN

Spring 2013 - Volume 62, Number 1

10 - THE HUMBOLDT BAY HARBOR DISTRICT: The First Thirty-One Years, 1973–2004 - By Jeremiah R. Scott, Jr.

A first-hand history of the Harbor District's formation and accomplishments.

18 - WHY "HUMBOLDT," ANYWAY? - History's Mysteries - By Barry Evans

Why did the captain and pilot of the Laura Virginia name Humboldt Bay after an eighty-one-year-old Prussian naturalist who had never been here?

20 - DECKING FROM THE DISASTER: A MEMORIAL TO THE USS MILWAUKEE - The Presence of the Past - By Jerry Rohde

How a series of command decisions sealed the fate of the navy cruiser, still visible on Samoa Beach at minus tide.

26 - CAPTAIN MARBLE'S MATRIMONIAL MANIA - You Didn't Hear it From Me - By Louella Parsnips

Tales of a serial marrier.

32 - PISTOL RIVER BAND OF MERRY MEN - By Gilbert Cline

Mistaken identities corrected and much more.

34 - THE FASCINATING LIFE OF DORA RASMUSSEN SMITH - By Paul Rasmussen Smith

Dora Rasmussen had many adventures before she married and raised a son–the author's father.

40 - SETH KINMAN, DOC SIMPSON, & THE UR-ELK-HORN CHAIR - By Ann Roberts

America's first, and perhaps only, Presidential Chair Maker.




Gisela Rohde holds a USS Milwaukee Memorial plaque, available at the Historical Society bookstore.