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Seattle's first newspaper, the Seattle Gazette, hit the streets on December 10, 1863. Just over three years and seven publishers later, the paper folded, about the same time that the Weekly Intelligencer began publication. In 1896, Alden J. Blethen took over a small paper named the The Seattle Times and built up its circulation.
On December 7, 1941, at 1:28 a.m., a secret United States Navy radio station on Bainbridge Island intercepted a message from Tokyo to the Japanese embassy in Washington, D.C. The message instructed the Japanese ambassador to break off peace negotiations with the United States, but its real purpose was to inform the ambassador that Japanese forces were about to attack Pearl Harbor. By the time the intercepted message was delivered to the U.S. Secretary of State in Washington, D.C., the battle had begun, and the U.S. declared war the next day.
On December 13, 1949, Bellingham lit the world's tallest Christmas tree but was bested a year later by Seattle's Northgate Shopping Center. And on December 13, 1983, the Pacific Northwest Ballet premiered a production of Nutcracker, with sets and costumes designed by Maurice Sendak.
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 narrowly escaped death in an underground mine accident, and he decided to become a chicken rancher instead.
On December 10, 1954, University of Washington President Dr. Henry Schmitz disapproved the nomination of J. Robert Oppenheimer as that year's Walker-Ames Lecturer. No reason was given, but the famed physicist and "father of the atomic bomb" was under attack for his alleged pro-Communist views. It wasn't the first time the UW succumbed to Cold War hysteria.
"There is, one knows not what sweet mystery about this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath."
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