True Tales of Puget Sound, new from The History Press, is a quirky, often funny collection of stories taken from the lore of 20 different Puget Sound communities. For instance, Fort Nisqually was built by the Hudson’s Bay Company in what is now DuPont but today it stands at Pt. Defiance Park in Tacoma.
“How did it get there, and why?” Author Dorothy Wilhelm wondered about history not included in school classes. There were other puzzling tales from the Puget Sound country. There’s the story that, in 1938, a mule ran for Mayor of Milton – and won. Well, there was an election and the mule did win but what’s the rest of the story?
From Orting comes the story of how the community saved their own Dark Tower (What Dark Tower?), or how about Nellie the Pig who guested on the late night talk shows and built a house in Gig Harbor? There’s the heart-warming story of the Heart Lady of Fox Island. True Tales of Puget Sound even contains an interview with the last of the Puget Sound Octopus wrestlers. Octopus wrestling was huge in the 60’s. The octopuses weren’t too crazy about it.
For more than a decade, author Dorothy Wilhelm collected quirky historical stories as she produced her TV show, My Home Town, on location in Puget Sound communities. it wasn’t until she moved to DuPont, where her daily walks took her past the vacant lot where historic Ft Nisqually once stood, marking the beginning of Washington Territory, that she began to ask questions. There’s no fort on that spot now. Why was it gone? As Wilhelm researched this and other puzzles of local history, her new book, True Tales of Puget Sound was born and will have its launch at Fort Nisqually’s present in Pt. Defiance site on January 20.
This new book, with a Foreword by radio host and commentator Dave Ross of KIRO radio news, features tales told by residents of the communities spotlighted. But there’s a surprising twist to the rest of each story that the community members themselves often don’t know.
The launch event for True Tales of Puget Sound will be held on January 20 at old Ft Nisqually in Pt. Defiance Park. From 11:00 to 4:00. Attendees will have the opportunity to do self guided tours of the Fort and to see for themselves the oldest standing buildings in Washington State. This special event takes place during regular museum hours, but there is a reduced rate for attendees of the launch event who will then have the opportunity to explore the whole museum.
This is a combination book launch and birthday party, as author Wilhelm is celebrating her 85th birthday – “Not quite as old as the state, but I’m gaining on it,” she says. Although True Tales of Puget Sound is not a children’s book, on this special occasion, Wilhelm will be both signing new books and offering short story times that will be fun for both children and adults.
11:30 – There Goes The Neighborhood! Ft Nisqually comes to Oregon Territory.
12:30 – Was Sasquatch really born in Bonney Lake? And The House That Nellie the Pig Built in Gig Harbor
1:30 – The Mule that ran for Office – and won! – in Milton
2:30 – Dorothy’s birthday party – Music by John (piano man) Reed
3:30 – The Heart Lady of Fox Island. Note: everyone attending this story hour will receive a “feely” heart to take home to remember the heart lady.
|Ages 3 & Younger||Free||Free||Free|
|Family (up to 2 adults, 6 youth)||$22.50||$35.50||N/A|
Cynthia J Endicott says
Can’t wait to see Dorothy’s new book! Wishing her a very Happy Birthday and many more adventures!
Ronald Frederick says
Dorothy – I wish I had known you were doing an article about Octopus Wrestling. I live in DuPont and participated in these events during the 1960s. I also have photos and a copy of a newspaper article written about my Dad and I in the Suburban Times. Maybe you still want to see it. Let me know.
Dorothy Wilhelm says
Adventures R us! Thanks!
Ronald – I wish I’d known, too. If you can give me your contact information, we may be able to think of something for later on. Any chance you can make the launch event on the 20th?
Ronald Frederick says
Yes, I believe I can make the launch. You have my email and my phone is 253-906-2487. My address is 1148 Aldrich Pl in DuPont. I have read your columns and other articles for many years.
William Elder says
Why the three column price structure?
Jerry Boothe says
Happy Birthday Dorothy!! I read your articles in the News Tribune the first Sunday of the month and they are a delight. I probably will miss the Fort Nisqually Book Launch but was wondering when you will be at the Lakewood Barnes & Noble store promoting your new book? I love your stories.