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Pages of History: The origin of Wonder Stumps

From pages of the Del Norte Triplicate, November 1959.

Many years ago, a roaring fire swept over the forested area a few miles north and west of Crescent City.

The furious blaze leaped through dry underbrush and topped out in the giant redwood trees. For days, the fire burned, wiping out centuries-old forest monarchs, driving animals from their once green domain.

Each redwood became a gigantic torch. In a holocaust of sparks, the forest regents crashed to the blackened earth as the fire consumed them. Their ashes turned to charred dust and then disappeared as the fire ebbed and died.

For a long time, the dead hills and valleys lay waste. Then, slowly, green shoots burst through the ground and in a few short years, the forest began the long task of self-restoration.

Great snaggy stumps point tortured fingers toward the sky as if to call man’s attention to their silent agony. Twisted and gnarled redwood, now silvery white with dead age, became the skeletal spires of forgotten cathedrals.

These are Del Norte’s Wonder Stumps, grim in death, yet still bearing a stoic majesty. Each Wonder Stump stands alone, a desolate, but still proud monument to the grandeur of the redwoods.

Burglar helps himself

A burglar in Smith River with an impressive appetite helped himself to a few snacks when he broke into the Smith River Elementary School.

Missing: A 10-pound ham, 45 pounds of hamburger and 20 pounds of frankfurters.

Resident sheriff’s deputy James Love said entry was made through a side window into a storeroom near the school kitchen. Police are searching for … a well-fed burglar.

Coast Guard rescues

Twice in the past few days, Chief Everett Burke’s crew of the Coast Guard patrol boat has towed fishing vessels into port which were becalmed at sea with engine troubles.

The first was the Ocean Queen, towed in Sunday morning and yesterday the crew staged a repeat performance by towing in the Lil’ David.

Rare book found

At least two copies of a rare old book, the “History of Del Norte County,” are known to be in existence here in this county.

The owner of one volume, who wishes to remain unidentified, told The Triplicate that he knows of one other copy of the “History” owned by a county resident. There may be more.

Another copy of the book, printed by the Eureka Times and published by Wyman and Company in 1881, brought $1,800 at a collector’s book auction in San Francisco earlier this month. Only half a dozen histories are believed to be in existence.

Lumber truck crashes

A lumber truck apparently tired of waiting for its driver and rolled off on its own Sun­day afternoon in Crescent City.

The truck was parked near Punky’s Drive-in at 8th and L streets while the driver stopped to eat. The truck rolled down L Street to Fourth before it came to rest against a hedge.

Police cited the driver for leaving the truck unattended, the brakes off and the motor running.

 


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