David Buerge

Media Frenzy for a Northwest Desperado: The Life and Legend of Harry Tracy

The Old West may feel like ancient history to most of us, but one of the bloodiest and most colorful of western outlaws ended his days right here in our Pacific Northwest just 119 years ago when Seattle was already a bustling, modern metropolis.

Before it was Kirkland…

We are not likely to find such antique sites in Kirkland because of the lake’s inexorable rise.  If we find antecedents of historic lake villages, they will be underwater. 

Requiem for Ruby Bishop’s Noble Old Cedar Tree, Felled by Weak Laws

The legal protections Seattle affords its trees are minimal compared to other American cities. For instance, New York and Boston aggressively protect their urban forests.  New York has 7 million trees, and it’s not clear to me that Seattle even knows how many it has. 

A Puget Sound Tsunami: The Next One will be Catastrophic

Geological evidence indicates that the Seattle Fault has slipped catastrophically 3,200 years ago, 1,700 years ago and 1,100 years ago.  This suggests a frequency of about once every 750 years so the 1,100 years separating us from the last big one would indicate we are overdue. 

The Ancient Ghost Trail from Beacon Hill to Seward Park

The old trail makes time a permeable membrane. This surprising pleasure gives us glimpses of our city's earlier and ancient world marked by lights and shadows amid a modern, cosmopolitan city.

Whitewashing Tulsa: How Popular Culture went to work

Leave it to New York and Hollywood to bury the dark secrets of Tulsa and Oklahoma and to turn these high central plains into nativist celebrations of white culture.

Coastal Tribes work to Reduce Vulnerability to Sea Rise and Tsunamis

Intelligent, dedicated residents in Washington's coastal communities provided the leadership to overcome political inertia and partisan stupidity. The groundwork for safety has been laid, so when the next big wave comes, physical damage will be great, but the horrors recalled in myth and legend need not be repeated.

Why We Should Stop Calling it the Salish Sea

Originally, the two straits and Puget Sound were known as the Gulf of Georgia, a name given by Captain George Vancouver in 1792 to honor his sovereign and patron, George III. It was a patronizing term then, much as the Salish Sea is now.

Chief Seattle’s Complex Life: Impresario, Warrior, Slaveholder, Peacemaker

In Puget Sound society, if a new and vigorous group showed up, one might have to fight them, but one could also intermarry with them, sharing in their vitality and mitigating violence. Seattle changed his course and set to work immediately to bring this peaceful vision about in his homeland around Elliott Bay.

Seattle’s Forgotten Battle

Historically the Battle of Seattle has been treated as an oddity: an engagement the Indians were bound to lose. In fact, it was a major setback for the settlers. And historians have largely ignored the crucial role played by the Duwamish and Chief Seattle.