This Week Then: How 5 Nuns Established Health Care in the PNW

Plus: Looking back on the Seattle Sounders' first MLS Cup
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Provident Souls

On December 8, 1856, the Sisters of Providence arrived at Fort Vancouver, where they quickly established a boarding school, an orphanage, and St. Joseph's Hospital. Their mission was to build and operate schools and hospitals throughout the Pacific Northwest. In 1878 they opened their first hospital in Seattle, on the present site of the William Kenzo Nakamura Federal Courthouse.

Seattle's Providence Hospital was designed in part by Mother Joseph, who also supervised its construction and is recognized as one of the first architects in Washington Territory. The hospital aided the sick and indigent until 1911, when the Sisters moved to the present site of the Providence Seattle Medical Center. In 2000, Providence and Swedish Medical Center merged.

In 1879, a year after the Sisters opened Providence Hospital in Seattle, they laid the cornerstone for St. Mary's Hospital in Walla Walla, adjacent to St. Vincent's Academy, established by the Sisters in 1864. In 1892 they founded the Northwest's first school of nursing in Portland, followed by the Providence School of Nursing in Seattle. And in 1898 they established the Sacred Heart School of Nursing in Spokane, again under the leadership and to the design of Mother Joseph, then in her 70s.

In 1902 Mother Joseph died of cancer at Providence Academy in Vancouver -- another building that she designed and built. In 1999 the state proclaimed April 16 -- her birthday -- as Mother Joseph Day

Prominent Goals

On December 10, 2016, Seattle Sounders FC captured its first MLS Cup, Major League Soccer's championship trophy, defeating Toronto FC at Toronto's BMO Field. The team got its start in 2007, when Seattle was granted an expansion franchise for MLS, the sport's premier league in North America. The Sounders' first game was played in 2009, and it is the only team to have won four U.S. Open cups.

And more sports history was made this week when Seattle was awarded a National Hockey League franchise for an as yet unnamed team that is expected to begin playing in the 2021-2022 season. More than a century ago, Washington celebrated its first major-league championship when the Seattle Metropolitans hockey team won the Stanley Cup by defeating Les Canadiens of Montreal three games to one. It was the first time since Lord Stanley donated the cup in 1892 that the trophy went to a team not from Canada.

The Mets played in the Stanley Cup finals again in 1919, but the championship match was canceled after five games due to the Spanish Flu epidemic. Local sports fans had to wait 60 years for another major league crown, which finally came when the Seattle SuperSonics basketball team won the NBA championship in 1979. The new hockey team will be the city's first winter-sports franchise since the Sonics left for Oklahoma 10 years ago.


Landward Transitions

On December 11, 1851, the ship's cook deliberately torched the schooner Robert Bruce after he dosed the crew with laudanum. A Willapa Bay logger and his Indian workers saved the oystermen who were aboard and brought them ashore. The rescued men later settled what became Bruceport. Today, the Willapa Light Station guides the way for any other addled mariners in the vicinity.

County Positions

On December 7, 1899, Governor John R. Rogers formally established Chelan County out of parts of Kittitas and Okanogan counties. Wenatchee was chosen as the county seat, but residents of Chelan -- which had campaigned to be the seat -- were selected as county officials.

Books and Musicians

On December 12, 1907, Walla Walla residents gathered at the Keylor Grand Theater to see the Walla Walla Symphony Orchestra's first concert, two years after having attended the dedication ceremonies for their brand new, Carnegie-funded library.

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