1852 – Tlingit Indians destroy Fort Selkirk, Yukon Territory.
Fort Selkirk is a former trading post on the Yukon River at the confluence of the Pelly River in Canada’s Yukon. For many years it was home to the Selkirk First Nation (Northern Tutchone).
Archaeological evidence shows that the site has been in use for at least 8,000 years. Robert Campbell established a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post nearby in 1848. In early 1852 he moved the post to its current location. Resenting the interference of the Hudson’s Bay Company with their traditional trade with interior Athabaskan First Nations, Chilkat Tlingit warriors attacked and looted the post that summer. It was rebuilt about 40 years later and became an important supply point along the Yukon River. It was essentially abandoned by the mid-1950s after the Klondike Highway bypassed it and Yukon River traffic died down.
At age 28, under the command of Inspector John Douglas Moodle, Francis Joseph Fitzgerald was the first to chart an overland route from Edmonton to Fort Selkirk, Yukon via northern British Columbia and the Pelly River (1897). The voyage took eleven months, having covered about 1,000 miles. As a result of this achievement, Fitzgerald was promoted corporal in 1899.
Many of the buildings have been restored and the Fort Selkirk Historic Site is owned and managed jointly by the Selkirk First Nation and the Yukon Government’s Department of Tourism and Culture. There is no road access. Most visitors get there by boat, though there is an airstrip, Fort Selkirk Aerodrome, at the site.
1961 – Stephen Hillenburg, American marine biologist, cartoonist, and animator
Stephen McDannell Hillenburg (born August 21, 1961) is an American cartoonist, animator, and former marine biologist. He is the creator of the television series SpongeBob SquarePants (1999–), which he has also directed, produced, and written. It has gone on the become one of the longest-running American television series as well as the highest-rated show ever to air on Nickelodeon.
Born in Lawton, Oklahoma and raised in Anaheim, California, Hillenburg became fascinated with the ocean as a child and also developed an interest in art. He started his professional career in 1984, instructing marine biology, at the Orange County Marine Institute, where he wrote The Intertidal Zone, an informative comic book about tide-pool animals, which he used to educate his students. In 1989, two years after leaving teaching, Hillenburg enrolled at the California Institute of the Arts to pursue a career in animation. He was later offered a job on the Nickelodeon animated television series Rocko’s Modern Life (1993–1996) after his success with short films The Green Beret and Wormholes (both 1992), which he made while studying animation.
In 1994, Hillenburg began developing The Intertidal Zone characters and concepts for what became SpongeBob SquarePants. The show premiered in 1999 and has been airing since then. He also directed The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004), which he originally intended to be the series finale. However, Nickelodeon wanted to produce more episodes, so Hillenburg resigned as the showrunner. He went back to making short films, with Hollywood Blvd., USA (2013). In 2015, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water premiered; the sequel to the 2004 film, it marked Hillenburg’s return to the show, after he co-wrote the story.
Besides his two Emmy Awards and six Annie Awards for SpongeBob SquarePants, Hillenburg has also received other recognition, such as an accolade from Heal the Bay for his efforts on elevating marine life awareness, and the Television Animation Award from the National Cartoonists Society. Despite this, he has been involved in public controversies, including one that was centered on speculation over the SpongeBob character’s intended sexual orientation, and a lawsuit that was filed against him. Hillenburg has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2017, but stated that he would still continue to work on his show.
Early life and education
Stephen Hillenburg was born on August 21, 1961, at Fort Sill, a United States Army post in Lawton, Oklahoma, where his father, Kelly N. Hillenburg Jr. (July 16, 1936 – August 30, 2006), was working for the U.S. military. His mother, Nancy (née Dufour), taught visually-impaired students. When he was a year old, the family moved to Orange County, California where his father began a career as a draftsman and designer in the aerospace industry. His younger brother, Bryan, followed in their father’s footsteps, becoming a draftsman and designer. Hillenburg has no recollection of life in Oklahoma, having grown up in Anaheim, California.
When an interviewer asked him to describe himself as a child, he replied that he was “probably well-meaning and naive like all kids.” His passion for sea life can be traced to his childhood, when several films by French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau made a strong impression on him. He has said that Cousteau “provided a view into that world”, which he did not know existed. He liked to explore tide pools as a child, bringing home objects that “should have been left there and that ended up dying and smelling really bad.” Also at a young age, Hillenburg developed his interest in art. His first drawing was of an orange slice. An illustration that he drew in third grade depicting “a bunch of army men … kissing and hugging instead of fighting” marked the first praise that he received for his work after his teacher commended it. “Of course, this is 1970 … She liked it because, I mean, obviously that was in the middle of [the Vietnam War]. She was, I would imagine, not a hundred percent for the war like a lot of people then. … I had no idea about the implications, really, because I just thought it was a funny idea. I remember that still, that moment when she said, ‘oh my gosh, look at that,'” Hillenburg elaborated. It was then when he knew that he “had some [creative] skill”. Hillenburg asserted that his artistry comes from his mother’s side, despite his father being a draftsman, noting that his maternal grandmother was “really, really gifted” and a “great painter”. In the 1970s, someone took him to the International Tournée of Animation at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Hillenburg was “knocked out” by the foreign animated films that were screened at the festival, including Dutch animator Paul Driessen’s The Killing of an Egg (1977). “That was the film that I thought was uniquely strange and that lodged itself in my head early on,” he recounted.
Hillenburg attended Savanna High School in Anaheim, describing himself as a “band geek” who played the trumpet. At age 15, he snorkeled for the first time; Hillenburg took part in a “dive program” at Woods Coves in Laguna Beach, California, as part of the Regional Occupational Program at Savanna. This experience, as well as subsequent dives, reinforced his interest in, and led to his decision to study, marine biology in college: “The switch clicked and I decided I wanted to be a marine biologist, but I also liked being an artist.” Some of his high-school teachers, who knew of his interest in art and fascination with the ocean, advised him otherwise, saying: “You should just draw fish.” However, the idea of drawing fish seemed boring to him and he was more riveted by “making weird, little paintings”. During a few summers after finishing high school, he worked as a fry cook and lobster boiler at a fast-food seafood restaurant in Maine. (This later inspired SpongeBob SquarePants’ occupation in the television series, which he would begin developing in 1994.)
Hillenburg went to Humboldt State University, in Arcata, California, as a marine-science major. He also minored in art, and claimed that “[he] blossomed as a painter in Humboldt.” In 1984, he earned his bachelor’s degree in natural-resource planning and interpretation, with an emphasis in marine resources. He intended to take a master’s degree, but said it would be in art: “Initially I think I assumed that if I went to school for art I would never have any way of making a living, so I thought it might be smarter to keep art my passion and hobby and study something else. But by the time I got to the end of my undergrad work, I realized I should be in art.”
“I’ve always been interested in art and making things, but I chose not to go to art school because I thought I needed to do something else. Art was a tough way to make a living. I’ve always done both. I just kind of figured that the marine biology would be a career and the art would be something I did for my own self-expression.”
— Stephen Hillenburg
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