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San Juan Islands, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 400, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

05 January 2012

The Steamer TOURIST ✪ ✪ ✪ By Captain Ed Shields

Inscribed by the Marine Salon Photo Studio, undated.
Original from the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Scty.©
by Seattle photographer James A. Turner, undated.
Original from the archives of the Saltwater People Hist. Society.©

"The TOURIST was a sternwheel steamer used to transport passengers and freight to various points in Puget Sound. She was shallow draft with dimensions of 156.8' x 27.9' x 7.6'. She was built in Port Blakely in 1907, owned at that time by the Puget Sound Navigation Co. When new, she was placed on the Bremerton-Port Orchard route. She was a handsome vessel with a tall, slightly raked smoke stack, huge sternwheel and high pilot house at the forward end of the upper deck. She was painted white. The upper deck was fitted with comfortable chairs and benches while freight was confined to the lower deck.
      In 1929 she was extensively rebuilt to serve as a freight vessel. Her shallow draft, requiring only four-feet of water, made her fitted for the Seattle-Mt. Vernon run, where she could navigate up the shallow reaches of the Skagit River. An elevator was installed on the forward deck; she also operated in the cross sound auto-passenger runs during the early days of auto ferries. The cars were loaded via the elevator with the TOURIST being moored alongside the wharf. The auto was driven onto the elevator by one of the crew members, the elevator lowered and the auto driven back into the freight area. The same scheme was employed in off-loading. The auto passengers were not in the car when loading or unloading.
The INDIAN owned by P.S. Freight Lines,
at Roche Harbor, San Juan Islands, WA.
House from the sternwheeler TOURIST.
Archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society.
      In 1937, the TOURIST was laid up for the last time. The pilot house was removed and installed on the new motor freighter INDIAN of the Puget Sound Freight Lines Co.
      The TOURIST was typical of several early freight and passenger vessels, being fitted with a sternwheel instead of with propeller as present vessels are equipped. Vessels of this type operated with a very low-pressure boiler, and the exhaust steam from the engine was discharged out the smoke stack, in a manner similar to the exhaust system used by steam railroad locomotives. She did not have condensers. In the early days the boiler fires were stoked with slab wood from the many saw mills in the area."
Text from: About the Boats
Captain J. Ed Shields 

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