"Of all national assets, archives are the most precious:
they are the gift of one generation to another,
and the extent of our care of them marks the
extent of our civilization." Arthur Doughty.

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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 500, 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.

20 September 2012

❖ Waterfront Burn for the FLYER ❖

The postcard, mailed 4 July 1909,
notes a US mileage record earned by the FLYER,
steaming 87,000 miles per year.

Old Ship FLYER to Be Burned 
as Waterfront Tongues 
Tell of Her Fame

May 1929
"Next week residents of Richmond Beach will have the opportunity to see a gaunt specter of a ship, her orange funnel gleaming in the sunlight, slowly ride at anchor off the sands of the beach. But no smoke will be pouring from the funnel nor will there be the beat of drumming engines. She will be just a creaking old hull, stripped of brasswork and fittings, mulling over the glories of her past.
      A panting little tug will fasten cables to her, and slowly the hull will be dragged up to the beach. Then, as night falls, flames will lick greedily into her vitals and the old FLYER, now the WASHINGTON, once pride of Puget Sound, will be no more.
      Back in 1891 the FLYER's wooden hull went down the ways at Portland. She was brought to Puget Sound immediately and on those inland waters has carried the American flag a distance equal to five times around the globe. Responsible citizens today remember when, as children, they watched her as the FLYER plying between Seattle, and sound ports. She carried on until a few weeks ago, when the order was given for dismantling.
      Waterfront tongues began to wag as soon as it was known she was to go the way of old time ships. Many and varied tales were told, but one remains a classic in the annals of the Puget Sound Navigation Co. who own her.
 O.N. 120876
"The most faithful old boat. Not in Seattle, 
not in the State of Washington,
not in the US, but the most faithful old boat 
in the whole wide, wide world,
was that old FLYER-day in and day out." 
Joshua Green (1869-1975)
      It was just after the name had been changed to the WASHINGTON ten years ago that the ship had been ordered to relieve the INDIANAPOLIS the next day on the Sunday run to Tacoma. At Port Townsend the boat put into the dock for oil.

The WASHINGTON (ex-FLYER) 6 July 1924

Port of Friday Harbor, 
San Juan County.
Original photos from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
       'Fill 'er up with oil, we've got four trips tomorrow,' ordered Capt. Sam Barlow to his chief engineer.
      'We've got enough oil to run 'er,' replied that saturnine worthy of Scottish extraction.
      'O.K. You're the boss of that, but be sure we have,' replied the skipper.
      At 9 o'clock the WASHINGTON left on the last run. Off Three Tree Point the engineer sprung the news that the oil tanks were empty.
      'Put 'er into the wharf,' ordered the captain with many a salty oath. But, alas, the 14-ft draft of the vessel prevented her from warping in. The mate went ashore in a small boat just as the light went out on the ship. One hundred forty-five homeward bound passengers set up a howl of dismay. On shore the mate phoned the predicament of the ship to his superiors. A sleepy port captain ordered out the WEILALI, slowest vessel in the fleet, to tow the WASHINGTON back to Tacoma. The 'Weary Willie' reached the stranded WASHINGTON about midnight and took a line.
      One hundred forty-five passengers prepared for an all-night voyage in the light of oil lamps and lanterns.
      It was just 5:45 AM Monday when the WASHINGTON and the WEILALI pulled into the municipal dock of Tacoma. A high company official was waiting for the chief engineer.
      'Where is he?' he demanded. 'Tell him to pack his suitcase and get the blankety blank off this vessel.'
      The chief engineer thrust an oily head out a port hole.
      'Mister, he said, 'I've had this grip packed for the past five hours."
Text by Mac Groff. Newspaper publisher and date unknown.

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