|Porcelain plate depicting the FALLS OF CLYDE|
New accession donated to S. P. H. S. by islander Skip Bold.
Artwork by Mark Myers.
"Only a few dozen four-masted full-rigged ships such as FALLS OF CLYDE were ever launched. Those aristocrats of the sea commanded respect and admiration at sea and in port. Captain Fred Klebingar, who served as chief mate in the CLYDE in 1916-1918, recalls meeting her at sea in 1910:
'There was no need to hoist the ship's number; those on board her knew that we would never mistake the ship, and that we knew as well as they did that there was no other vessel like the FALLS OF CLYDE. And so she sped on, her cotton canvas gleaming white in the morning sun. In another hour she was but a speak on the southwest horizon.'
Built at Port Glasgow in 1878, the CLYDE, named after a series of falls on the River Clyde, followed three sea careers. She was first an iron Indiaman, calling at such ports as Calcutta, Rangoon, and Karachi. In these years she also stopped in New Zealand, with such cargoes as 'plate and coloured cottons, counterpanes, clocks, and watches.' Twenty years later she became passenger ship of the Matson Line, making regular runs to Hawaii. Finally, as sailing ship oil tanker, she operated from Southern California to the Islands for the Associated Oil Co. In 1922 the CLYDE was cut down to a barge and towed to Alaska. There she served for 33 years as a floating oil and gasoline depot. In 1959 FALLS OF CLYDE was towed to Seattle and put up for sale.
FALLS OF CLYDE
Former Sailing Ship, Arriving Seattle from Alaska.
23 January 1959, owner William W. Mitchell, Jr.
Original photo from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
Ship lovers on the Pacific Coast and Hawaii rallied to save her from scrapping or scuttling, and citizens of the Hawaiian Islands raised $25,000 in five weeks time to buy the old ship. She was towed to Honolulu in October 1963 to begin a new career as a museum ship."
The Seattle Times,1963: "The CLYDE was towed to Honolulu from Kennydale, on Lake Washington, Seattle. The only other sailing ship in the US still available for restoration at that time was the WAWONA, moored on Lake Union. Most of the other sailing ships which would have been naturals for restoration in Seattle were purchased by San Francisco.
Publicity given the ship's impending fate, especially by Capt. A. F. Raynaud, Seattle marine surveyor and one-time sailing-ship skipper, was credited with renewing the interest of Hawaii residents in the vessel.
The interest was not hard to arouse. The ship, originally under the British flag, was put under the Hawaiian flag by Capt. William Matson in 1898 and sailed as an Hawaiian ship until Hawaii became a US territory."
This post honors the new accession, a porcelain plate of the four-master, donated by Skip Bold who inherited it from an uncle. Also thanks go to Jack Russell of Sternwheeler Charters of Seattle for several news clippings about the history of the FALLS OF CLYDE.
More history of the life of this ship can be seen here