"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.

09 December 2015


The 15,000 ton liner PRESIDENT MADISON
windswept into s
Smith Cove, Seattle, WA. 

October 1934.
Original out-of-focus photo by Marine Photo Shop.
from the archives of S.P.H.S.©
The arrow indicates the keel, partly submerged,
of the sternwheeler HARVESTER,
that plied between Seattle and Mount Vernon.
The crew leaped to safety aboard nearby barges.
The NORTH HAVEN (L), and the tug ROOSEVELT
also were damaged as they pounded against the
side of the MADISON during the fierce
70-mile an hour gale, taking a toll of 17 lives,
in the Puget Sound area.
One of the worst gales in many years swept the Puget Sound area on 21 October 1934; southwest winds up to 70 miles-an-hour causing damage in the millions of dollars to ships, buildings, and standing timber. The American Mail Line's liner PRESIDENT MADISON figured in another spectacular mishap at Seattle when she was torn from her moorings at the outer end of Pier 41 (now Pier 91) and went drifting across the harbor, crashing into the sternwheel steamer HARVESTER of the Skagit River Navigation & Trading Co and sinking her in deep water. She also collided with the steamship NORTH HAVEN of the Northland Transportation Co inflicting considerable damage to that vessel. 
After being righted, 12 November 1934.
Heavy cables were run under the vessel and carried
across the deck to the outer rail where they were made fast.

Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©

      The HARVESTER was built in 1912, at Stanwood, WA, for Capt. H.H. McDonald for 30 passengers as well as greater freight capacity than previous vessels in this service.
      She was 638 t. / 152' x 36.2' x 6.8', a larger steamer than the GLEANER, built by McDonald in 1907. She was of shallower draft and was able to navigate the shallow Skagit and Stillaguamish Rivers more successfully than her elder running mate.
Above text: H.W. McCurdy's Marine History of the Pacific Northwest. Gordon Newell, editor. Superior (1965.)  
Ship model of the sternwheeler HARVESTER
with Mrs. Anna G. Grimison.
Her son, "first mate" Harry E. Grimison, is the suspected builder.
Location of this fine model???
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
      President of the Skagit River Navigation Co, Mrs. Anna G. Grimison was at the helm of the line for almost forty years. The line was started by her father, Capt. H. H. McDonald. Her last two freight boats were the sternwheelers SKAGIT CHIEF and SKAGIT BELLE. Mrs. Grimison, who made it clear she did not want to be compared to 'Tug Boat Annie,'  retired in 1962 and passed away in Seattle in 1964.


  1. Thank you for the information. Old (1920s?) of The Harvester at Mt. Vernon https://www.facebook.com/ALookToThePastWashington/photos/a.1224182567607924.1073741838.393811670645022/2161693763856795

    1. Jana,
      Thanks for reading Saltwater Log and taking time to comment! Keep up your work on your blog.


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