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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.

16 February 2017


Steam Schooner DIRIGO
Built in Hoquiam, WA. 1898.
Original photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S©
"In the Gold Rush days of 1897, as a temporary measure, the Alaska Line joined forces with the Washington and Alaska Steamship Co., each contributing a boat to the Skagway run. The ROSALIE and the CITY OF SEATTLE alternated each week with sailings from the Northern Pacific Dock in Tacoma and Schwabacher's in Seattle. By July 1898, the Alaska line had chartered a second ship, the DIRIGO outright. 
      The DIRIGO was a steam schooner built at Hoquiam, WA. She was 165' x 35' x 13.50' and 843 Gross tons overall. Immediately after completion, she was placed in the Alaska trade by J.S. Kimball and Co. She was noted for her hard luck. In April 1898, she left Skagway and put in at Juneau because of condenser troubles. When she tried to come alongside the steamer CZARINA at Peoples Wharf, her engine room signals got crossed and she rammed the other vessel, badly holing her side. The CZARINA had to make a quick run to the beach at Douglas.
Undated original photo from the S.P.H.S.©
      On 9 March 1899, the DIRIGO was stranded with 100 passengers off Midway Island, south of Juneau, during a heavy snowstorm. She was on the rocks for 46 hours before she was re-floated. The steamer was commanded by two well-known officers Capt. George Roberts and Chief Engineer George Lent. On 12 March the DIRIGO was towed to Juneau and was later brought to Seattle. She was so badly damaged she required a new keel and garboard strakes. Repairs ran to about $30,000, more than a third of the vessel's value. Eventually Alaska Steam had her back on the run with the ROSALIE on a regular schedule.
      The DIRIGO figured in a more cheerful news story the same year. The 18 Oct. 1899 edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer described her return to Seattle with the largest single shipment of gold up to that time, sent by way of Lynn Canal. The metal was valued at more than $1,064,000 and weighed two tons. It consisted mostly of gold bars, melted at Dawson, that were enclosed in wooden boxes bound with steel. Two officers of the North West Mounted Police accompanied the consignment, altogether there were six armed guards standing six-hour watches. Also on board were two leather trunks containing $90,000 in gold dust from one bank and another box containing $37,000 shipped by the Alaska Commercial Co. The vessel also brought 7,500 cases of canned salmon and 78 passengers on that trip."
Above text from Alaska Steam. Lucile McDonald & the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society. Seattle. 1984.
Some of the officers who served DIRIGO:
Capt. Gus Soderman, Capt. Charles L MacGregor, Capt. George Roberts
Chief Engineer John H. Bragdon
, Capt. John A. Johnson.
1914, 11 April. Owing to increased activity in the Cook Inlet district, officials of the Alaska Steamship Co., announced they had decided to establish a regular freight and passenger route from Seward to that section of the country. To that end, steamship DIRIGO will be commissioned and pressed into service. The DIRIGO is being overhauled and will begin service in May. 
Above news clip from The Progressive. Petersburg, AK 11 April 1914.
1914, 16 November.  Commaded by Capt. John A. Johnson, foundered while in tow of the CORDOVA off Cape Spencer. The US Merchant Vessels publication lists DIRIGO was lost 40 miles east of Cape Elias. Crew safe.

1 comment:

  1. Wondering how extensive the shipbuilding was in early days Hoquium?


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