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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.

21 March 2018

❖ PADDLE WHEELING GAL ❖ 1948

Mrs. Anna G. Grimison
SKAGIT CHIEF,
10 January 1939.

Click image to enlarge.
Original photo from the archives of the
Saltwater People Historical Society©
"The Pacific Northwest has had a big year for tourists. Although the weather was not as warm and sunny as it normally is in summer, the highways were dotted with cars from other state and sight-seeing tour entrepreneurs were more than busy. As the No. 3 industry of this part of the country, next to lumber and fishing, the tourist business did well. Of course, while they were here, many out-of-staters took to the water, one of the most beautiful attributes of the Evergreen Playground. Charter boat operators had a good trade to the San Juan Island area and on north along the Inside Passage. Tom Hamilton reported a busy season at his swank Malibu Club at the mouth of picturesque Princess Louisa Inlet.
      Tourists in Seattle waterfront gazed with interest at the modern steel freighters and mighty Army transports moving in and out of Elliott Bay. But the vessel they went home talking about was the SKAGIT CHIEF.
SKAGIT CHIEF
1935-1956
502 tons
165' x 40' x 6.4'

Original photo by James A. Turner
from the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©

She is a broad-beamed dowager, pushed around the bay by a large paddle-wheel slapping at her stern, and she is the only sternwheeler still in action in the harbor. Oddly enough though, she is no sentimental hangover from the good old days of steamboating on Puget Sound. She was built at Lake Union Drydock & Machines in 1935 for the Skagit River Navigation Company and specifically for service on the Skagit River. This river, if seen from the air can easily be distinguished by its meandering course and muddy channel as it flows into Puget Sound near Mt. Vernon. The shallow draft and stern-wheel propulsion of the SKAGIT CHIEF are made to order for skimming over the snags and flats of this wide but shallow river run.
      Normally sightseers would have seen her younger sister, the SKAGIT BELLE, around the Sound too, but she was temporarily out of service this summer. "Head man" of the Skagit River Navigation Co is a woman, efficient Mrs. Anna Grimison, who has been at the helm since 1924. She has always loved ships but makes it clear that she does not want to be typed as a waterfront character or a "Tugboat Annie!"
For another post including the salty Anna and her company please click HERE
The above text was published in Motor Boating Nov. 1948


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