Hundreds of Friends of Pioneer Seattle Shipbuilder Assemble to Watch Launching of Palatial Vessel.
"While the canopy of darkness was rapidly descending over picturesque Orcas Island in the San Juan group and the great walls of trees on the surrounding hillsides were swaying in unison before a brisk wind, the palatial three-masted, schooner rigged yacht, built by Robert Moran (1857-1943,) took her initial dip into the waters of the Sound at Rosario, Moran's estate.
Christened by Helen Moran, daughter of Frank Moran and niece of the builder of the United States battleship NEBRASKA, the launching was successful to the most minute detail.
At 7:30 PM, 'Bob' Moran, as the great shipbuilder is known to thousands of friends and admirers in the PNW, gave the order to his workmen to tear away the supports. Timber props began to fall under the crushing of heavy sledges, a band struck up the Star Spangled Banner, five hundred persons raised their voices in wild acclaim, whistles and sirens on steamships, tugs, and launches that lay in the little inlet blasted thunderously––and a moment later, the beautiful yacht, which the builder has tendered to the US government for use during the war, slid smoothly down the ways. The SANWAN took her first plunge proudly, majestically.
Just as the many other undertakings which 'Bob' Moran has carried to successful completion have stood the acid tests of inspection and trial, the SANWAN proved the perfect product of the shipbuilder.
Four hundred prominent residents of Seattle who watched 'Bob' Moran turn poverty into wealth, saw him succeed in undertakings that were classed by others as almost impossible, went to Rosario to attend the launching on the steamer INDIANAPOLIS. The ship, which was chartered by Moran, left Seattle at 8 AM yesterday morning and arrived at the picturesque estate of the shipbuilder at 1:30 PM.
Clambake on the Beach
Upon arrival they found blocks of long tables, loaded with foodstuffs, confronting them on every side. There was a clambake on the beach and a dance in the beautiful Moran home.
An hour before the launching a steamer from Bellingham, carrying about one hundred persons, drew into the harbor to watch the SANWAN descend down the ways. Navy officials from the Puget Sound Navy Yard at Bremerton came in navy tugs and launches.
The launching was one of the most picturesque in the annals of the Northwest. All that was needed to make the setting perfect was a Western sunset.
Before the Seattle party left Rosario for the return trip to the city, Prof. Edmond S. Meany, of the history department of the U of WA; Richard A. Ballinger, former secretary of the Interior Department, shipping magnate Robert Dollar, Joshua Greene, H.F. Ostrander, and Rev. W. A. Major made brief speeches in which they eulogized the 'qualities of 'Bob' Moran. They thanked him for his hospitality: they praised him for his patriotism and they held him up as a true example of the thrifty, courageous and determined American.
On the S. S. INDIANAPOLIS while returning to Seattle the party adopted resolutions of appreciation of Moran. A fund was raised to purchase a suitable gift for the shipbuilder.
The SANWAN is an auxiliary-powered yacht, with two six-cylinder Corliss gas engines. The boat is constructed for a center line propeller, as Moran proposes to later install heavy oil or Diesel engines. It is 132-ft long on deck with a 25-ft beam. The yacht is equipped with all the modern living conveniences and appliances.
Robert Moran offered the yacht to the government about two weeks ago. Navy officials have inspected it but it has not been officially taken over yet."
Seattle Times. 8 June 1917.
Under construction at the Robert Moran estate,
as dated Aug. 1915.
From the archives of the S.P.H.S.©