"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.

About Us

My photo
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.

17 November 2018


Olympic Peninsula, Washington State
with Port Townsend depicted on the upper coastline.
Click image to enlarge.
Built by Hall Brothers Yard, WA. in 1885
Anchored Port Townsend, WA.
Photo by P.M. Richardson from the archives
of the Saltwater People Historical Society©

Schooner PROSPER
Built by Hall Brothers, WA.
Sailing into Port Townsend, WA.
Click image to enlarge.
Original photo pre-dating 1911
by P.M. Richardson
from the archives of the Saltwater People Hist. Society©

Barkentine KOKO HEAD
Built 1908 by Hind-Rolph
Sailing into Port Townsend, WA.
Photo by Torka's Studio, Pt. Townsend, WA.
From the archives of Saltwater People©
Union Dock, Port Townsend, WA. 
Dated 1908.
Litho postcard from the archives of the
Saltwater People Historical Society©

"Port Townsend began with homestead claims filed in April 1851, six months before Seattle's pioneering Denny party landed at Alki Point.
      By 1854 the U.S. Customs office moved here.

U.S. Customs House
Port Townsend, WA.

Litho of a postcard from the Saltwater People
Historical Society©
It had been in Olympia, which forced sea captains to sail the length of Puget Sound before legally going ashore. Isaac Ebey had been appointed customs collector in 1853, and he campaigned for Port Townsend to be designated as the official port of entry. From his home on the west shore of Whidbey Island, he could see ships turning in, or out of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and cross the inlet to clear them.
      With ships required to stop, Pt. Townsend readily grew as a supply center. Its legal services included banking and merchandising and also consul representation by Great Britain, France, Norway, Sweden, Germany, and the independent kingdom of Hawaii.

Union Dock, Port Townsend, WA.
S.S. CHIPPEWA on the left.
Click image to enlarge.
Photo by P.M. Richardson from the archives of the
Saltwater People Historical Society©
Pt. Townsend's 1850s economy at first depended largely on San Francisco's gold rush appetite for Puget Sound timber. By 1858 and into the 1860s it benefited from gold discoveries on the Fraser River and in the Cariboo District of B.C., thousands of miners streamed north. Through the 1870s Pt. Townsend grew steadily but unspectacularly. For a while it expected to be the West Coast terminus of the transcontinental railroad, a vain hope fostered by the appointment of Judge James Swan as Northern Pacific agent. The tracks stopped at Tacoma instead. Nonetheless, Pt. Townsend burgeoned, boosted by the population surge and overall optimism that rode the rails across the entire state in the 1850s.

Gig ashore, Pt. Townsend, WA. c. 1910
Original photo from the archives of the 
Saltwater People Historical Society©
       Pt. Townsend slumbered without a major industry until 1927, when a pulp mill opened. In one way, the long lull was a blessing: handsome commercial buildings and homes were neither altered nor razed. They remain as a remarkably intact legacy from the past."
Essay from Exploring Washington's Past. Kirk, Ruth and Carmela Alexander. University of WA. Press. 1990.

Waterfront, Port Townsend, Washington
Undated photo.

Point Hudson boat harbor with
entries for the Pacific International
Yachting Association's regatta, July 1957.
Port Townsend, WA.
Photographer unknown.
Original photo from the archives of the
Saltwater People Historical Society©
1938 Danish Spidsgatter PIA
S38 D14
Aho'i and Maggie
Home Port––Olympia, WA.
Early departure from Watmough anchorage,
San Juan Archipelago,
to meet with 300 wooden boats at the
42nd Pt. Townsend Wooden Boat Show.
Photo courtesy of mariner Jason Hines, SVANE.
Anno Six September 2018

10 November 2018


Captain Halvorsen (L)
and Captain Ole Rindal
Two four–stripers heading for shore––after cake.

Original, undated photo signed by
Williamson's Marine Photo Shop
from archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©

"Back when the Puget Sound ferry ENETAI was known as the SANTA ROSA––the first time––one of her captains was Ole Rindal, at right in the above photo at his retirement.

      He may have thought he had seen the last of the boat when he skippered her into retirement.
      But he hadn't.
      When the old ferry, now the SANTA ROSA again, was given a champagne welcome upon her return to San Francisco Bay Ole Rindal was there.
      The SANTA ROSA was towed from Puget Sound to Oakland along with another ferry well known to residents of both areas. The other vessel was the FRESNO, which resumed her original name after plying Puget Sound as the WILLAPA.
      Oakland's fireboat greeted the ferries as they went under the Golden Gate Bridge, the span that ended the SANTA ROSA's service between San Francisco and Marin County. 
      Then the ferries went under the Bay Bridge, which put both of them out of business on San Francisco Bay in May 1940, and opened the way for them to be purchased by the Puget Sound Navigation Co.
      Several hundred people greeted the returning ferries at Oakland, where the SANTA ROSA (ex-ENETAI), was rechristened by Mrs. Don Clair, the ferry's new owner.
Permanently anchored at Pier 3,
adjacent to downtown San Francisco for
Hornblower Cruises and Events.
The former car deck is now a dance floor,
with corporate offices above.
Hornblower Cruises website 2018.

      "Capt. Ole Rindal was there in his Washington State Ferries uniform," Harre Demoro, member of a steering committee which plans to turn the SANTA ROSA into a maritime museum, said in a letter received here today.
      'He was skipper of the ferry when she arrived on Puget Sound and ran for a few weeks as a diesel-electric, under her old name. 
and Captain Ole.
Click image to enlarge.
Photos from the archives of the Saltwater People Log©
Then he was one of her first skippers when she emerged in 1941 as the ENETAI.
      'Then he tied her up for the last time last June. 
      'He was quite the celebrity.'
      Like the ENETAI and the WILLAPA, Captain Rindal is now retired.
      The SANTA ROSA and FRESNO are tied up near where the KALAKALA, another former Puget Sound ferry, was launched as the PERALTA in 1927.
      About 100 feet from the SANTA ROSA is the bulk of the CHIPPEWA, the first Puget Sound ferry which Clair bought for a museum ship. Workmen have begun removing the charred superstructure of the CHIPPEWA, which caught fire, apparently burned by vandals, while under conversion."
Text by Jay Wells, Maritime Editor, the Seattle Times, May 1964.
Clip submitted courtesy of Capt. Jack Russell, Seattle, WA.
Here is another Saltwater People Log entry regarding a young Capt. Ole.

04 November 2018


Schooner TRANSIT
547 G.t. 508.50 N.t.
165.2' x 37.1' x 13.1'
Launched 1891, Salmon Bay, opposite Ballard, WA.
Builder T. H. Petersen is front row, 2nd from the right,
Mrs. Petersen is at the left.
The schooner was built for E.P. Nissen, a merchant from
San Francisco, CA. where the TRANSIT
was documented in 1892.
Click image to enlarge.
A low-resolution scan of an original photo from
Saltwater People Historical Society©
The schooner TRANSIT, one of the last ships built by Thomas Heinrich Petersen was built at this location on Salmon Bay, in 1891.  
      Petersen was a native of Denmark who left in 1856 when he was 21. He had served a 4-yr apprenticeship in a shipyard and earned certification as a carpenter's mate. 
     Those papers opened doors for the young man; he continued a lifelong career designing and building boats in several yards on the west coast of the US after he left his ship in San Francisco in 1857. Thomas constructed vessels at Mendocino, Little River, Whitesboro, Navarro, Cuffey's Cove, Eureka, Gardiner, OR, Florence, Port Orchard, and Deadman's Island at Port Madison, before he arrived at Salmon Bay in 1890. He was moored there until Commodore Way cut through his property, according to Seattle historian Lucile MacDonald researching some family papers that were donated to the Puget Sound Maritime Society, Seattle, in the 1950s. 
A great bronze tribute to a man who quietly
went about his work until he was 70 years old.
This is placed on the Fish Ladder Landing
at the Ballard Locks, Seattle, WA.
Photo by Donna Gordon in 2009 and
recently submitted to Saltwater People.
Thank you!
Click image to enlarge.

      According to Seattle maritime news journalist C.H. "Skipper" Calkins, the schooner TRANSIT was purchased by the John Backland family in 1908. She was commanded by the well-known Arctic trader, Captain John Backland, Sr, delivering heavy shipments to government schools and isolated stations in the Bering and Arctic regions at the time of her loss. She was crushed by ice and lost near Cape Smythe, in 1913. The TRANSIT was departing Barrow bound Seattle with 11 officers and crew aboard along with 100 tons of general merchandise valued at $8,000.
      From the US Customs Wreck Report of 27 Sept. 1913 at Nome, in the words of Capt. John Backland:
      About five miles SSW of Cape Smyth struck lee, filled with water and was beached. Crushed by ice. Strong NW gale with heavy snow and frost. Sails close reefed and vessel got underway but ice crowding in rapidly leaving no room for navigation. 120 natives came on board and both the steam and handpumps were manned but to no avail. The vessel was in the ice from 6 Aug to 25 Aug 1913 and continually using every effort to get out. 
      The TRANSIT had a value of $10,000 with the damage to the vessel listed as $7,500. Her cargo posted a loss of $5,000. The vessel had no insurance but the cargo was fully insured. No loss of life. 
The Customs Wreck Report is courtesy of Alaska Shipwrecks.com
More on the vessels in the life of Thomas H. Petersen for another day. 
      The late Louis A. Hough, the author of A Fleet Forgotten, did an excellent, in-depth  10-page article on the barkentine THOS. P. EMIGH, published by the Puget Sound Maritime History Society for the membership journal, The Sea Chest, September 2014. The THOS. P. EMIGH, launched at Tacoma in 1901 was designed by T.H. Petersen.
Jamison, Hal E. Along the Waterfront. 26 Sept. 1912, regarding details of the TRANSIT loss in the ice.

30 October 2018

❖ Elliott Bay Shrimp Fleet ❖


KAHLENBERG (ex-Navy Patrol craft 1138)
The 50' steamer was built at Mare Island, N.Y., in 1913.
Operated for a time on Puget Sound as a demonstration
boat for Kahlenberg oil engines, she was refitted
with a 25 HP steam engine and Scotch boiler.
Capt. France "Franz" Nelson, a former tugboat
master in Alaska purchased the KAHLENBERG to
use as a shrimper at Seattle, with his
wife Elsie, serving as crew, and sometimes son, Bill.
Click image to enlarge.
Original photo by Marine Studio, Seattle, WA.
from the archives of the Saltwater People Historical Society©
The last surviving vessel of a once-numerous Elliott Bay shrimp fishing fleet was Capt. Franz Nelson's KAHLENBERG, a former naval tender assigned to Oriental waters, and with a gun mounted in front of the pilot house. Fishing grounds were the full width of Elliott Bay between the foot of Yesler Way and Smith Cove. The secret of successful shrimp fishing in Elliott Bay's deep waters was to know the locations of not less than six sunken vessels upon which drag nets would snag and tear, also where mounds of earth were deposited off Elliott Avenue during the Denny Regrade operations. 
The dragnet on the stern was 15' W x 25' L and attached to a cable, lifted by a steam winch. The average haul lasted for 30 minutes and covered c. 1/4 of a mile or so, depending on the wind and tide.
      A good haul often will yield 30 to 50 pounds of shrimp. But a haul would often lead to mostly rubbish or fish. One that brings up no shrimp; fishermen call that a "skunk" haul.
      The shrimp are cooked in boiling water and live steam within 30 minutes of being caught.
      In more recent history, Advanced Diver Magazine has an interesting report on diving on the bottom of Lake Union searching for historic vessels. One of the two vessels on the bottom of Lake Union that they chose to feature on their website is the wreck of the KAHLENBERG. They have been working with the Department of Natural Resources and the Center for Wooden Boats to explore and document the wrecks that litter the bottom of Lake Union. You can view their findings here.
Some of this text was reported in the Seattle Times August 1940 and 
H.W. McCurdy's Marine History of the Pacific Northwest. Newell, Gordon, editor. Superior Publishing.

24 October 2018


Park Superintendent Carl Stoddard
English Camp Cemetery, undated.
San Juan Island, San Juan Archipelago, WA.
Click image to enlarge.

Photo from the archives of
the Saltwater People Historical Society©

Courtesy of Washington State Department of Commerce and Economic Development, this photo was processed for the Olympia files. 
      Six British troops and one civilian died during the Border Dispute on San Juan Island, all reported as a result of accidents.

Wood, Charles, age 28. 1841-8 Jan. 1869. Drowned. Stone tablet.
Wensley, James. d. 7 April 1869. drowned. Stone tablet.
Taylor, William, age 34. 1834-26 Jan. 1868. Shot by brother.
Davis, William Private from Devon. 1834-4 Jan. 1863. (accidental drowning.)
Ellis, Thomas Private. 1836-4 Ja. 1863. (Accidental drowning.)
Kiddy, Thomas Private from Suffolk. 1836-4 Jan. 1863 (Accidental drowning.)
Stewart, G.E. Corporal, age 31. 1837-1 June 1865. (wooden cross.)

Resident pioneer on San Juan Island, Jim Crook, claimed he was paid $10 per month by the British government to maintain the English Camp Cemetery.
Since 1966 when the National Park was created, the cemetery has been maintained by the Park personnel. 


Archived Log Entries