"The past actually happened but history is only what someone wrote down." A. Whitney Brown.

About Us

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San Juan Archipelago, 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 750, 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.

12 April 2024

THE "FRENCHMAN"

 


"The Frenchman"
COLONEL De VILLEBOIS MAREUIL
in tow 1912,
Columbia River Bar,
caught on film by the noted 
Captain Orison Beaton
Click image to enlarge.
Original photo from the archives of the 
Saltwater People Historical Society©

Captain Orison Beaton was born in the lumber town of Port Madison in August 1878, one of five children. He ran away from home at the age of fifteen and the world unfolded to him from the decks of Puget Sound steamers. Later, applying for his first job on a tugboat, he was asked his name. "That's too long and doesn't suit a seafaring man," said the skipper. I'll call you Jim." Young Jim worked up to become master of several of the Puget Sound Tugboat Co.'s tugs; it was during this time he also earned himself a reputation as a good marine photographer.

Perhaps his best-known photograph is that of the three-masted French bark COLONEL De VILLEBOIS MAREUIL passing in over the Columbia River Bar in tow of the tugs GOLIAH and TATOOSH in October 1912. Horace McCurdy recounts the experience as told him by Capt. Beaton:" I saw this enormous sea rolling up astern," said the captain, "and from the tug it appeared as if the bark was being engulfed. My camera was ready and I ducked hurriedly out of the pilot house door, snapped the picture and got back inside just as the GOLIAH herself was smothered in foam. Light conditions were very poor and it was necessary to develop the negative an extra long time to bring up an image."

Captain Beaton was the co-author of what has now become known as the Plummer-Beaton collection of marine photographs. 

Short Biographies of Photographers Who Helped to Record the Maritime History of the Pacific Northwest.
By Gordon P. Jones
Puget Sound Maritime Historial Association Newsletter Supplement.
November 1966.
From the Library of the Saltwater People Historial Society.



05 April 2024

SEATTLE'S BARKENTINE DAYS


Barkentine DIAMOND HEAD
(ex-Gainsborough)
O.N. 157574
194.2' x 31.2' x 20.2' 
G.t. 1,012
Built 1866
photo by the remarkable tug master
Capt. H.H. Morrison
Undated. Low-res in public domain.

Text by Margaret Pitcairn Strachan
Courtesy of the Seattle Times 1947

"In 1866 an English ship-building firm named C. Longley christened the first large iron-hulled ship. Hundreds of persons flooded to watch her make her way into the Thames, expecting to see her sink, because such a novelty as a barkentine made of iron couldn't float! But cheers soon were forthcoming, and all those folk who saw the wonder of that age, sail proudly forth are dead, while today (1947) the ship herself carries on in Seattle's own Lake Union.
        The Lady Gainsborough was indeed a thing of beauty. Painted white, with trimmings of mahogany and with solid teakwood railings, the barkentine had three tremendous masts that carried heavy canvas.
        Today, denuded of masts and super-structure and old-time fittings, she goes by the name of Diamond Head and is leased by the General Petroleum Co to Seattle's City Light for use as an oil-storage tank. Next year, when modern facilities replace the Diamon Head, she will revert to her previous job as an oil barge.
        Fantastic tales have been written about the ship, but mostly they have been the product of someone's imagination. Her real story is thrilling enough without resorting to invention.
        The Lady Gainsborough broke all records when she was in her prime, sailing around Cape Horn with her canvas whipping in the wind. She took mail to Englishmen stationed at the outposts of the Empire, and carried distinguished European passengers. Sometimes she stopped at China and brought back Chinese coolies, crowded together in her hold.
        When bigger ships were constructed, the Gainsborough became a tramp, carrying cargoes of coal and sugar. Laden with coal from Westport, N.Z., she was wrecked at Diamond Head, HI., 31 August 1896. Auctioned for $1,800 and pulled off, she was towed into port and placed under the Hawaiian flag. She was renamed the Diamond Head, for the place where she had come to grief. She served in Allen & Robinson's line of packets between Honolulu and West Coast ports of the US.
        From this time on, the Pacific Northwest figured in the log of the ship. Under a Capt. Petersen, she sailed from Port Gamble, Port Blakely, Port Townsend, Seattle, Vancouver, WA., and Ladysmith, B.C.


Captain Waldemar C. Sorensen
(1870-1954)
One-time mate of the 
barkentine Diamond Head.
A native of Denmark, Sorensen came 
to Seattle in 1892. He was master of 
vessels sailing to Alaska and 
coastal waters until his retirement
ca. 1917. Before WW I he taught
navigation classes at the YMCA.

Original gelatin-silver photo from the archives
of the Saltwater People Historical Society©


There was a Captain who well remembers this phase of the ship's history, for he sailed on her as mate in 1907.
        The former mate is Capt. Waldemar C. Sorensen of Woodinville. The other day he came to board the Diamond Head once more and stand beside her wheel while I plied him with questions aboard the ship.
        "He was where the first mate slept." he said, walking along the tarred deck "and here was the second mate's bunk, and here was the dining room. I first saw her when I was a deckboy, sailing on a Danish schooner in 1885. We were lying by Big Ben at London, and she came in. She was good-looking in those days, all right! All white-painted and with the figurehead of the Duchess of Gainsborough."
        Capt. Sorensen enjoyed meeting the present watchman of the Diamond Head, who is in truth a watch-woman--Mrs. Philip Mettler. Mrs. Mettler's husband became the watchman in 1935 and they lived on board, occupying the captain's quarters for two years while a houseboat was prepared for them next to the ship. When there was talk of doing away with the ship, Mettler began working on barges for General Petroleum. Then came the shortage of oil during the war and once more the ship was needed. Mrs. Mettler obtained her license as a "qualified tanker man," 
16 October 1942, and has held the job ever since.
        Three years after Sorensen sailed on the Diamond Head she was sold to the Tyee Whaling Co of San Francisco. Under the command of Captain Barnason, for five years her decks rang with the shouts of whaling men. General Petroleum Co., next purchased the vessel and her glorious days of riding the waves was over.
        Slowly mystery began to enshroud her history. It was told that she had been a vessel carrying prisoners to the penal colony at Van Dieman's Land, Tasmania. Imaginative men claimed to have heard strange noises on board and a tale of the captain's wife being murdered at sea grew rapidly, as well as stories of mutiny aboard her as a slaver.
        Today all known relics of the Diamond Head are gone –– except some teakwood cigarette boxes made from her railing. Her anchor was donated to the scrap drive during the war. Even the captain's quarters are absent. The hold is filled with 7,500 barrels of oil –– a paltry amount compared to the 100,000 barrels a 15,000-ton ship can carry. But those 15,000-ton ships can't boast of having been the first of the large iron ships, or of having been wrecked and salvaged at Diamond Head, or of breaking sailing records long, long ago."





13 February 2024

THE FOREST FRIEND

 


Captain Edward L. Tindall,
One-time master of
Barquentine FOREST FRIEND

Low-res scan courtesy of his 
great-grandson,
Ed David,
to accompany the below essay.



FOREST FRIEND
219452
built 1919, 
Aberdeen, WA. 
243' l x 44' b x 10' d.
1,614 G.t.
click image to enlarge.
scan from a gelatin-silver 
photo from the archives of the 
Saltwater People Historial Society©

Words by Reece Hague,
Formerly with the Adelaide Journal.
Published by The Mail,
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
31 August 1929


10 June 1929

"Take off your hats, gentlemen, she is the last of a vanishing race."
        The speaker was Capt. Edward L. Tindall, veteran master mariner, and as he spoke he directed attention to a barquentine sailing with all the grace and dignity of her kind, through the heads which give access to the beautiful Sydney Harbor.
        A closer examination would have revealed that the barquentine had lost much of her pristine splendor, but to the sailor and his landsmen friends, she was a thing of beauty and romance.
        It was February 1928, the barquentine FOREST FRIEND majestically entered Sydney Harbor, to awaken memories and longings in the hearts of many old seadogs.
        Capt. Tindall himself had almost decided to settle down to a humdrum existence on land, but the sight of the FOREST FRIEND revived a latent longing to take his place once again on the poop deck of a windjammer.
        As he left the harbor, musing over past happy years, Capt. Tindall murmured, "Oh, for one last trip on a ship such as that."
        Little did he then realize that less than 12 months later she should be towed, under the command of none other than Capt. Tindall himself, into the Esquimalt Harbor, Vancouver Island, there to be ignominiously libeled, and eventually sold for her value as a hulk.
        It was actually only a few days after his first glimpse of the FOREST FRIEND that Capt. Tindall was informed that a skipper was required for the barquentine, and his desire to sail once again the high seas as the master of a windjammer was realized.
        In May this year, while the FOREST FRIEND was lying at Esquimalt with libel notices nailed to her mast, I met Capt. Tindall, and told him that I had been present in Port Adelaide, Australia, in the latter part of 1927, when I had seen the barquentine in a similar predicament.  
        Together we gathered up the threads of the story that I was now unfolding.
        In November 1919, when the whole world was crying out for ships to carry freight, a new and splendid barquentine, bearing the name FOREST FRIEND on her bows, sailed for the first time out of the harbor of Aberdeen, Washington, where she had been constructed a cost of £ 25,000. In June 1929, the same ship was sold to Victoria, B.C., for £800 to a firm of general towage contractors.
        For the first 2 or 3 years of her life, the FOREST FRIEND sailed jauntily over the great ocean.
        Then, as more and more mammoth steamships were built by the seafaring nations of the world, the owners of the FOREST FRIEND found it increasingly difficult to secure suitable cargoes.
        Speed in transporting cargo became a watchword, and fewer and fewer cargoes were available for the fast-vanishing sailing ships.
        The climax, of the FOREST FRIEND came in May 1927, when, 90 days after she had sailed from Anacortes, WA, the barquentine, badly battered by storms, limped into the Port Adelaide Harbor.
        Immediately, the American master of the ship cabled to his owners for money with which to meet the ship's liabilities. The owners considered that the FOREST FRIEND had been sufficient of a liability for some years, and ignored the request.
        Harbor officials became tired of waiting for the dues and libeled the ship.
        Long legal proceedings followed, and after many delays, a Supreme Court judge ordered the sale of the vessel.
        At the sale, an offer of £ 500 was received, and the barquentine was knocked down for that sum to South Australian interests styling themselves the Massey-Mort Shipping Co.
         Legal costs absorbed most of the £ 500, and the crew were sent to their homes in the United States by American boats, and the master obtained a berth as second mate on a ship bound for America.
        Capt. Adams another American sailor, who happened to be in South Australia, accompanied by his wife and child, was given command of the FOREST FRIEND, and in February 1928, sailed for Sydney. Heavy weather was encountered, and one morning, while Capt. Adams was attending to one of the halyards when his oilskins 
caught in the barrel winch, and he was severely injured.
        The mate signaled with flares, and a pilot cutter was dispatched from Sydney to the FOREST FRIEND, which was then laying 20 miles from the heads. The captain and his wife and child were taken ashore and the ship was taken to anchorage by the mate.
        Three weeks later Capt. Adams died from his injuries, and on 29 March 1928, Capt. Tindall took command of the barquentine. She sailed for Peru with a cargo of Australian coal.
        Capt. Tindall's words:


"We set out from Sydney with a scratch crew of 13 men. The first mate was an inveterate drunkard and as I had been unable to get a second mate I was forced to appoint one of the men from the forecastle. He turned out to be quite useless.
        Only three of the crew were experienced sailors, and before we had been out two weeks I had trouble with one of them. He was a Russian. He was demoralizing the rest of the crew, so I sent for him, and with the aid of the storekeeper and steward, I put handcuffs on him. I kept him in irons for the rest of the voyage.
        As soon as I reached Callao, Peru, I cabled the owners for funds to pay off the crew, but it was two weeks before the money arrived. In the meantime, the crew refused to work until they got their money.

        When I paid off the crew, I was left on the ship alone except for the mate, who had gone on a prolonged drinking bout as soon as he got his money.

        Before I could get a fresh crew to take the boat out it was necessary to get a portrait from the port captain, and he insisted that I should take my old crew back. I did not want the men back and squared the immigration authorities to lay off them, but the port captain called upon the police to arrest them and put them on board the FOREST FRIEND. the police would bring one or two on at a time, and as soon as they had departed in search of another batch the first crew would go back on shore.
        The port captain got so sick of seeing me around that he approved one of the many crew listed I had presented to him. I left Callao in ballast for Port Townsend, Washington.
        The trip from Peru was uneventful until we ran into the latitude of San Francisco when gale after gale struck us. For a long time, we lay off Cape Flattery but managed to get 10 miles down Juan de Fuca Strait. It commenced to blow hard from the southeast, and I had to anchor in Neah Bay. There we waited for a fair wind, but the barometer was dropping, and had weather was looming up. We were in a very 
dangerous position off an exposed coast when a coastguard wirelessed for a tug. Four hours after we had left in tow for Port Townsend a howling gale set in."

        It was in November 1928, that the FOREST FRIEND arrived at Port Townsend. Capt. Tindall was instructed by his owners to proceed to Port Winslow, WA, for cargo on charter. A survey of the ship showed that repairs amounting to ca. £1,600 would be necessary before the underwriters would insure her for the outward voyage. The charterers refused to release £2,000 in trust, and Capt. Tindall was reduced to borrowing money on the security of the ship and himself to pay off the crew.
        Pleas to the owners in Australia for money were in vain, but eventually, they instructed Capt. Tindall to proceed to Esquimalt, Vancouver Is, B.C. On arrival in B.C., the captain was informed by cable that the company owning the ship had gone into liquidation. Claims amounting to £950 were immediately filed against the ship.
        Once again, as had happened at Port Adelaide, libel notices adorned the masts of the FOREST FRIEND. Witnesses told Mr. Justice Martin, in the Victoria, B.C., Admiralty Court, that the FOREST FRIEND was valuable only as a hulk and might fetch £1,000 at a forced sale.
        The ship was appraised at a value of £950, the total of the claims against her, and early in June a sale was conducted on the deck of the vessel.
        When the terms of the sale were explained, it was discovered that as the FOREST FRIEND was of American registry it would be necessary to pay duty amounting to ca. £ 400 on the barquentine before she could be used off the coast of B. C., Canada.
        The additional sum for duty brought the price to more than anyone was willing to pay, and no bids were received.
        The Admiralty Court authorized the marshal to receive private bids on the vessel, and on 23 June, Hodder Brothers, general towing contractors of Vancouver, tendered an offer of £ 800 for the vessel. The offer was promptly accepted.
"What will be the future of the FOREST FRIEND?" I asked the Hodder brothers after they had left the Admiralty office.
        Mr. Hodder shook his head somewhat sadly as he replied, "Well, I am afraid she will have to end her days as a hulk carrying lumber or other commodities. It seems a shame for such a noble ship, but after all, what else can I do with her?"
        And this is the tale of the FOREST FRIEND, one of the stateliest sailing ships that ever sailed the seven seas. She is to be relegated to the menial tasks of the hulk engaged in the lumber or the cannery trade on the B.C. coast.
        And how does Capt. Tindall view the fate of the barquentine of which for 12 months he was the master?
        "She was a fine ship," he said slowly, as I walked with him after he had taken his last view of his late command. "but I suppose, the days of the sailing ship have passed."
        Capt. Tindall, however, will command another sailing ship.
        "I have been instructed to find a small barque and take it to Peru, he told me.
        It will not have the stately lines of the FOREST FRIEND but in the eyes of Capt. Tindall it will be infinitely superior to steam.

There is another SPHS post of this former Washington-built sailing vessel HERE

If anyone has ship's plans for FOREST DREAM, FOREST FRIEND, or FOREST PRIDE, please email or leave a comment in the box below. Thank you.

08 February 2024

DAYS OF BLOOD IN THE EARLY LIME QUARRYS----from 1860-- 1959 with Lucile McDonald



Remains of the old Cowell quarry
stands on a hillside of
western San Juan Island,
where the Island's limestone industry began.
Photo dated 1959.
Click image to enlarge.
Photograph by W.R. Danner.
From the archives of the
Saltwater People Historical Society©

"Geologists this summer (1959) combed the San Juan Islands in a study of limestone deposits, trying to determine how much of the mineral resource remains on the islands and how practical the deposits are for exploitation.

Long ago the white substance furnished the principal year-round payrolls in the islands and was one of the factors in their settlement. Quarrymen, kiln-tenders, and coopers comprised an important part of the population between 1870 and the end of the century. 

Dr. W.R. Danner, a Seattle geologist on the U of British Columbia faculty, headed a crew sent out by the Division of Mines and Geology of the State Department of Conservation to make a comprehensive survey of the deposits in the past three months. He worked mostly in the San Juans and in Skagit County, while Dr. J.W. Mills of WA. State University, with a similar crew, carried on the search east of the Cascades.


Dr. W. R. Danner,
Seattle geologist, at the door of 
a disintegrating limekiln at the former
Eureka site on San Juan Island, WA.
Click image to enlarge.
1959 photograph by Parker McAllister,
from the archives of the 
Saltwater People Historial Society©


Industries such as pulp manufacturing consume enormous quantities of limestone, now being imported into Washington because of lower production costs elsewhere.

At present, only one operator, of the Everett Lime Co. deals in this commodity from the islands. He employs a crew to blast rock from the Westerman quarry at Eastsound, Orcas Island, break it into chunks called 'spalls', and load it on barges to be taken to pulp mills.

The market for Washington limestone has shrunk greatly. Only in cement manufacturing is it expanding. However, this outlet requires large and easily accessible deposits.

It was once supposed there was so much limestone in the San Juans that possession of tiny O'Neal Island alone was sufficient reason to justify the British-American boundary dispute of 1859. 

Danner found this century-old idea amusing because, although limestone is visible on the surface of O'Neal, the island on close examination proved to have a negligible amount of the mineral.

'Islanders think lime is all over the archipelago,' Danner said. 'This is not true. It is found in small deposits; there are no great sheets of it. We want to discover what actually is here, what is left in the quarries, and what deposits have not been quarried.'

With his two assistants, Danner tracked down forgotten places such as limestone caves, crumbling towers that once were kilns, and prospect holes in picturesque fern-filled glens where early-day miners did not find enough mineral to justify quarrying.

'There are nine groups of quarries on San Juan Island and at least 14 groups on Orcas.' Danner said 'The Roche Harbor operation on San Juan, which ended several years ago after having been the largest on the Pacific Coast, had 12 quarries.'

The Roche Harbor plant was modern, compared with the ruins of earlier ones scattered in the islands. The towering old stone kilns, into which rock was dropped from the top and drawn out through oven doors at the bottom, have a medieval look about them.

Seven kilns can be seen on San Juan, ten on Orcas, two on Henry, and one in ruins on Crane, Danner says. The geologist found 21, including some which have almost disappeared.

Inaccessibility usually was the factor governing the closing of the old mines. A few were abandoned because of the height of overhanging cliffs, which threatened landslides. Another was shut down because of the death of a workman. Most became too costly to operate.

Danner had explored for lime in the islands in previous summers for private companies. This year he thoroughly examined San Juan, Orcas, Henry, Cliff, Crane, O'Neal, and Jones Islands for the state. He mapped old workings, took samples, and assembled all the lore he could extract from residents. Many of the lime properties have become residential sites.


Charles McKillop, Friday Harbor, foreground 
& Alder Revisto, of Tacoma, survey the old 
Cowell quarry in 1959, on San Juan Island,
San Juan County, WA. 
They were assistants to Dr. W.R. Danner.
Click image to enlarge.

Photo by Danner from the archives of the 
Saltwater People Historical Society.©

The industry began on San Juan Island's west side, on the cliffs near Lime Kiln Lighthouse.

Augustus Hibbard, who became the island's first quarry operator in 1860, was a man who attracted trouble. Military authorities were annoyed with his men for keeping liquor in camp and selling it to soldiers and Indians. Hibbard's cook was stabbed to death by a cooper and Hibbard himself was killed by his partner, on June 17, 1868, in a quarrel over an Indian woman.

Hibbard died just before the completion of a new kiln. His heir, who journeyed from the East to take possession, died two years later. The federal census of 1870 indicated that the firm then employed 18 persons and in 12 months had produced 13,000 barrels of lime, worth $26,000.

Lime at that time was used mainly for mortar and as a soil 'sweetener' in agriculture. None had been discovered closer than California or Vancouver Island, so trade in Washington Territory appeared to offer good prospects.

George R. Shotter, a Canadian, opened the first quarry on Orcas about 1862, across Eastsound from the site where Clauson is mining today (1959.) The Shotter site, north of Rosario on Eastsound, is owned by the Crown Zellerbach Corp. Two ruined kilns on the beach are all that remains of the lime settlement of Port Langdon, which existed before there was a town of Eastsound.

Nova Langell, an old resident of the island, is a son of Ephraim Langell, a Nova Scotian who went to work at the quarry in 1871. He recalled that the company's oldest kiln has disappeared: the two standing on the shore are later ones.

In 1874, after American ownership of the San Juans was agreed through arbitration, the British quarry firm sold to Daniel McLachlan, an employee, and Robert Caines of Port Townsend, who later bought McLachlan's interest.

McLachlan went to the east side of San Juan Island and, with his brother, William, and Thomas H. Lee, a relative by marriage, in 1881, organized the Eureka Lime Kiln, on what became the property of Mrs. D.M. Salsbury.

Seven little quarries are scattered through the woods on Mrs. Salsbury's 250-acre tract and two kilns stand on the beach. Once a small community was on the spot, including a hotel, post office, saloon, and 20 families.

Eureka is one of the oldest quarries in the islands, older than the McLachlan-Lee enterprise. Probably it was opened by an Englishman named Roberts during the joint military occupation of San Juan by the British and Americans. Early in 1863, American squatters attempted to seize it from him through an illegal order of the Justice of the Peace. The controversy ended with Roberts's death by drowning before the year was out.

The Eureka property has not been operated since about 1890. Mrs. Salsbury converted two of the quarries into a Japanese grotto and a woodland chapel. Rock from one of the kilns was used for building her chimney and fireplace.

Danner found the forgotten quarry of the Chuckanut Lime Co. on the east side of Point Lawrence, Orcas Island. It was abandoned before 1910.

One of the most spectacular quarries, Danner said, is on the west side of Orcas Island, about 300' up in the cliffs, where the Orcas Lime Co plant for many years was operated by a woman, Mary Louise Dally. She and her husband, F.W.R. Dally, bought the original kiln on the President Cannel side of the island in 1900.

From 1914 until she died in 1928, Mrs. Dally had lime properties on San Juan and Henry Islands, including one with an ancient pot kiln, the most primitive type of oven to be seen in the archipelago.

Part of Danner's objective has been to learn the age of the limestone deposits in the islands, using tiny fossils of one-celled creatures that lived in shallow sea-bottom and were uplifted after the age of glaciers. On Orcas, he found limestone 350,000 years old.

The fossils, Danner said, are dependable clues to the age of any land where they exist. Through their presence, scientists have determined that the San Juan Mountains (now submerged, the islands are their peaks) ca. 200,000,000 years older than the Cascade Range.

The basic purpose of the summer work has been to learn whether suitable deposits of limestone are available to attract new industries.

Whereas kilns used to be of backyard proportions and a 200-barrel shipment was considered newsworthy in 1875, today's thinking has to be on a gigantic scale. If quarrying should reopen in the islands it will have to be undertaken by some large corporation financially able to overcome the physical obstacles and install an economical burning plant."

Words by historian/author Lucile McDonald and published by the Seattle Times.

04 February 2024

The PRESIDENT, a Veteran Making History



S.S. PRESIDENT 
417' l x 48.2' b x 19.7' d.
Original gelatin-silver photo dated 1910.

Click to enlarge image.
Original gelatin-silver photo from the 
 Saltwater People Historical Society©

1907: With a tonnage of 5,433, a single screw,  the S.S. PRESIDENT was launched by New York Shipbuilding at Camden, New Jersey. Upon her arrival on the Pacific Coast, Capt. H.P. Weaver was placed in charge, where she was known for providing excellent passenger line service and the efficient handling of cargo. 

1913: The PRESIDENT gave up coal and was installed with an oil burner.

1922: The veteran liner, S.S. PRESIDENT, following a thorough renovation, was renamed S.S. DOROTHY ALEXANDER, becoming the third of the famous steamers in the company's primary coastwise service.


S.S. DOROTHY ALEXANDER
(ex-PRESIDENT)

Original gelatin-silver photo from the 
Saltwater People Historical Society©
1923: A historic event in the sea community occurred in May with the official tests of the radiotelephone equipment installed aboard the steamships H.F. ALEXANDER and DOROTHY ALEXANDER (ex-PRESIDENT.)

"Greetings, Capt. Bartlett of the H.F. ALEXANDER, this is Capt. Harris of the DOROTHY ALEXANDER off Cape Blanco. How's the weather at Cape Flattery?" Such was the first voice radio conversation ever held between ships at sea on the North Pacific. The H.F. ALEXANDER was then 300 miles south of Seattle, and the DOROTHY ALEXANDER, 280 miles north of San Francisco. The wireless message was dispatched by Jafet Linderberg, a prominent Nome mining man, to J.W. Kelly in Seattle, and was relayed via land stations at Carmanah and Tatoosh Island. A return message from Kelly was received by the PRESIDENT. This event took place shortly before the placing in operation of similar equipment aboard the U.S. liner LEVIATHAN on the Atlantic.

1935: DOROTHY ALEXANDER was sold to Alaska Steamship Company and following her completion of the 1935 schedule, she was placed in service on the Puget Sound-Alaska route as the S. S. COLUMBIA. 



S.S. COLUMBIA 
(ex-PRESIDENT AND DOROTHY ALEXANDER)

Original gelatin-silver photo from the 
Saltwater People Historical Society©

1946: COLUMBIA (ex-PRESIDENT AND DOROTHY ALEXANDER) was sold by the Alaska Steamship Company to Portuguese owners and transferred from Vancouver to Oporto by a Portuguese curfew under the new name of PORTUGAL.

Words in this piece were extracted from H.W. McCurdy's Marine History of the Pacific Northwest. Gordon Newell, editor. Superior Publishing. 1966.

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