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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 650, 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.

20 June 2018

❖ CAPT. NORMAN DRIGGS: Ballard to the San Juan Islands. ❖

Captain Norman L. Driggs.
"Norman pioneered transportation over
the route from Friday Harbor to Anacortes
& to Bellingham. His first boat was the
SPEEDER. After competing for some time with
Capt. Kasch & the ALVERENE, Capt. Driggs was
identified with the U.S. Shipping Board & was
stricken while bringing an oil-tanker to port in
Seattle, WA."

Above words by his sister, Marguerite Driggs Murray.
This scan is courtesy of Jan Anderson.
Click image to enlarge.
"Captain Norman L. Driggs was born at Seattle 14 May 1886. He was the son of Granville B. and Fanny Lake Driggs.
      For many years his grandfather, T. W. LAKE, owned and operated a shipyard at Ballard, WA and Norman's play days were divided between this shipyard and the shores of the San Juan Islands where he developed a lasting love for ships of the sea.
      At the tender age of sixteen, the lad shipped on the schooner NELLIE JENSEN. Later he tried working ashore in a concrete works, but, Norman said, he 'almost starved to death' and the work was not at all to his liking. So he shipped again, this time on the tug MESSENGER, doing a deck watch for a while, then standing watch in the engine room.
      At this time Norman had an opportunity to enter college so he left the sea for a few long homesick watches, graduating from Pullman about 1907.
Freight and passenger boat 66' x 12'
with a 65 HP Troyer-Fox engine.
Built in 1909 at Reed's Shipyard, Decatur Island, WA.
Capt. Robert Fullerton and engineer Griggs were
principal owners of the Co. Later she was taken over
by the well-known Capt. Kasch.
Original photo with time-table inset from the archives of
the Saltwater People Log.©
It was the happiest day of his life when he arrived back on the saltchuck again. 
     To start with he purchased a half interest in the CONCORDIA and established the first round trip schedule from the Islands––Friday Harbor, Lopez, Decatur, and Anacortes. 
Later he built the CITY OF ANACORTES at Decatur and put her on the Roche Harbor, Waldron, Friday Harbor, Lopez and Anacortes route. Times were good and the rock quarry at Waldron was running full swing, shipping the rock to Grays Harbor to build the breakwater and jetty. And when things began to slow down, Norman bought the boats, equipment, and floating machine shop at Bremerton and started a ferry business between Bremerton and the Washington Veterans Home at Annapolis (Retsil.) He sold out later and went into the general towing business with the CONCORDIA and CITY OF ANACORTES, also chartered the FREDDIE, SKIDDOO, BUFFALO, VAGABOND, TAKU, and RAKU II. A year or so he started the Inter-Island Navigation Co, using the BAINBRIDGE, CITY OF ANACORTES, YANKEE-DOODLE, and GEORGIA.
      Norman carried the mail through the San Juan Islands for 8 years and encouraged the idea of the Anacortes-Sidney Ferry with Capt. Harry Crosby. He did not follow up the operation due to other interests, but Crosby did. 

From the archives of the Saltwater People Log©
It was at this time that Capt. Driggs chartered the CARLISLE II and started the Gooseberry-Orcas ferry run, and a year later sold out and built the 87-ft SPEEDER. Signed as mate on a shipping board boat during WW II; before she sailed the armistice was signed and the war was over.
      So Norman set out to work on everything afloat and didn't miss it very far at that. Among his commands of the last two decades are ROSARIO, COLUMBIA, SEA KING, TYEE, IROQUOIS, INTREPID, WALOLA, MOHAWK, MARVIN, BARNEY JR., and many others. 
Built at Jensen's Shipyard
Friday Harbor, WA. 
From the archives of the Saltwater People Log©

Next came the tugs MARTHA FOSS, ANDREW FOSS, PATRICIA FOSS and ANNA FOSS––and when you make out the KATHERINE FOSS in the offing, rest assured it will be Captain Norman L. Driggs at the wheel, with that cheery smile which has won him a million friends and almost that many boats."  
Above text from the Marine Digest of Jan. 1944.

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