|King & Winge |
Built 1914 in West Seattle, WA.
The former pilot boat, fur-seal trader, fishing schooner,
heroine, and rum-runner.
Photo location; Lake Union, Seattle, WA.
Original photo from the archives of
the Saltwater People Historical Society©
"Busy days of wartime ship construction did not dull the interest of Oscar E. Olson and Carl B. Winge in famous vessels. They were still telling of their surprise as they gazed out on the ways of the Olson and Winge Marine Works, on the Lake Washington Ship Canal, and saw the pilot ship COLUMBIA hauled out for repairs and alterations for the vessel was none other than the famed schooner King & Winge under another name and rig.
The King & Winge was home after 30 years, bringing back memories of 1890 when Thomas J. King and Albert Winge started in business as shipbuilders in West Seattle. The latter, the uncle of Carl R. Winge, came from a family of Norwegian boat builders. Albert's father made a record of carving figureheads for the bows of the early-day sailing vessels, that probably never will be equaled.
No ship still afloat has won the fame of the COLUMBIA, ex-KING & WINGE. In her log has been recorded the stories of Arctic rescues, ship disasters, and the carrying of pilots through the treacherous waters a the mouth of the Columbia River.
The sturdy pilot boat has made 30,000 trips across the bar at the mouth of the Columbia. All of these trips have been logged by Capt. Frank Craig, her veteran skipper, since the Columbia River bar pilots purchased her in 1923.
King & Winge were just finishing the vessel named for that firm when, the Hibbard and Swenson Co was seeking a vessel to send to the Bering Sea for their year's catch of Arctic furs aboard the Belvedere, trapped in the ice floes.
The King & Winge, sheathed in ironbark for protection against the ice, sailed under charter and in command of Capt. Octon P. Jochimson. After the cargo was transferred to a ship at Nome, the King & Winge left on a walrus hunting expedition.
|King & Winge |
with upside-down ensign.
Undated photo original photo from the archives of
the Saltwater People Historical Society©
Olaf Swenson, one of those chartering the vessel, was aboard and ordered the schooner to Herschel Island to the rescue of the Stefansson expedition, stranded there, and their ship, the Karluk frozen in the ice. It was estimated that the survivors had only 10 days of food left and the King and Winge was rushed through the ice at top speed. After a trip fraught with danger, the vessel rescued 12 persons from the island, including women and children. Later the group was placed aboard the cutter Bear and then a successful walrus hunt was completed.
After a season of halibut fishing, the King & Winge was in the news again in 1918 when she stood by the wreck of the Canadian Pacific steamship Princess Sophia, stranded on Vanderbilt Reef in SE Alaska. The Sophia sank in deep water with a loss of more than 300 lives. The King and Winge became a funeral ship, [along with a few other boats] gathered the bodies that would be reached and returned to port.
The King & Winge was of exceptional heavy construction. She has a cutter bow without the original stubby bowsprit. She carried a Coast Guard Reserve number on her gray hull and the word 'pilot' on her deckhouse. She has been in the service of the CG since the beginning of the war, as have been her pilot owners who now wear CG uniforms. The King & Winge, a remarkable little ship, has taken many years of punishment and 85 percent of the original vessel is still sound [in 1945.] She has many more years to go, the men who helped build her contend.
Thomas J. King and Albert Winge started in the shipbuilding business in West Seattle in 1899. The latter, the uncle of Carl B. Winge, came from a family of Norwegian boat builders. Albert Winge's father made a reputation carving fine figureheads for the early sailing ships.
However the two partners intermingled trades and business and besides carrying on marine construction, engaged in cod and halibut fishing and built the Tom & All, which provided the pattern for the new and large King & Winge larger, stouter, and more suitable than any other fishing vessel and the old-timers on the Seattle waterfront know how well they succeeded.
Carl B. Winge was the treasurer and purchasing agent for the Kine & Winge firm at the time this namesake of the yard was built. He knew every piece of material that went into the vessel. Oscar E. Olson was machinist foreman. Both eventually followed separate courses in the shipbuilding trade and then in 1941 merged their talents to form the firm of Olson and Winge. Many of the men who built the famous ship were employed at that yard.
Olson & Winge's record in the war program was an enviable one. Fifteen halibut and seine boats were converted for Navy use as supply ships, forerunners of the large PT-boats. Then eight assorted private vessels, requisitioned by the Army, came from the plant as supply or 'Q" boats. All of them were ca. 60-ft in length.
Several special jobs were fitted into the program, including the conversion to a net tender of the former ferry Bee Line, and a floating marine repair shop from a RCL, 203-ft, non-propelled wooden Army barge.
The firm then turned its attention to construction of four 50-ft harbor patrol boats for the Coast Guard. New construction also included fifteen 110-ft cargo lighters and four 48-ft degaussing barges for the Navy. Then came the extensive outfitting of uncompleted high-powered aircraft rescue boats and the repairing of others that already had seen service.
As in the case of other successful yards, Olson & Winge prized very highly the skill and energy of their key men. They include K.J. Carlson and Gus Newman, veteran shipwrights, Herb Black, caulker foreman, Frank Smith, Homer Pricket and Axel Olson, machinists, who all helped build the King & Winge. Also Ted Vadset, plant superintendent, D.E. Erickson, assistant production manager, Bill Richardson, purchasing agent, and Ed Winge, son of Carl, office and assistant business manager, not forgotten in the story of the success of the Olson & Winge Marine Works, situated in the Lake WA Ship Canal.