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

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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.

1901 ❖ First steamer launched from Otis, Lopez Island.

"The fish-trap men this year are taking time by the forelock. Already two camps are in full blast at south Lopez and two others may shortly be established. The Frank Womer camp is at the extreme end of the island, by the Waldell place. The men are comfortably housed, and well cared for in the cook house, where Mrs. Womer presides, assisted by Mr. Thompson. Their trap is driven and only part of the lead is to be put in. Being well out in the rapid tide current and with deep water it may be hard to hold the piles, otherwise the trap is bound to be a success.
      The Fairhaven Canning Company's main camp is at the old Pike location on the Sperry place. A large force of men are at present quartered in two roomy bunk houses. Mrs. M.E. Launler (sp?), assisted by her husband, provides the necessary daily nourishment. All are busy in the preparation of web for the trap shortly to be driven home and for traps at other locations. On the bay side of the spit a gridiron has just been driven where the company's scows will be overhauled and repainted. The fact that the men of those two camps have subscribed for several daily papers shows that they are bound to keep abreast with the times.
      Quiet now reigns at our shipyard. The two steamers have taken to the water and departed. First Capt. Davis, after having repainted and repaired his fine modeled HARRY,  slid her, or him, back into the buoyant element and it was not long till she bid us goodbye and steamed through Lopez Pass.
      On the 17th quite a number of gentlemen and ladies were present to see the launching of the ALPHA. In order to meet the contract with Capt. Marcusen, the boat had to be put into the water a few days earlier than the new moon tide. The ceremonies, too, could not well take place in the night when the tide was the highest, hence she did not float at first on taking her maiden dip. But the next morning revealed the new vessel safely moored to the end of the long wharf. The christening was performed by Miss Ella Anderson. So well had the Schruders arranged the launching, there was not a hitch. The shapely craft when let loose slid beautifully down the ways and had the tide been in, she would not have tarried. The next day the ECLIPSE came in and the owner was pleased to find his new steamer launched and waiting to start on her first voyage. With the builders aboard the towing tug, it was not long till the beautiful steamer was lost to view on her way to Fairhaven. May good luck attend the first steamer built at the Otis shipyard. On reaching Fairhaven we learn that the owners and builders were highly congratulated by both press and public for the  production of such a comely staunch craft." The San Juan Islander. 25 April 1901.
       The Master Carpenter Certificate from federal records, states that the 53.9-ft steamer ALPHA (ON 107658) was built by A. Marcusen, at Richardson, WA, with his signature as the master carpenter. The owners were A. Marcusen of New Whatcom, WA (2/5); D. N. McMillen of Fairhaven, WA (1/5); P. Benseth of Fairhaven, WA (1/5); and W. A. Frisby of Blaine, WA (1/5.)
      If you have a photograph of the ALPHA or any additional information to add to this record, please feel free to add a comment in the box below or send an email through this site. 

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