"Sailing-ship days, and vessels that visited the Sound, in 1900, were recalled by I.J. Webster of the firm Webster & Stevens, Seattle photographers, as he sorted the negatives of 5,000 ship pictures. He came to the film of a stately windjammer with graceful lines and towering masts, which he held up to the light.
"There is a story behind the negative, he said as he continued to study it. Homer Davidson, one of our men, who covered the wreck of the VALENCIA for the Times in January 1906, made the negative. It is one of the finest ship pictures we have. It shows the Norwegian bark GANGES towing up the Sound after a voyage from Callao, Peru, in 1906. Davidson snapped it while out on a job."
Shipping records show that the Norwegian bark GANGES of Tvedestrand, Capt. L. Christensen, on a voyage from Callao, Peru, to the Sound, passed Port Crescent 3 March 1906, arrived at Victoria, BC, 9 March and went to Port Blakely for lumber for Callao as seen in the above photo. After loading hay cargo, the vessel towed to Port Townsend 25 May where she signed her crew. She passed out 6 June at Cape Flattery and squared away for the long voyage to Peru.
The GANGES was an iron bark of 1,392 gross tons register, 242-ft long, 37.2-ft beam, and 22.5-ft in depth.
Davidson was in our employ 27 years, continued Webster. He is now a businessman in Portland, OR.
The late N.N. Stevens and I came to Seattle in 1900 and entered the photographic business. We moved into the Arcade Building before the doors had been put on. I guess we have taken half a million pictures, including 5,000 ship pictures. In the old days, we photographed every ship that came to Seattle.
Webster held the negative up to the light again.
I am going to develop it so other people can enjoy an interesting picture of one of the finest sailing ships that ever towed up the Sound, he said as he started for the dark room. Yesterday a picture of the proud windjammer GANGES, a ship of other days, was in a window of Webster & Stevens, 414 Virginia Street." The Seattle Times. 15 March 1942.
* Some notes below from a Gordon Jones paper for Puget Sound Maritime. 1966. On file.
Webster & Stevens:
Nelson N. Stevens and Ira J. Webster, two young men from Portland, Michigan, formed a traveling photographic partnership known as Webster and Stevens. Their work took them across the country, into the southwest and up to New Westminster and Vancouver, BC. In 1902, they decided to settle in the Puget Sound country, their first offices here being in the Arcade Building, Seattle.
They soon gained a good reputation and by 1906 had become the official photographers for the Seattle Times, relocating in 1916 in the Times Building in Times Square. In 1928 they again relocated at 412 Virginia Street, setting up their own laboratory again in 1930. At one time they employed twelve people.
Being professional commercial photographers, they quite naturally embraced a wide field but some of their best work was done on the maritime scene during their days with the Times. The marine desk was a busy place in those days and they covered many waterfront news stories.
"Ike" Webster died 1942, Mr. Stevens having gone about ten years prior. The "W & S" signature, however, remains on many fine marine pictures.
For one and possibly two vintage Seattle maritime photographs by W & S please click here.
Ira James Webster:
For 23 years, until the Seattle Times established its own photography department, the partners did all local picture work for the newspaper. The two men founded the Seattle Commercial Photographers Association.
His work made Mr. Webster known to thousands of Seattleites. To youngsters of his neighborhood, he was affectionately known as "Uncle Ike."
After Mr. Stevens resigned as secretary-treasurer of the firm of Webster & Stevens in 1925, due to ill health, his son, Richard E. Stevens, became Mr. Webster's partner.
Survivors are his widow, Olive Webster, and a brother, James M. Webster of Edmonds. Obituary courtesy of the Seattle Times, 19 Nov. 1942.
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