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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 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.


Squaare-rigger ST. PAUL,
Ballard dock, 1934.
She served for several years as a marine museum

moored near the Ballard locks.
Original photo from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
"Some anonymous person, in revolt against the sputnik space travel and the jet age, left a scrapbook at The Seattle Times as a reminder that other means of transportation of greater beauty once prevailed.
      His scrapbook typifies the nostalgia for sailing ships felt by many Seattleites who saved pictures of clippers, schooners, brigs, and barkentines when such vessels were numerous.
      'The Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society always felt that we should hang onto anything we had relating to these old ships. The public is beginning to realize that we want to save pictures and other souvenirs of that period', says Ralph Hitchcock.
      Next year Seattle should have a suitable repository for such items in a maritime wing, to be added to the Museum of History and Industry.
      Plans for the structure were completed recently, and it is hoped ground will be broken by 1 January. While $147,000 has been pledged, not all of the fund is in negotiable form and the committee handling the project is still receiving contributions.
      The plan calls for a simple building 53-ft wide x either 81-ft or 100-ft long, dependent on the state of the exchequer.
      This will contain a large display room on the main floor devoted exclusively to maritime subjects.
      For the past several years the society has had its collections stored in the Bell Street Terminal. These were moved out of a museum opened in 1952 at 81 Columbia St. Acquisitions have continued to pour in almost every month. Little could be done with them except to mount loose photographs in albums.
      Some sailing ship pictures have been lost to San Francisco through an energetic search conducted by Harold Huycke, who bought material for the State of CA to use in a large marine display.
      Huycke was instrumental in the purchase of the three-masted schooner C. A. THAYER, that was moved south in September for the museum in San Francisco.
     The THAYER, built for the lumber trade, later was used in the cod fishing industry. The past few years she lay at Quilcene.
     Seattle lost another historic vessel, the ST. PAUL, that in 1934 was anchored near Chittenden Locks on the Lake Washington Ship Canal and fitted out as a museum by the Puget Sound Academy of Science.

Original photos from the archives of the S. P. H. S.©
 The old square-rigger was visited by thousands of school children, tourists, and marine-minded citizens until she no longer was seaworthy. Her spars had to be removed and in 1940 she was towed to Vancouver Island to be sunk and used as part of a breakwater for a logging company.
      The dream of a museum on Seattle's waterfront was proved unattainable. So the Marine Historical Society concentrated on combining its efforts with those of MOHAI, which had more nautical collections of its own that could be accommodated in the available display space.
      The museum owns three sailing ship figureheads and soon is to receive another. Several years ago Jack Tusler, who lives on Coon Is. in the San Juans, presented it with a group of old sextants. There are hundreds of pictures, nameboards, and other artifacts.
      A notable collection of glass negatives of ships which visited Puget Sound for lumber was found in a tumble-down house on Capitol Hill when the new owners took over the property. The best of these, unfortunately, went to San Francisco.
      Marine collectors here hope no more choice items will get away from the Northwest."
Words by author Lucile McDonald for The Seattle Times, November 1957

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