Shipwrecks

SS Dolphin 1905

Posted on Feb 22, 2013 in Shipwrecks | 0 comments

Here is another great old photo taken by Case & Draper in Skagway harbor in 1905. It too was sold recently for a few dollars, here was the description:

“The Alaska Steamship Company’s SS DOLPHIN Is shown arriving in Juneau August 17, 1905. Admeasured at 824 gross tons, the SS DOLPHIN was built in 1892 at Wilmington, Delaware. The ship was 225 feet in length with a 40 foot beam and displaced 1500 tons. She had twin screws turned by triple expansion steam engines. The ship originally carried the names AL FOSTER and THE FOSTER and was used as a club boat to carry fishing parties on Long Island Sound. Alaska Steam purchased the ship in 1900 and brought her to Alaska by sailing her around Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America. This tumultuous voyage featured a 21 day passage from St. Lucia in the West Indies to Montevideo, Uruguay; a horrific storm off the Rio de la Plata; a confrontation with the inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego who tried to burn the ship; and a mutiny by the steward’s department in Coronel, Chile. After the ship took on coal for her boilers in Coronel, six mutineers were left ashore in the local jail. The ship operated from Puget Sound to Southeast Alaska. She was able to carry 150 first-class passengers and 200 second-class passengers and 600 tons of cargo. The DOLPHIN was famous for carrying gold south from Skagway and for racing other steamers from rival companies through Lynn Canal. Alaska Steam operated the ship from 1900 to 1917 when she was sold. Eventually the ship was reported to have found her way back to Chile ending her days as a gunboat operated by the Chilean Navy.”

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SS Humboldt

Posted on Feb 22, 2013 in Shipwrecks | 1 comment

I found this neat picture on Ebay. This Case and Draper photo was taken in 1905 in Skagway harbor.  The photo sold for a few dollars recently, here is the description:

“Two decks, two masts, 1075 tons. 213.1 x 31. 15.7 feet. 36 crew, 140 passengers Built in 1896 at Eureka, California. Operated on the Alaska route for many years.

The steamer Humboldt of the Humboldt Steamship Co Max Kalish, manager, piled up on Mouat Point, a rocky promontory on Pender Island off the Vancouver Island Coast on September 29. In charge of Capt. E. G. Baughman, the vessel was en route from Seattle to Skagway and other southeastern Alaska ports and was feeling her way through a dense fog. A wireless call for help was sent, and the fishing steamer Edith, Capt. Thomas A. Miller responded, removing all the passengers safely. Although her bow was crumpled back four feet from the stem, she was later refloated by J. E. Pharo’s Puget Sound salvage steamer Santa Cruz and, following repairs, resumed Alaska service.

The little Alaska steamer Humboldt, once famous as a gold carrier in the Puget Sound -southeastern Alaska run, was sold at auction in San Francisco to satisfy creditors’ claims. Thereafter she was little used, remaining in layup at San Diego until 1935.”

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Speaking of cruise ship fires

Posted on Feb 15, 2013 in Shipwrecks | 0 comments

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Ketchikan, in 1945, smoke billows from the steamship Prince George. The ship caught fire September 22, 1945. She was towed from the dock and allowed to burn when it became clear that the fire was uncontrollable.
Donor: Bert Libe, Courtesy Tongass Historical Society

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The little Mocking Bird

Posted on Feb 15, 2013 in Shipwrecks | 0 comments

When Captain Harry Barlow lost his ship the Port Admiral near Wrangel in February 1898 in a blinding snowstorm, he bought the little passenger steam launch Mocking Bird. He put it into use as the Skagway to Dyea as the ferry service in 1898. The little 20 horsepower, 72 foot long vessel was built in 1889 in Tacoma and weighed 38 tons gross.  She was still registered in 1910 but then disappeared from history.

 

From Gordon Newell, Maritime Events of 1898 and H.W. McCurdy, Marine History of the Pacific Northwest. Wikipedia; transcribed from the Lloyd’s Register of British and Foreign Shipping

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Hardings cursed trip

Posted on Dec 5, 2012 in Military, Shipwrecks | 0 comments

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President Warren Harding visited Skagway on July 11, 1923. Leaving here, he re-boarded the USS Henderson on his trip south to San Francisco where he died. Another ship in the presidential fleet was the USS Seattle. Both ships were involved in accidents in the days that followed: the USS Henderson was rammed by the USS Zeiler in Puget Sound and the USS Seattle ran aground in the Sound. Barely two months later, one of the biggest disasters in US Naval History occurred which I will summarize briefly here.

On September 2, 1923 there was a massive earthquake in Japan, the resulting tsunami and strong currents reached the California coast just as a heavy fog further complicated navigation. On September 8, in the dark of night, the passenger steamer Cuba went aground on San Miguel Island. My husband and I lived on San Miguel once, 30 years ago, and the remnants of that shipwreck were still visible on the beach at certain times when we lived there.

Tragically, on that same day there were 14 new sleek “flush deck” destroyers that the Navy was testing at full battle speed on a mission from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The Navy was anxious to prove their worth since President Harding had been a staunch supporter of Navy funding, but with his death, the subsequent administration was not. Unfortunately, that night, at 9 pm, a total of nine destroyers plowed, at 20 knots into the California coast, at a place called the Devil’s Jaw near Santa Barbara. Seven were completely destroyed and 23 sailors died. The dramatic full story of the crash, heroism and tragedy can be read here:

http://suite101.com/article/crushed-in-the-devils-jaw-a402650

 

 

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Capt. David Ogilvie Wallace

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 in Alaska, Shipwrecks | 0 comments

One of the early ships to come to Skagway was the Steamer Mexico in 1894. It was captained by David O. Wallace who had been navigating the Inside Passage at least since 1888 when he piloted the Corona for the Pacific Coast Steamship Company. Then in November of 1888 he took the City of Topeka north.

Wallace was born in Newburgh, Fife, Scotland on January 22, 1853 and went to sea as a boy. He arrived in California in 1870 and his first command was the Idaho. He had also served as seaman on the Santa Cruz, the Los Angeles and the Ancon (until it sank) and later as captain of the City of Topeka.

He died on June 26, 1908 in Seattle at the age of 55.

 

from Lewis & Dryden’s marine history of the Pacific Northwest; WA death records; familysearch.

 

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