On page 66 of The Inside Passage to Alaska, Anderson says that the S.S. Willamette left Tacoma on August 7, 1897 with 800 passengers and 300 horses and bales of hay stacked so high on deck that forward view from the bridge was obstructed. In Tacoma 7500 people watched her leave and almost miraculously she arrived in Skagway and was photographed by Winter and Pond unloading, seen above. J.M. Houghton was the ship’s engineer, and H.W. Skinner was the purser, along with a crew of 22. Eighteen men deserted the ship when they arrived in Dyea. The ship had to pay a $50 dockage fee and $1 a head for the horses and cattle to dock there. The ship stayed for 9 days while the Captain and Engineer tried to find a crew to head south. Apparently Robert Bonine shot a film of the Willamette leaving Tacoma in 1897 which is saved somewhere:
“The Oregon Improvement Company’s old steam collier Willamette was quickly converted to carry 600 passengers in temporary berths erected in her coal holds, and she made her first voyage to Skagway and Dyea on August 3. The best that can be said of her as a passenger liner is that she carried a lot of passengers; but the stampeders of 1897 were not fussy about accommodations. Among the first passengers was Capt. Everett B. Coffin of the side-wheeler Idaho, who went north with Fred Fickeff as representatives of a Port Gamble grubstake pool.” Gordon Newell, Maritime events of 1897, H.W. McCurdy, Marine History of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle: Superior, 1966, p. 15.
In 1903 The Pacific Coast Company renamed her the S.S. Montara or Montana which later ran aground in 1920 near Nova Scotia.
2 Replies to “Steamship Willamette”
SS “Willamette” leaving for the Klondike
I will attempt to embed the video, but I also included the link in case it does not work.
Thanks so much Jeff, great video that I did not know existed!