Happy Birthday to Clifford J. Rogers born on this day, December 22, 1887 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He came to Skagway in 1900 and started working for White Pass in 1905, and eventually became President of White Pass. He and his brothers stayed in Skagway and all worked for the railroad. He was a naval architect and designed the first container ship.
In November 26, 1955 the new White Pass container ship was named for him. The Clifford J. Rogers set sail for Skagway then with her first load of “containerized freight.” The new ship and containers, coupled with the upgraded and diesel engines on the railroad and trucks on the roads made the Yukon the home of the first integrated container system in the world.
In 1965 the Rogers was sold and replaced with the 6,000 ton Motorvessel Frank H. Brown, one of the world’s most modern freighters.
Clifford’s wife in 1909 was Elizabeth Gertrude Steutiford. In 1949, Clifford James Rogers Jr. married Patricia Colwell in Ellensburg Washington.
Clifford Sr. died in 1978 at the age of 91 in Snohomish, Washington.
Seen above in the first Victoria College class in 1903 (age 16 far left).
From what I can tell there were at least three Frank Browns in Skagway. Frank W. Brown died on this day, June 19, 1907 in Skagway. Frank Edward Brown worked for White Pass in 1920. One Frank Brown was deported from Skagway after the Soapy roundup in 1898. But the most interesting story about Frank Brown is the one from 1988.
On January 26, 1988, the motorvessel Frank H. Brown, a 1965 Canadian cargo and fuel carrier was docked at the White Pass dock. This was one of the first container ships created but it must have lacked some safety features which are common today. That morning someone noticed the smell of gasoline and discoloration of the water around the stern tank of the ship. This tank had capacity of 124,000 gallons of fuel. Actions were immediately initiated to offload the tank to shoreside facilities. At the onset of the incident the wind was calm. However, by 10 a.m. the wind had built to nine knots from the north and continued increasing throughout the day. Response crews from the White Pass Transportation Co. initially boomed off the vessel but shortly thereafter opened the boom to avoid a fire hazard, on the advice of the U.S. Coast Guard. It was estimated that 2800 gallons of gasoline spilled into the harbor. Today Skagway still receives thousands of gallons of fuel and transfers it to fuel trucks which take the fuel to Whitehorse every day.
Seen above is the predecessor to the Brown, the Clifford Rogers as it unloads and loads containers (also invented by White Pass) to be loaded onto the train. This photo is from 1957 but is essentially the same as it was into the 1980’s.
USCG district 17. Government report 6547 online.