The MHN Blog is a companion to the Maritime Heritage Network, a not-for-profit, comprehensive website of maritime heritage organizations, attractions, and activities in the Pacific Northwest. The blog highlights news, activities, and resources useful to the entire maritime heritage community. All views expressed are the author's own. Opposing views are welcome.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Wawona End Game May Be Near

The City of Seattle has again threatened to evict the historic 1897 schooner Wawona from her berth at South Lake Union Park. And it has also threatened to confiscate the vessel and break her up, possibly saving some pieces for historic interpretation. That's according to people familiar with a meeting last week between the board of Northwest Seaport, which owns Wawona, and key city officials, including Parks Superintendent Ken Bounds and Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis.

The new ultimatum was a disappointment to NWS volunteers, who had hoped the city would help pay for a move of the vessel to a protected area so that restoration work could continue. NWS recently released a report by a panel of national experts that called for a similar strategy. NWS had already started to implement other recommendations, including removing Wawona's masts.

Last week, the city told NWS it has no money for a move. Instead, Ceis and Bounds, according to a participant in the discussions, said the city would start eviction proceedings if NWS did not come up with the money to move her. If the vessel was not moved, the officials said the city would start proceedings to forcefully remove her, "taking charge" of the ship and breaking her up for display. The city offered to help NWS pay for breaking up Wawona. It's not clear how much a break up might cost and how much the city would kick in.

The latest eviction threat is the second made by the city in the past year. In 2005, Bounds sent an eviction notice to NWS, asking the not-for-profit to move the vessel by December. The deadline came and went with no action while the expert panel met to consider alternatives.

NWS board member Wayne Palsson says NWS is looking at further options. They hope to present some ideas to the city in the next couple of weeks. But he admits NWS is rapidly running out of time. "Wawona is in her 11th hour, and it's getting close to midnight," he says.

If you'd like to express your views or ideas about Wawona, contact Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis at 206-684-8106,; Parks Superintendent Ken Bounds, 206-684-8022,; and Wayne Palsson, 206-447-9800,

Monday, May 29, 2006

NWS Releases Final Report on Wawona Options

Northwest Seaport has released its final report on recommendations by a group of experts on the potential restoration of the schooner Wawona. NWS, which owns the 1897 vessel listed on the National Register of Historic Places, convened a group of nationally recognized restoration experts in December 2005. (I contributed with a presentation based on my unpublished history of the ship.)

According to the report, six options were developed: demolition; "strategic abandonment"; preserving parts of the ship ashore; preserving the whole ship ashore; full restoration, and reconstruction (similar to building a replica).

The panel divided into two groups. The first group was composed of local experts from Washington State who had experience or expertise in funding issues and constraints, the political environment, and the maritime heritage community. Of the nine local panelists, one voted for reconstruction, three for preserving the whole ship ashore, and five for preserving parts of the vessel ashore.

The second group consisted of national experts in maritime heritage from other regions who focused on the preservation aspects of the vessel and available options independent of funding and political constraints. Strategic abandonment, immediate demolition, and reconstruction were rejected as options. The national experts recommended a three-phase approach: immediate stabilization, intermediate preservation on land undercover, and the development of a long-term plan for ultimate preservation and interpretation.

In January, Northwest Seaport implemented the first recommendation, including removing the masts, as reported by The MHN Blog. The final report said intermediate preservation included moving the Wawona onto a barge and transporting it to an undercover, land-based site. A strategic plan and campaign could then be developed that would include a business plan, assessment of the potential for public benefit, public and political support, and potential funding sources for one of three options: fully restoring the Wawona; preserving it whole on shore and under cover, or saving significant pieces and interpreting them onshore. (Wawona is currently at its long-term berth at South Lake Union Park.)

NWS estimated costs were $200,000 for immediate stabilization, $1.25 million for intermediate preservation, and up to $15 million for full restoration. Northwest Seaport continues to evaluate its options for moving forward.

To receive a copy of the full report, contact Northwest Seaport at 206-447-9800,

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Maritime Music at NW Folklife Festival

The family and I made our annual trip to the Northwest Folklife Festival yesterday and listened to several of Northwest maritime music artists and groups. Pictured is Jonathan Lay and Gordy Euler of Portland, who make up Shanghaied on the Willamette, my wife's favorite sea music duo. Other artists included Hank Kramer, the Pirettes, Divas of the Dockside, the family group The Cutters (the kids are growing so fast!) and the Shifty Sailors. The Pacific Northwest is known as one of the strongest centers in the nation for keeping the sea music tradition alive. At least once a year, we go to the monthly sea chantey sing alongs put on by Northwest Seaport. Armchair chanty singers should note that the June 2006 monthly sing along is on Saturday, June 10th, instead of the usual second Friday of the month. See the Maritime Heritage Calendar for more details.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Photos: Wawona, Shenandoah, Tilikum, Sea Lion VI

I've collected some more links to photos of Puget Sound-area historic vessels:

Wawona: Photographer Dean Forbes takes many photos of vessels at South Lake Union Park, including this one of the schooner Wawona. His images are much more than the usual vessel portraits. I enjoy the saturated colors and abstract shapes that can only be formed by watercraft reflections.

Shenandoah: I found this photo of the 1925 purse-seiner built in Gig Harbor on the Coastal Heritage Alliance website. Shenandoah is in the care of the Gig Harbor Heritage Center. The ship was built at the local Skansie Ship Building Company.

Tilikum: According to the caption to the photo on the Flickr website, "This traditional Northwest Coast seagoing dugout canoe was modified and rigged as a schooner by sailor John Voss, who sailed her across the Pacific and through the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic to England. She is seen here exhibited in the Maritime Museum of British Columbia in Victoria."

MV Sea Lion VI: I again found this photo on the Flickr website. The caption says, "The MV Sea Lion VI is a veteran tugboat which survived a shipwreck on a reef now named after her, now moored at Heritage Harbour in front of the Vancouver Maritime Museum."

Friday, May 26, 2006

Update on Maritime Heritage Initiative

4Culture, the King County arts and heritage agency, has updated its website with news about the Maritime Heritage Initiative. 4Culture says the new Maritime Heritage Alliance, which includes the Center for Wooden Boats, Coastal Heritage Alliance, Historic Seattle, and the Museum of History & Industry, has been meeting regularly to share news, coordinate on major grant-seeking efforts, and find ways to improve the climate for all of maritime heritage in Seattle. Meanwhile, an advisory team of members of the 2005 Maritime Heritage Task Force is moving forward on its objectives: 1) maintaining momentum toward the vision of the Task Force, and 2) securing $600,000 of public seed money over a two-year period to jumpstart next steps.

The MHI update also features some words from myself on the future of Maritime Heritage Network, which is now in its second year. 4Culture is the owner and main sponsor of MHN.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

MHN Calendar: Maritime Music at Folklife

Here's a selected item from the Maritime Heritage Network Calendar for the weekend of May 26-29, 2006.

  • 5/27/2006: Concert, Northwest Maritime Showcase, Northwest Seaport Maritime Heritage Ctr, 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM, Price: Donation, Northwest Folklife Festival, Seattle Center, 206-447-9800,, Maritime ensembles including Bold Horizon, Divas of the Dockside, Halibut Stew, Shifty Sailors, and more perform at the Northwest Folklife Festival.
MHN is always looking for more events for listing in its Calendar page. If you know of a maritime-related event in the Pacific Northwest, please send details to

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Canada: Zalinski Wreck Dangerous, Explosive

The Vancouver Sun reports that the 1946 wreck of the US Army transport General Zalinski is at risk of a large oil spill and possibly an explosion from bombs in its hold. The Canadian government is seeking international help to deal with the wreck. The ship ran aground and sank in the Grenville Channel, north of Hartley Bay, near the site of the recent sinking of the BC Ferries vessel Queen of the North. In 2003, oil was discovered on the surface near the site. Divers have sealed some leaks, although work has stopped due to fears about unexploded 500-pound bombs. Thanks to the blog Do fundo do mar...Sea bottom for the tip.

The Inside Passage is filled with stories of wrecked ships and lost lives. The Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society is a great resources for these stories.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tall Ship Trainee Injured in Fall from Main Mast

A trainee aboard the brig Lady Washington was hospitalized after a 67-foot fall, according to a reports in the Daily Astorian and the Seatttle Post-Intelligencer. Lukas Efler of Zurich, Switzerland was climbing the main mast to its highest point on Saturday when he slipped and fell, said the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority, which owns the vessel. The trainee was wearing a safety harness, but he may have been clipped to the wrong line. The accident occured while the ship was in Ilwaco, Washington for a local festival. The victim is hospitalized in stable condition. The Lady Washington is a replica of an 18th century brig that sailed up the coast of Washington and Oregon. It is used for educational and sail-training cruises. The GHHSA also owns the Hawaiian Chieftain, another replica vessel, which was also in Ilwaco at the time of the accident.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Virginia V Photo; Save Our Sanctuary Rally

A photo of the steamer Virginia V was posted on the Must I Paint You a Picture blog. The blogger notes that he volunteers aboard the vessel, which is a great way to learn about Puget Sound maritime history. Visit his blog and offer a comment.

On Saturday, I attended a rally in downtown Seattle in opposition to the demolition of the First United Methodist Church, one of Seattle's last remaining historic churches in the downtown business district. The rally was sponsored by Save Our Sanctuary and reported in the Seattle Times. Although an effort last year to preserve the building failed, supporters are not giving up. About 40 people attended the rally, heard speeches from County Councilman Dow Constantine and a descendant of the church's architect, and signed petitions. Although the church has little direct relationship to local maritime history, losing it erodes the city's unique character, which threatens all historic resources, not just the religious and social history the church represents.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Photos: Schooners Adventuress and Martha

The Ships of Sail photography pool on Flickr has posted images of the historic schooners Adventuress (image) and Martha (image), both home-ported in Port Townsend, Wash. The 136-foot gaff-rigged schooner Adventuress was launched in 1913 at the Rice Brothers' Yard in East Boothbay, Maine. Her first owner sold her the next year to the San Francisco Bar Pilot's Association, which marked the beginning of her career as a workboat. For 35 years, she transferred pilots to and from cargo vessels near the Farrallone Islands. During World War II, she was a US Coast Guard vessel, guarding San Francisco Bay. She is now a sail training vessel and registered as a national landmark.

The not-for-profit Schooner Martha Foundation owns and operates the 1907 schooner yacht Martha. The Foundation’s sole purpose is to maintain and restore Martha and to use Martha to operate sail training programs. Martha has been under the care of the foundation since 1996. Martha takes both youths and adults on sail training adventures in and around the San Juan Islands in Washington State and nearby Canadian waters.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Seattle Lighthouse Neighbors Worry About Possible Sale

Neighbors of the Alki Point Lighthouse have written to Maritime Heritage Network with concerns about the potential sale of an apartment building next to the lighthouse. A neighbor, who wishes to remain anonymous, wrote to MHN and Seattle Parks Department Superintendent Ken Bounds, saying that the Rip Tide Apartments (map), which have a spectacular view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, are very close to the lighthouse. The assessed value of the property is $2.76 million (King County Assessor record). The potential sale price may be in the range of $3 million to $5 million.

The neighbor worries that the apartments may be torn down and replaced by condos, or otherwise converted into property inappropriate for the neighborhood. Seattle is undergoing a high-end housing boom at the moment. The neighbor, retired from public service, suggests the property would be a wonderful place for a maritime park.

The neighbor writes: "It is right at the junction of many lanes of shipping and ferry traffic. The viewing opportunities of our marine environment are wonderful. At various times, there are the mighty Olympics, eagles, sea lions, orcas, sea hawks, cormorants, foxes and many other forms of wildlife. It is also a great place to watch storms, and the change of the tides. There are strong inshore currents to study, and many things to see at low tide, to say nothing of the lighthouse next door. There is a lot of foot traffic on the point every day. A park would be well-used by everyone in the city, not just residents. I can't tell you how many people come by my place every sunny day looking for the lighthouse."

If you have any information about a pending sale of the building and/or its potential conversion or new use, please write to me at

Thursday, May 18, 2006

MHN Calendar: Tug Comanche, Tom Lewis, More...

Here's selected items from the Maritime Heritage Network Calendar for the weekend of May 19-21, 2006.
  • 5/19/2006: Lecture, Traditional Norwegian Boat Building, Center for Wooden Boats, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, Price: FREE, Center for Wooden Boats, 1010 Valley St., Seattle, 206-382-2628,, Cornelius Sprenger will give a slide talk about his two year experience of boatbuilding at a folk arts school in Norway.
  • 5/20/2006: Exhibit, Rescue of Tug Comanche, Working Waterfront Maritime Museum, Noon to 4:00 PM, Price: Free admission for vets, otherwise regular admission price, Working Waterfront Maritime Museum, 705 Dock St., Tacoma, 253-272-2750,, Celebrate National Maritime Day with a discussion of the rescue of the US Navy tug Comanche.
  • 5/20/2006: Concert, Tom Lewis, Northwest Seaport Maritime Heritage Ctr, 8:00 PM to 10:30 PM, Price: $10 General; $8 students, seniors, and maritime heritage organization members, Center for Wooden Boats, 1002 Valley St., Seattle, 206-447-9800,, British singer/sailor Tom Lewis visits from Canada in a rousing concert.
  • 5/21/2006: Meeting, Mahogany and Wine, Payette Lakes Chapter, ACBS, 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Price: Contact owner, Eagle Knoll Winery, Eagle, Idaho, 208-286-0699,, Static boat show
  • 5/21/2006: Exhibit, Payette Lakes Antiques and Classics Boat Show, Payette Lakes Chapter, ACBS, 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Price: Contact owner, Eagle Knoll Winery, 3705 Highway 16, Eagle, ID, 208-286-0699,, Annual static boat show
  • May 20-21, 2006: Cruise, San Juan Islands Mini-Cruise, FiberGlassics Northwest, Price: Contact FGNW, San Juan Islands, Begin at Anacortes, 360-385-5038,, FGNW members cruise the San Juan Islands.
MHN is always looking for more events for listing in its Calendar page. If you know of a maritime-related event in the Pacific Northwest, please send details to

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Tacoma Hosts Nomination Workshop; MSN Article Explains Heritage Tourism

Tacoma's Landmarks Preservation Commission is hosting a free workshop to explain the process for nominating historic places as landmarks. The Tacoma News Tribune ran a brief story on this today. If you own or work on a historic vessel, lighthouse, or other maritime site, this is a great opportunity to learn how to preserve it for future generations. Official landmark designations can often open the door to private and government funding for restoration and program work. The workshop is scheduled for Saturday, May 20, 2006 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Call 253-591-5220 for more information and to register, or visit

MSN Money published a great summary article about the benefits of heritage trails, which are a way to link small tourism attractions under a single umbrella for marketing or educational purposes. The trails are often "virtual," in that there's not a physical road or path connecting the attractions. They are linked by a theme, sometimes a road, other times a common historical thread, such as, you guessed it, maritime!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Olympia Wooden Boat Fair Draws Big Crowds

The Olympian newspaper carried a story over the weekend about the Olympia Wooden Boat Association’s 26th annual fair, which began Saturday at Percival Landing. The event was held in conjunction with the 10th annual Boat Swap and Chowder Challenge. The blog Perigrinate posted these impressions and photos about the event.

Navy Cutter to Head Classic Weekend

A one-of-a-kind wooden cutter built by the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard will be among the vessels at the 2006 Classic Weekend sponsored by the Classic Yacht Association. The event brings together classic and historic yachts each June to Pier 66 / Bell Street Pier on the central waterfront in downtown Seattle. This year's festivities take place June 16-18. The showcase vessel, Old Man IV, (pictured left) is the cutter for the commander of the US Navy Region Northwest. It was designed by Ed Monk, Sr., and delivered to the Navy in 1957. The only vessel of its kind built by PSNS, Old Man IV is the last in a series of command cutters that remains operational. The vessel's double-planked hull is made of Alaskan yellow cedar with natural teak decks. The cabin is constructed of mahogany and fir. Used for ceremonial purposes, Old Man IV is the traditional lead boat for Seattle's Opening Day festivities for the boating season, as well as supporting the Seafair celebration by mooring with the start/finish line vessels for the hydroplane races. (Photo courtesy Classic Yacht Association.)

For more Puget Sound area maritime heritage activities, visit MHN's Calendar page.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Smithsonian Online Exhibit on Wilkes Exploration

The Smithsonian Institution's Digital Libraries Collection has placed records of the United States Exploring Expedition, also known as the Wilkes Expedition, online. Led by U.S. Navy Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, the 1838-1842 expedition explored and mapped Puget Sound and the mouth of the Columbia River, paving the way for US settlement of the area. Wilkes also explored much of the South Pacific and coast of Antarctica. The online records contain the volumes Wilkes published of the expedition, as well as photos of the artifacts he collected and images of the illustrations.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Idaho Boat Group Chartered; Texas Lighthouse Map a Model

The Payette Lakes Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boats Society has received its charter by the International ACBS Board last Friday in Seattle at a meeting at the Center for Wooden Boats. The fully fledged group will hold its first event on May 21 at the Eagle Knoll Winery in Eagle, Idaho.

The Texas State Historical Society has created a fabulous interactive map of the lighthouses along the Texas Gulf Coast. This could serve as a model for Washington State lighthouse buffs who want to co-market their attractions.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Kalakala As Seen From Space; Wawona Article to be Published

The folks at the Kalakala Alliance Foundation sent me this photo taken from space of the historic art deco ferry Kalakala. They used the mapping feature announced yesterday to locate and zoom in on the ferry in Tacoma's Hylebos Waterway. Even from above, you can get a sense of the ferry's teardrop shape, and seeing it from space reminds me of another space-like character from the 1930s: Flash Gordon. The vessel in the lower right is a tugboat tied to the dock.

I learned last week that Columbia, the magazine of the Washington State Historical Society, will publish a biographical article I wrote on Capt. Ralph E. "Matt" Peasley in the summer edition. Peasley was captain of the schooner Wawona from 1899 to 1906. During this time, he made an impression on a young clerk named Peter Kyne, who later wrote a series of popular novels with a character based on Peasley. The character's name was "Matt Peasley," and the real Peasley adopted the fictional name as his own nickname. Peasley appeared in the Cappy Ricks series of books, which were published from 1915 into the 1960s.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Broadcast Lists Maritime Heritage Problems, Gets Comments

Seattle public radio station KUOW-FM, an affiliate of National Public Radio, broadcast a lengthy feature story on Friday about the troubles facing maritime heritage in Seattle. The story is framed by two historic vessels, the schooner Wawona, and the steamer Virginia V, and recounts the trouble maritime heritage supporters have with the city's Parks and Recreation department. You can listen to the audio or read the script. Highly recommended listening and reading.

Some folks have commented about the story on a LiveJournal blog. The comments range from thoughtful to ignorant. If you are a LiveJournal user, I'd encourage you to add your two cents. Of course, I'd welcome comments on the story on my blog. Just click the comments link below.

Friday, May 05, 2006

MHN Adds New Attraction Mapping Feature

Maritime Heritage Network has added a new feature to help you find your favorite maritime heritage attractions in the Puget Sound area. The feature maps the location of the attraction, such as a ship or a museum, and includes links to pages that can generate driving directions. To try out the feature, go to Maritime Heritage Network and select an attraction from the Attractions drop-down menu. In the page that appears, click the "Map and directions" link. A new page appears with a map and a "virtual stick pin" showing the street address and location of the attraction. The map is also printable to let you take it with you on your trip. Thanks to Google Maps for letting MHN use their fabulous mapping application!

MHN also features a downloadable and printable attractions map pinpointing the locations of Seattle-area maritime heritage attractions. Visit an attraction today!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

MHN Calendar: Tugboat Races, Opening Day, More...

Here's selected items from the Maritime Heritage Network Calendar for the weekend of May 6-7, 2006.
  • 5/6/2006: Cruise, FGNW Celebrates Opening Day, FiberGlassics Northwest, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Price: Contact FGNW, Lake Washington Ship Canal, Seattle, 360-385-5038,, FGNW boats join the celebration of Opening Day of Boating Season.
  • 5/6/2006: Festival, Penn Cove Water Festival, Penn Cove Water Festival, 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Price: FREE, Coupeville, Washington, Whidbey Island, 360-678-4602,, Annual festival celebrating Native American traditions, including canoe racing.
  • 5/6/2006: Race, US Oil Tugboat Race Championships, Port of Seattle, 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM, Price: FREE, Seattle Central Waterfront, Bell Street Pier / Pier 66, 206-728-3163,, Annual tugboat races during the Seattle Maritime Festival
  • 5/6/2006: Tour, Virginia V Celebrates Opening Day, Steamer Virginia V Foundation, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Price: $100, South Lake Union Ships Wharf, South Lake Union Park, Seattle, 206-624-9119,, A cruise for members of the Steamer Virginia V Foundation aboard the steamer, which will be the flagship in the Parade of Yachts through the Montlake Cut for Opening Day of Yachting Season in Seattle.
  • 5/7/2006: Presentation, Annual Fishermen's Terminal Memorial Service, Port of Seattle, 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM, Price: FREE, Fishermen's Terminal, Seattle, 206-728-6577,, Annual memorial service for Seattle fishermen lost at sea

MHN is always looking for more events for listing in its Calendar page. If you know of a maritime-related event in the Pacific Northwest, please send details to

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Maritime Blogger Needs Help; Canadian Film Stirs Memories

Fellow maritime history blogger Kelly at Maritime Compass is looking for some help guest editing her blog while she's on vacation in Europe. (oooh, I'm so jealous). For more info, see her post on the volunteer job.

A Candian film on maritime history is getting much comment in the blogosphere. The film is Betrayed: The Story of Canadian Merchant Seamen, by documentary filmmaker Elaine Brière. The one-hour film traces the history of Canadian shipping from the international strike of 1949 to the globalization of coastal shipping in Australia by Canada Steamship Lines -- owned by the family of Canadian prime minister Paul Martin. A short clip of the movie is available online.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Historic Tug Owner Dies; Vietnam Boat Group Featured

Franz Schlottmann, the last commercial owner and skipper of the tug Sand Man, died on April 8. He owned the boat from 1964 to 1987. Schlottman was 89 years old. "His guidance and help during the restoration of the boat were invaluable," according to the Sand Man Foundation. He was a lifelong resident of Olympia.

The Vietnam Wooden Boat Foundation was featured in two Vietnamese newspapers, Tuoi Tre Online and Courrier du Vietnam. The text is in Vietnamese and French, but it's cool anyway!

Monday, May 01, 2006

MHN Celebrates Its First Birthday

Happy Birthday to Maritime Heritage Network! MHN celebrated its first birthday today with a wild party full of raucous drinking, dancing girls (and guys), and long, tearful choruses of Auld Lang Syne...oh wait a minute, that was New Years Eve, 1983. Sorry, I was having a flashback. Hmm. I've checked my notes, and in fact, MHN quietly marked its first birthday with doing what it always does, providing a clearinghouse of news, information, and a list of attractions, organizations, and events in the Puget Sound area that celebrate our rich maritime heritage. Thanks to MHN sponsors 4Culture and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and to the dozens of heritage groups and supporters who offered help throughout the year. There's more great things coming!