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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Friday, September 29, 2006

MH Filmmaker Working on IWW Documentary

I received a nice note from documentary filmmaker Maria Brooks, who produced "Shipping Out: The Story of America's Seafaring Women," which you might have seen on PBS stations in the last few months. The film focuses on contemporary women in maritime industry, including a ferry deck hand, a pilot, and a tugboat captain. For some historical context, Maria interviewed Port Townsend writer Barbara Sjoholm, who recently published a book on sea-going women titled "Pirate Queen: In Search of Grace O'Malley and Other Legendary Women of the Sea."

Maria, who's based in the Bay Area, says she's working on a new film on the Industrial Workers of the World, or IWW, also known as the Wobblies. These were trade unionists in the early part of the 20th century with a vision of "One Big Union." Maria's film will look at the Centralia Massacre and the treatment of political dissidents in Washington State during and after World War I. It's a fascinating story that should be told more often, and I'm looking forward to the film.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Council Panel Backs MOHAI Move to SLUP; More on Wawona Money

The Seattle City Council's parks committee has approved a resolution supporting a move by the Museum of History & Industry to South Lake Union Park. The decision was made at a regular committee meeting yesterday, as reported this morning by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The language in the proposed resolution, which now goes to the full city council, contains strong language in support of a maritime heritage theme at the park.

The story also includes comments about the $400,000 allocation in the city's 2007-2008 proposed budget for moving the schooner Wawona from SLUP to drydock. The allocation was first reported in my blog on Tuesday. (Thanks to a long-time volunteer who helped me find the section in the parks capital budget called "Wawona Disposition.")

Any thoughts about the MOHAI move or the Wawona money? Please register them via the comments link below.

MHN Calendar: Mason Lake Cruise, Norm Blanchard; Mistral Profile

Here's selected special events from the Maritime Heritage Network Calendar for Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, 2006.
  • 9/30/2006: Cruise, Mason Lake Cruise, FiberGlassics Northwest, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Price: Contact FGNW, Mason Lake, Washington, Sunny Slope Beach Club, 360-538-1750,, FGNW boats meet on Mason Lake near Belfair, Washington.
  • CANCELLED: 9/30/2006: Cruise, Oktoberfest Beer & Bratwurst Cruise, Steamer Virginia V Foundation, 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM, Price: $50 members; $55 non-members, Virginia V, South Lake Union Park, 206-624-9119,, Cruise sponsored by Red Hook Brewery, including oompah band and fall colors
  • Sept. 30 - Oct. 1, 2006: Race, Norm Blanchard WOOD Regatta, Center for Wooden Boats, Price: FREE, Center for Wooden Boats, 1010 Valley St., Seattle, 206-382-2628,, Annual regatta honoring one of the Northwest's finest boat designers
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

The Seattle Times published an extensive article on the restoration of the wooden sailboat Mistral at the Center for Wooden Boats, chronicled in the blog From the Dock, which the MHN Blog links to. See our "Feeds" list in the right hand column of this page.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mayor Proposes $400,000 to Move Wawona

Mayor Greg Nickels has proposed spending $400,000 in 2007 to dry dock the schooner Wawona as part of a plan to move her from South Lake Union Park. The mayor's proposal, contained in his proposed 2007-2008 Parks Department capital budget, provides for the removal of the 1897 city landmark to dry dock, where the vessel could be stablized for later display. However, demolishing at least some of the vessel is still an option. "The project may include removing and preserving key features, and demolishing the remainder," the proposal says. "Key features that may be preserved include the aft section, the masts, and other specific pieces showing the construction and workmanship involved in the vessel's construction."

The Museum of History & Industry, which wants to move to South Lake Union Park, and Northwest Seaport, which owns Wawona, has been negotiating with the city on a plan to put Wawona on land for display. The city had threatened to demolish the ship if she weren't moved from SLUP by Sept. 30. The budget proposal suggests that the city has backed off from its threat, and is willing to work with MOHAI and NWS on a display plan that could be a centerpiece of the park. It's unclear exactly how the city came up with the amount, although some estimates have placed the cost of barging Wawona to another location at $400,000 to $500,000.

All Wawona supporters should contact the city council and ask them to support the budget proposal and even increase it, on condition that the ship be preserved whole, not in pieces.

What do you think? Is this good news? Or is there something more going on? Please comment via the link below.

Family Fun Days a Piratical Pleasure

Dozens of families enjoyed activities, music, and food at last weekend's Second Annual Seafaring Family Fun Days, which was sponsored by Seafaring Heritage in Partnership Seattle (SHIPS). This year's theme was pirates, and some of the younger scalawags took on their elders, as you can see by the accompanying photo. The mock battle took place at South Lake Union Park in Seattle. Do you have any stories to share or feedback? Post a comment via the link below.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sanger & Didele: Live at the Tillesquat Bowl

This week's featured CD on MHN/Music is Live at the Tillesquat Bowl, a roaring comedy album of twisted sea songs and other nonsense by the comedy duo Sanger & Didele, hailing from the raging main of the inland Northwest. Here's a sample of their song "We're Sinking." Buy their CD at CD Baby. A portion of the proceeds supports Maritime Heritage Network.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Dianne Dugaw Added to MHN/Music

I've added sea music artist and professor Dianne Dugaw to MHN/Music. Dianne performs at colleges, festivals, and conferences throughout the US and Canada. She is a professor of literature and folklore at the University of Oregon. Her album "Dangerous Examples" is based on her research on women at sea and includes the traditional tunes "The Female Sailor Bold," "The Female Warrior," and "Polly and Jack." Here's a sample of "Doralee-My-Laddie." You can buy the CD from CD Baby. Your purchase also supports Maritime Heritage Network.

Friday, September 22, 2006

MHN Welcomes Coastal Heritage Alliance, Jill Johnson

I'd like to welcome two new members to Maritime Heritage Network. First, the Coastal Heritage Alliance is a not-for-profit educational organization dedicated to the preservation and advancement of commercial fishing family cultural heritage as it still exists in the persons, vessels, skills and stories of a rapidly vanishing industry once prevalent among and vital to the socio-economic life of communities along the shores of North America. The organization is Washington-based, but also operates in Maryland, and it is playing a strong, visible role in the vision for reshaping and enhancing maritime heritage activities in the Puget Sound region.

I'd also like to welcome Jill Johnson, a Washington State storyteller who specializes in Puget Sound maritime history, particularly the ferry service. She's best known for her "Little, But Oh My!" presentations about Berte Olson, the first female ferry captain on Puget Sound.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

MHN Calendar: Coventry, Seafaring Family Fun Days; NOAA Ship Naming Contest

Here's selected special events from the Maritime Heritage Network Calendar for Sept. 23-24, 2006.
  • 9/23/2006: Concert, Conventry / Steve Lalor, 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, 1010 Valley St., Seattle, 206-447-9800,, Celtic music group Coventry and acoustic folk performer Steve Lalor in concert
  • Sept. 23-24, 2006: Festival, Seafaring Family Fun Days, Northwest Seaport Maritime Heritage Ctr, Price: FREE, South Lake Union Park, Seattle, 206-448-0707,, Music, crafts, and other maritime history activities for families, sponsored by SHIPS (Seafaring Heritage in Partnership Seattle)
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

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration is sponsoring a naming contest for its newest vessel based on the West Coast. NOAA is a strong presence in Seattle, with its base at Lake Union. The contest is geared toward K-12 students. More information on the contest is available here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Volunteers Needed for Several MH Projects

Northwest Seaport is looking for volunteers on several important maritime history projects:
  • Arthur Foss: The month of September is very busy on the historic tugboat Arthur Foss. For example, the tug needs docents for Seafaring Family Fun Days, Sept. 23-24. Please contact Shannon Fitzgerald, 206-595-1807.
  • Twilight: The salmon troller Twilight needs about five volunteers that can help prepare the vessel for a joint program with the Center for Wooden Boats. The volunteers will activate the boat, move her to another dock, and put her to use in an educational program about local fishing history and culture. Contact Shannon Fitzgerald, 206-595-1807.
  • Swiftsure: The historic Lightship #83, a National Historic Landmark, is being readied for major restoration work funded with a federal grant. To help, call Shannon Fitzgerald, 206-595-1807.
Northwest Seaport also sponsors frequent work parties on Saturdays and/or Sundays at South Lake Union Park in Seattle. This is a great opportunity to learn about Pacific Northwest maritime history and volunteer in your community. For more information, call Wayne Palsson at 206-412-4736.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hydroplane Racing Chronicled; Tacoma Maritime Fest

Long before professional baseball, basketball, and football arrived in Seattle, sports fans embraced professional boat racing. Hydroplane racing burst onto the Emerald City scene in 1950, and throughout the decade, thousands of fans flocked to Lake Washington to watch classic races between Seattle’s Slo-mo-shun boats and a fleet of East Coast challengers. Those days are chronicled in "Hydroplane Racing in Seattle," authored by David Williams and published by the Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum. The book is available for purchase at the museum gift shop or online.

The Commencement Bay Maritime Fest last weekend in Tacoma was described in an article by the Tacoma News Tribune.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

William Pint & Felicia Dale: Seven Seas

This week's featured CD on MHN/Music is Seven Seas, by William Pint & Felicia Dale. Enjoy rollicking, high-energy music of the sea, with guitars, hurdy-gurdy, and strong vocals. Here's a sample of their opening track, "High Barbaree." To support this Seattle-based duo with a purchase, click here. The purchase also supports Maritime Heritage Network. For more information on MHN/Music, see today's announcement below.

MHN/Music Launched to Support Maritime Musicians

I'd like to announce an exciting addition to the Maritime Heritage Network website. Called “MHN/Music,” it will promote the incredible musical talents in the Pacific Northwest who keep alive maritime music traditions. You’ll find links to Northwest musicians who have made sea shanties, sea ballads, and other maritime music forms a central part of their work. To use the service, visit and click the Music links. Artists and groups include Pint & Dale, Shanghaied on the Willamette, Hank Cramer, and much more.

Most importantly, you’ll find an opportunity to support your favorite maritime music artist by purchasing their albums online. MHN has developed relationships with CD Baby, a leading website for independent musicians, and to offer maritime music albums for sale via MHN. Simply click on the MHN album link to make your purchase. Buying maritime music CDs supports maritime musicians and the preservation of shanties and sea songs unique among the world’s folk traditions.

Additionally, your purchase of an album via the MHN link supports the website’s operations. A small portion of your purchase is paid directly to MHN, and the money will go toward website hosting fees and site maintenance.

Please let your friends and contacts know about MHN/Music. If you know of a maritime music artist that is not listed, please let me know, including contact information.

Any and all feedback is welcome.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

MHN Calendar: Thea Foss, Tacoma Maritime Fest, Much More...

Here's selected special events from the Maritime Heritage Network Calendar for Sept. 16-17, 2006.
  • 9/16/2006: Film, Finding Thea, Wooden Boat Foundation, 6:10 PM to 8:00 PM, Price: Contact WBF, Rose Theatre, Port Townsend, 360-385-3628,, Documentary on Thea Foss, the founder of the Foss tugs dynasty (Read a review in the Bainbridge Island newspaper.)
  • 9/17/2006: Concert, Navy Band Northwest, Naval Undersea Museum, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM, Price: FREE, Naval Undersea Museum, Keyport, Wash., 360-396-4148,, Brass quintet performs
  • 9/17/2006: Festival, Third Annual Dinghy Fest, Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building, 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM, Price: FREE, Port Hadlock, Wash., 42 N. Water St., 360-385-4948,, Celebrate NWSWB's 25th anniversary with family activities, school tours, and demonstrations; co-sponsored with Ajax Café
  • Sept. 16-17, 2006: Festival, Commencement Bay Maritime Fest, Youth Marine Foundation, Price: Many events FREE, Foss Waterway, Tacoma, 253-318-2210,, Annual festival celebrating maritime heritage and activities in Tacoma
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

Friday, September 15, 2006

New Maritime Book List Formed

A new Yahoo Groups discussion list has formed on maritime books. Here's the description: "Reviews and discussions of maritime books--fiction and non-fiction, old and new, and about maritime aspects of more general books. 'Maritime' is understood in its broadest sense--the sea, ships, boats, rivers--if the book has something to do with something that floats, here's the place to talk about it." Sign up at

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Sand Point Berth for Wawona Off the Table?

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that the city of Seattle has received only one proposal for the use of Building 27 at the Sand Point Historic District, and the proposal is not from Northwest Seaport, the owner of the schooner Wawona. The building is a large hanger at the old Sand Point Naval Air Station, and it's been mentioned over the past few years as a potential location for restoration work on the historic vessel. The P-I reports that the city has received a proposal from a Redmond company called Arena Sports for use of the building. In the story, the P-I quotes NWS president Joe Shickich, who spoke only of plans with the Museum of History & Industry to create a land display for the schooner at South Lake Union Park.

The lack of a proposal suggests that MOHAI and NWS aren't considering Building 27 as a temporary restoration facility as they make preparations for the land display. Most people believe the preferred option is the Metro Dock at North Lake Union (though many Wawona supporters want the restoration to take place a SLUP, which has been vetoed by the city parks department). The county is in negotiations with several entities to turn the dock into an historic ship restoration facility, and it could become the temporary berth for Wawona.

What do you think? Should Sand Point be in the mix? Or should NWS focus on the Metro Dock?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Story Hour Series Aboard the Arthur Foss

The Center for Wooden Boats is sponsoring a twice-monthly series of free, family story readings aboard the 1889 tugboat Arthur Foss, a National Historic Landmark. The readings are scheduled for the second and fourth Thursdays of the month aboard the vessel, which is moored at the Historic Ships Wharf at South Lake Union Park. The first reading is September 14th at 11:00 a.m. For more information, contact CWB at 206-382-2628.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

W.T. Preston to Open Annual Home/Boat Tour

The snagboat W.T. Preston will lead off the 24th annual Anacortes Home and Boat Tour, which features six other homes and boats. The event is a fundraiser for a local children's hospital. Tickets are $15. For more information, visit the W.T. Preston Heritage Center at 713 R Ave. in Anacortes or call 360-293-1915.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

PT Wooden Boat Festival Blogged

Two people attending this weekend's Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival posted photos and notes of their experiences on their blogs. Bike Nerd posted nine photos, and the Dash Point Pirate posted photos, focusing primarily on small crafts, especially kayaks. The Festival runs through today.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Historic Ship Engineer Class Scheduled

Northwest Seaport has scheduled a class for history buffs and diesel gearheads interested in learning about the engine aboard the historic tug Arthur Foss. The engine is a vintage 1932 Washington Ironworks, direct-reversing, 700-horsepower diesel. You'll learn how to start and maintain the engine on this 1889 National Historic Landmark vessel as well as answer the skipper's call. During the class, you'll also tour the engine rooms of the fireboat Duwamish and the lightship Swiftsure.

The class is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16 at the Historic Ships Wharf at South Lake Union Park. Cost is $60 for Northwest Seaport members, $80 for non-members. For more information, call Adrian Lipp at 206-898-7012. To register, call the Center for Wooden Boats at 206-382-2628. Ask about the five-week diesel engine theory and restoration class scheduled for October and November!

Friday, September 08, 2006

MHN Calendar: Fisherman's, Port Townsend Festivals

Here's selected special events from the Maritime Heritage Network Calendar for Sept. 8-10, 2006.
  • 9/9/2006: Festival, Fisherman's Fall Festival, Port of Seattle, 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Price: FREE, Fisherman's Terminal, 1900 W. Nickerson, Seattle, 206-284-8800,, Annual festival celebrating the region's fishing industry
  • Sept. 8-10, 2006: Festival, 30th Annual Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, Wooden Boat Foundation, Price: $12/day or $24/3-day, half price for seniors and students. Kids under 12, FREE, Port Townsend, Washington, Port Townsend, 360-344-3436,, A premier maritime festival featuring 200 wooden vessels, regional and international expert owners, builders, educators and exhibitors in a spectacular location.
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

Thursday, September 07, 2006

PBS Show Highlights NW/Alaska Maritime History

The PBS series History Detectives highlighted a bit of Pacific Northwest and Alaska maritime history when it aired a program about the possible discovery of the wreck of the SS Portland, the ship that carried the famous "Ton of Gold" to Seattle's waterfront, sparking the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897. As described in "The Lost Gold Ship," the rush put Seattle on the map, and began a long romantic episode in the history of the Northwest and Alaska. You can learn all about the rush at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Seattle, one of the few, if not the only national park without a single tree or trail, except for a 100-year trail of memories.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sand Man, Tugs Featured in News Stories

The Olympian newspaper in Olympia, Wash. featured two news stories on maritime history, the first focusing on the tug Sand Man, owned by the Sand Man Foundation, and the second on a tour of large tugboats. The stories were part of the community's celebration of Olympia Harbor Days. Sand Man was one of approximately 30 boats from all over Puget Sound that participated in this year's Harbor Days. The historic tug placed second in it's class among four other tugs. "Not bad for a 96 year old boat!" says Don Taylor, secretary of the Sand Man Foundation.

Volunteers Needed for Seafaring Family Fun Days

Volunteers are needed September 22, 23 & 24 to help with Seafaring Family Fun Days, a festival with fun and educational events for all ages at South Lake Union Park in Seattle. This event is organized by Seafaring Heritage In Partnership Seattle (SHIPS), a group of 12 maritime heritage organizations that operate out of the park. The event, now in its second year, showcases high-quality public activities and educational maritime heritage resources. This year's event will feature a traditional salmon bake sponsored by the United Indians of All Tribes.

Volunteers are needed for setup/takedown, greeting visitors on the historic tugboat Arthur Foss, and to staff activity booths or the music stage. Specific activities include setup/takedown of booths and chairs for the stage, toy boat building, knot tying, lanyard making, sewing canvas by machine, the gift shop, "Become a Pirate," and Arthur Foss tours. Pirate costumes are encouraged. Volunteers can contribute time for setup on the evening of Friday, Sept. 22nd, or on the festival days of the Saturday, the 23rd and Sunday, the 24th. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information visit the festival web site, email, or phone 206-448-0707.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

MHN Welcomes Seafaring Heritage in Partnership Seattle (SHIPS)

Maritime Heritage Network welcomed a new listing on its Organizations pages this week. Seafaring Heritage in Partnership Seattle (SHIPS) is a working group of 12 maritime heritage organizations that operate out of South Lake Union Park in Seattle. Each September, SHIPS sponsors Seafaring Family Fun Days, a weekend of music, food and hands-on activities for everyone. This year's event takes place September 23 and 24 at South Lake Union Park.