V12 N1 Winter 1984-85 Launching the Ilwaco Beach Lifeboat during a Drill, circa 1900

Page 1



VOL. 12


NO. 1

LAUNCHING THE ILWACO BEACH LIFEBOAT DURING A DRILL, CIRCA 1900 A growing toll of shipwrecks on the Columbia River bar and along Washington's North Beach (Long Beach) Peninsula prompted the U .S. Lifesaving Service (formed in 1871) to establish lifesaving stations at Fort Canby on Cape Disappointment and at North Cove, Washington in 1877. The Northwest's growing economy and population had brought with it increased ship traffic and, consequently, more frequent disasters along the dangerous Northwest coast. Some vessels were lost while trying to cross the Columbia's bar, but many inbound ships mistook the entrance to Willapa Bay for the river's

mouth, while others suddenly discovered that they had come too close to the coast in bad weather and were then driven on a lee shore by wind and currents (a hazard to which sailing vessels were especially vulnerable). At first, the only paid employee at each station was a boathouse keeper. Rescues depended on rounding up a volunteer crew to man the oars until 1882, when the Fort Canby Station hired its first crew of full-time surfmen. Thereafter, lookouts could be maintained at vantage points along the coasts, and (continued on page 6}




FROM THE QUARTERDECK One of the most enjoyable aspects of employment at a Museum- at least it is true here-is having the opportunity to work closely with a fascinating and varied artifact collection. After fourteen years at this institution, I have come to know its collections pretty well. But I am still learning about artifacts that I may have catalogued years ago, handled often, seen hundreds of times. Not infrequently, some new scrap of information about an object's provenance or its use or association surfaces, causing it to be seen in a different light and, occasionally, enhancing substantially its significance to the Museum. Such a thing as a sextant, for example, might of itself be thoroughly unremarkable; however, if it is learned that the instrument was used by a prominent person or under remarkable circumstances, then it gains significance by association. Similarly, a photograph of an unidentified barque making sail off a dimly visible shore might convey much information and have a great deal of aesthetic appeal; but if research-or perhaps even a casual conversation with a Museum visitoruncovers the name of the vessel pictured and the date and locale of the photograph, then its value as an historical document is distinctly enhanced. Moreover, there might be other objects in the collection that are associated with the vessel, and their suitability as exhibit material could benefit from the availability of the photo. As much as anything else, it's that sense of discovery-of fitting together the pieces of a puzzle-that makes the Museum exciting. Not just for us who work here, but for everyone who comes through the doors. Michael Naab, Director

• THE SEARCH FOR THE TONQVIN Several unsuccessful searches have been made in recent decades for the wreck of the Tonquin, a fur trading ship owned by John Jacob Astor, which was destroyed during an Indian attack in 1811. Experts who participated in various separate searches will gather to exchange their ideas and information in a symposium tentatively scheduled to be hosted by the Museum on Saturday and Sunday, March 9-10. The Tonquin left New York City in 1810, bound around Cape Horn to establish a trading post near the mouth of the Columbia River for Astor's Pacific Fur Company. That post

was named Astoria and was the first U.S. settlement west of the Rocky Mountains. After her passengers and supplies were landed and construction was well under way, the Tonquin sailed from the Columbia on June 5, 1811. Captain Thorn intended to trade with the Indians along the coast to the north for a few months before returning to Astoria. But, sometime before August 5th, the Tonquin's crew was surprised and massacred by Indians and the ship sunk when her powder magazine blew up, taking many Indians with her. All contemporary accounts of the disaster are derived from statements by the sole survivor, an Indian interpreter and pilot called Lamazee, but the many discrepancies in detail indicate that he was not a reliable source. Exactly what happened and why will, therefore, never be known. Several of the old accounts mention a place called Newitty (also spelled Newetta or Newettee), on the north end of Vancouver Island, as the site of the attack, but later _researchers have theorized that the place may actually have been Clayaquot Sound, Nootka Sound, or the Cape Cook area-all on Vancouver Island. It is hoped that the symposium may help to narrow the area of search. Amos Wood is organizing the event, with assistance from James Seeley White, author of Diving for Northwest Relics and The Spells of Lamazee, a novel about the Tonquin's tragic fate . Up to a dozen participants from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and British Columbia may take part in the discussions and slide presentations. The general public is most welcome to attend the symposium. Watch the local media or call the Museum for details of the schedule, which is not finalized as this goes to press.

MARITIME TOUR OF NORTHERN EUROPE Our readers have an opportunity to explore the great maritime museums and historic ships of Northern Europe, while helping the Columbia River Maritime Museum at the same time. The travel agency that is organizing the nineteen-day tour will donate $150 to the Museum for each person (not necessarily one of our members) who signs up for the tour through the Museum. Karl Kortum, Chief Curator of the National Maritime Museum at San Francisco, and his wife, Jean, a noted urban preservationist, will be the tour leaders. Visits to Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Moscow, Leningrad (where the tour will stay at the Astoria Hotel), London, and their environs will be included on the itinerary. Not only the major maritime museums and historic ships will be featured, but also visits to museums and cultural sites of many other types and, of course, "free" periods for shopping, etc. The dates of the tour will be May 13-May 31, 1985. Charges include air and ground transportation, all normal gratuities, two meals a day at most locations, and first-class hotel accommodations on a double-occupancy basis (single rooms can be had for $400 extra). The cost will be $2,185 for land arrangements and approximately $1,300 for air fare from San Francisco or $951 from New York. A deposit is required for reservations and full payment is due six weeks before departure. For full details of the itinerary, contact the Museum, 503/325-2323.

NEW MEMBERSHIPS, CONTINUED Mr. & Mrs. David Helmersen Mr. & Mrs. Robert Hovden Ms. Alice L. Johnson Mr. Vern Leach Mr. & Mrs. Lay Martin, II Mr. John R. Maslen, Portland Mr. Carl Monsen, Jr. Mr. & Mrs. Wm . Monsen, Honolulu Mr. & Mrs. Gary Muehlberg Mr. & Mrs. Mark Ottem

Miss Pauli Palumbo Mr. Jimmy Parker Mr. & Mrs. Peter Popham Mr. & Mrs. Ronn Pricer Ms. Helen Raasina Mr. & Mrs. Larry Ray Mr. & Mrs. Polk Riley, III Mr. & Mrs. Kirk Robertson, Vancouver, WA Mr. Richard Robertson, Gearhart

Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Robertson, San Diego, CA Mr. & Mrs. Frank Satterwhite Mrs. Jordan Schnitzer, Portland Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth Settlemier Mr. & Mrs. Bob Steiner Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Stromsness Mr. George Taft Mr. & Mrs. Richard Thoreson Mr. & Mrs . Randy Wink



IRENE BRIX ALTSTADT Mr. & Mrs. Henry Brewersdorff Mr. Harold H. Brix Mrs. Walter Evans Mr. & Mrs. J.B. Krausse Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Lowe Mrs. Frances M. Rogers Mr. & Mrs. Arthur L. Smith

JOHN 'JACK' C. HARLEY Columbia Marine Lines

DOROTHY BASTEDO Mr. & Mrs. Ronald C. Honeyman

ITOL DART HEATH Mr. & Mrs. Theodore Graham

ADOLPH STANLEY BERGSTROM Mr. & Mrs. George Fulton Mr. & Mrs. George Hediger Mr. & Mrs. Harold P . Jacob Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Knutsen Mr. & Mrs. A.J. L' Amie Mrs. Frances McKeon Mrs. J.E. Niemi Mr. & Mrs. Steve Roman Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Thiel Mr. & Mrs. Frank Thorsness Mr. & Mrs. Fleming Wilson

ELLIE MARGARITA HOVDEN Mr. & Mrs. Frank Alto Mr. & Mrs. Harley Basel Mrs. Nora S. Bue Mr. & Mrs. Trygve Duoos Mrs. Vera Gault Mr. & Mrs. Bill Gulett Mr. & Mrs. Charles Haglund Mr. & Mrs. Gunnar Helligso Mr. & Mrs. Merv Helmersen Mr. & Mrs. Roland Hendrickson Mr. & Mrs. John Hill Mr. & Mrs. Gwynn Holt Mr. & Mrs. Robert Hovden Mr. & Mrs. Harold Johnson Mr. & Mrs. John Kemmerer Ms. Irene Koski Mr. & Mrs. Harold Lampi Mr. & Mrs. William Lindgren Mr. & Mrs. Joe Munson Mrs. Carol Nygaard Mr. & Mrs. Buz Ottem Mr. & Mrs. Ernest Palmrose Mr. & Mrs. Vic Palmrose Mr. & Mrs. Robert Paschall Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Peschl Carmel L. Ranta Ms. Ethelyn Reneke Mr. & Mrs. Ervin Rinnell Mrs. Emma Rock Mr. & Mrs. Ed Rogers Mrs. Marie Sarampaa Ms. Anne Silver Mr. & Mrs. Edgar Tucker Mr. Bill Turns Ms. Astrid Wooley

ALZA BOLING Mr. & Mrs. George Hediger FLORA BOYLE Mr. & Mrs. Mike Ramsdell WINNIE BOZANICH Mrs. Clara E. Miles ROBERTJ. BURKHOLDER Mrs. Ruth Burkholder CAPTAIN PETER F. BUTLER Mrs. Dorothy G. Butler CLARENCE CONKLING Mr. & Mrs. Max Bigby, Jr. JOHN C. DANT Mr. & Mrs. Walter Gadsby, Jr. CAPTAIN JOHN H. 'JACK' DART Mr. & Mrs. Theodore Graham GEORGE GREBE Mr. & Mrs. Ray Peterson

R. HAROLD HARRISON Mr. & Mrs. Ronald C. Honeyman TORSTI HAYRYNEN Mr. & Mrs. Henry Niemi

DONOVAN 'BILL' HOY Mrs. Kate Ziak Mr. Robert Ziak CHARLES JARVIE Mr. & Mrs. Dale Estoos HALLEY JOHNSON Mr. & Mrs. Dale Estoos Mr. & Mrs. Dennis Thiel LOUISE GREEN KAHL Mr. & Mrs. Carl Tolonen CAPT. HAROLD KILDALL Capt. & Mrs. A.P. Hammon MR. & MRS. ALFRED F. KERISSIG Mrs. Catherine Boyce LEONARD KROCZYNSKI Ms. Lou Ann Aldrich Mr. & Mrs. Lloyd G. Bowler Mr. & Mrs. John Ford Mr. Larry Gilmore Mr. & Mrs. Robert Scheve Mr. & Mrs. Michael Zametkin EDWARD LEE Mr. & Mrs. John Lum WILEY E. LUMSDEN Mrs. Clara E. Miles CAPT. JOHN A. MacKENZIE Mr. & Mrs. John V. Smoot CARL B. MATTSON Mr. & Mrs. Henry Wong VERN MINKLER Mr. & Mrs. Sven Lund ANNA NESS Mr. & Mrs. Howard Anderson Mr. & Mrs. Wenzel Luthe CARL NOESKE Mr. & Mrs. John Bailey FLORENCE E. OJA Mr. & Mrs. A.J. L'Amie Mr. & Mrs. Carl Tolonen

MEMORIAL CONTRIBUTIONS, CONTINUED WALTER PALMROSE Mr. & Mrs. Dale Estoos DR. CLYDE PARLOVA Mr. & Mrs. Robert Catlin BRYAN ROSS Astoria Marine Construction Co. MARIA ELIZABETH RYTSALA Mr. Buddy Hoell HILMA SALVON Mrs. Vera Craig Mrs. Nancy Grimberg Mr. & Mrs. John Hill Mrs. Anita Kankkonen Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Koski Mr. & Mrs. William Malmberg Mr. & Mrs. Henry Niemi Mrs. Inez Risto Mr. & Mrs. Carl Tolonen Mr. & Mrs. Carl J. Tolonen Mr. & Mrs. Paul Tolonen Mr. & Mrs. Wayne Tolonen Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth Weaver Ms. Ann White FERRIS L. SAUNDERS Mrs. Pauline Barquist Mr. & Mrs. Ed Fearey, Jr. Mr. & Mrs. Stephen W. Gray Ms. Joanne N. Leech Mr. & Mrs. Ole Luoma INA ELIZABETH SILVERBERG Ms. Edna Marlantes Mrs. Marie Sarampaa Mr. & Mrs. James Smith Mr. & Mrs. Paul Tolonen JEAN SMITH Mr. & Mrs. Robert Catlin PHILLIP SPEXARTH Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Lowe BARBARA SPROUSE Mr. & Mrs. Robert Catlin GEORGE TAKKO Mrs. Shirley L. Cole WINFRED TAYLOR Mr. Henry Koski MARIA SOPHIA THOMPSON Mr. & Mrs. Howard Anderson Ms. Anne Askinen Mr. & Mrs. Ed Aspmo Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Bakkensen Mrs. Ellen Bechtolt Mr. & Mrs. Warren Bechtolt Mr. & Mrs. Max Bigby, Sr. Mrs. Helen Blomquist Mr. & Mrs. Ernest Brown Capt. Joseph Bruneau Mrs. Margaret Bruneau

Mr. & Mrs. Don Brunner Mrs. Nora S. Bue Mr. & Mrs. Ted Bugas Vienno Canessa Mrs . Shirley L. Cole Mr. & Mrs. Robert Cordiner Mr. & Mrs. George Crandall Mr. & Mrs. Alf E. Dahl Mr. & Mrs. Kirby Dean Capt. & Mrs. Dale Dickinson Mr. & Mrs. Don Doran Mr. & Mrs. Trygve Duoos Ms. Ethelyn Erbe Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Filliger Mr. & Mrs. George Fulton Mr. Leonard Haga Mr. & Mrs. William Hartley Mr. & Mrs. George Hediger Mr. & Mrs. Carl Hellberg Mr. & Mrs. Gene Hill Mr. & Mrs. John Hill Mr. & Mrs. Bob Jackson Mr. & Mrs. Richard Jackson Mrs. Elsie Jarvinen Ms. Gertrude Johnson Mr. & Mrs. Ragnor Johnson Oiva & Sisko Kallio Mr. & Mrs. Roy Kinnunen Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Knutsen Mr. & Mrs. Eldon Korpela Mr. & Mrs. William Larson Mr. & Mrs. Sven Lund Mr. & Mrs. Ed Lundholm Mr. & Mrs. Bill Lynch Ms. Rosemary Malen Mr. & Mrs. Vern Malen Mr. & Mrs. Loran Matthews Mr. & Mrs. Loran Mattson Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Morrow Mr. & Mrs. Ruben Mund Mr. & Mrs. Angus Murray Mr. & Mrs. Henry Niemi Mrs. Lillian Niemi Mr. & Mrs. Armas Niskanen Mr. & Mrs. George Olsen Mr. & Mrs. Gordon Olson Mr. & Mrs. Eldred Olson Mr. & Mrs. Ken Olson Mr. & Mrs. Larry Olson Mr. & Mrs. A.W. Ostrom Mr. & Mrs. John Palo Mr. & Mrs. Carl Paronen Mr. & Mrs. Osmo Perkiomaki Mr. & Mrs. Butch Petersen Mr. & Mrs. Larry Peterson Mrs. Sylvia E. Roberts Mr. & Mrs. Edward Rosenfeld Mr. & Mrs. William Schwegler Mr. & Mrs. Larry Simonsen Mr. & Mrs. Carl Snow Mr. & Mrs. Harold Snow Ms. Esther Spofford Mr. & Mrs. James S. Stacy Mr. & Mrs. Lawson Stevenson Mr. & Mrs. Dick Thompson Mrs. Katherine Thorne Mr. & Mrs. Frank Thorsness Miss Ethel Wicks Mr. & Mrs. Vincent Zankich

EDWIN W . WIDEN Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Morrow FRED N. WOLLESON Mr. & Mrs. George Abrahamsen Mr. & Mrs. Jack Acton Mr. & Mrs . Lowell Altheide Mrs. Hilda Andersen Astoria Marine Construction Co. Mr. & Mrs. Warren Bechtolt Mrs. Inga H. Berge Mr. & Mrs. William Boatman Mrs. Nora S. Bue Gerry Chopping Mr. & Mrs. Keith Coburn Mrs. Grace Eliassen Englund Marine Supply Mrs. Wilma Englund Mr. & Mrs. John Gizdavich Mr. & Mrs. James Goodman Mr. & Mrs. John Griffith Mr. & Mrs. Arne Grotting Mr. & Mrs. Ed Grotting Mr. Leonard Haga Mr. & Mrs. Vern Hall Dr. & Mrs. Edward Harvey Mr. & Mrs. James Henderson Mr. & Mrs. Harold Hendriksen Mr. & Mrs. John Hill . Holmes, Defranco, & Schultz Mr. & Mrs. Be:rnard HowP Mr. & Mrs. Gunnar Johanson Mr. & Mrs . A.W. Johnson Mrs. Gertrude Johnson Mr. & Mrs. K.J. Karna Mr. & Mrs. A.J. L' Amie Mr. & Mrs. Samuel H. Lee Mrs. Patricia Longnecker Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Lowe Mr. & Mrs. Ed Lundholm Mr. & Mrs. Wenzel Luthe Mr. & Mrs. Albert Luukinen Ms. Mary Lyon Mr. & Mrs. Loran Mattson Mrs. Clara Miles Mrs. Rae Moulton Mr. & Mrs. W.F. McGregor Mr. & Mrs. Michael Naab Mr. & Mrs. Gil Nock Mrs. Carol Nygaard Mr. Melvin Olson Mr. & Mrs. Edward Opdycke Mr. & Mrs. John Van Osdol Mr. & Mrs. A.W. Ostrom Mr. & Mrs. John Palo Dr. Frank Rafferty Dr. Harvey C. Rones Mr. & Mrs. Sigurd Salomonsen Mr. & Mrs. William A. Schmidt, Jr. Mr. & Mrs. Hugh Seppa Mr. & Mrs. Norman Sonju Dr. Mark S. Stryker & Family Mr. & Mrs. Harry Swanson, Jr. Mr. & Mrs. Bruce Taylor Mr. & Mrs. Carl Tolonen Washington Steelhead Flyfishers Mrs. Georgia A. Wilson Mr. Nick Zorich

PRISONER-OF-WAR MODEL DONATED A valuable miniature model of a 104-gun French ship of the line, dating from the Napoleonic Wars, was recently donated to the Museum by Mr. David C. Meyer. The model, only some five and three-quarters inches long and made of boxwood and bone, depicts the ship at anchor on a painted sea. There are indications that more than one person was involved in making it. The model is not absolutely to scale and cannot be identified as representing any particular ship, but it is remarkably detailed, for its size, and gives an accurate impression of a firstrate ship of the line (the largest type of sailing warship). The model's label and the style of workmanship both indicate that the model was made by French prisoners of war in Britain during the Napoleonic Wars. Britain was at war with France from 1793 to 1815, except for brief intervals of peace in 1802 and 1814. During this period, the British held over 120,000 prisoners, some for up to twelve years, in old warship hulks, barracks, and prisons. Many captured officers gave their parole, or word of honor, not to escape and were allowed to live outside the prisons in civilian housing. Prisoners were not forced to work, but were allowed to engage in handicrafts and to sell their products to civilians who visited the prisons. Many took this opportunity to relieve their boredom and earn 1,ome money with which to buy extra food and little luxuries. Among the items that the prisoners made were model ships, quite a number of which have survived. The material most commonly used in the models was beef bone, which was readily available from the prison rations, but many other materials were also employed. Ivory workers and other skilled artisans, who were conscripted into the French forces and later captured, are thought to have spread this idea and the

necessary skills among their fellow prisoners. Groups of men frequently worked together in making models, each specializing in certain parts. Since most prisoner-of-war models were intended for sale to the British public, many bear the names of British warships. The prisoners obviously did not have the plans of these ships and study has shown that few models correspond in detail with any actual vessel. Naturally, the tendency was for the models to depict French styles in shipbuilding and rigging, with which the model builders were most familiar. Amazing skill, ingenuity, and persistence were demonstrated by the prisoners in producing some very finely detailed models amid crowded prison conditions and equipped with but a few simple hand tools. It may be, however, that some of the best of these models were made outside the prisons by the paroled officers. In any case, the captive Frenchmen had nothing, if not time in abundance.

NEW MEMBERS, INCREASED SUPPORT(*), OCTOBER 1 - DECEMBER 31, 1984 SPONSOR Mr. & Mrs. Edmund Hayes, Portland* PILOT Capt. & Mrs. Mitchell Boyce, Portland Col. Ellis E. Pickering, Menlo Park, CA SUSTAINING Mr. Harvey N. Black, Portland* Mrs. Helen Copeland, Portland Mr. & Mrs. George Daggatt, Seaside* Capt. & Mrs. Dale Dickinson* Jessie's Ilwaco Fish Co., Ilwaco, WA* Mr. & Mrs. Warren Mattson* Mr. John A. Sprouse, Portland* SUPPORTING Mr. & Mrs. Donald Bertucci, Redding, CA* Mr. Archie T. Davis, Portland Mr. & Mrs. Stanley W. Mead, Redmond, WA* Mr. John R. Gatewood, Portland* Dr. Russel Hunter* Mr. & Mrs. Peter R. Kelleher Mr. & Mrs. Richard Leonard, Portland•

Mr. & Mrs. Wm. W. Rosenfeld, Portland* Mr. & Mrs. Rex Salfen * Mr. & Mrs. Harold Weston, Jr., Portland* CONTRIBUTING Alice's Drive In Mr. J. William Bader, Jr., Seaside• Mr. & Mrs. Wayne Blake* Mr. & Mrs. Frank D. Chown, Portland* Mrs. Violet Christensen, Portland Mrs. Mary Cvitanovich Mr. & Mrs. F.C. Delbrueck, Portland* Mr. & Mrs. Charles Fowler, Olympia, WA Mr. & Mrs. Billy Green, Gresham, OR• Mr. & Mrs. Richard Hutchison, Portland* Mr. & Mrs. H.J. Jensen-Norman* Miss Kristine Johnson, Warrenton* Mr. & Mrs. Larry E. Johnson* Mr. & Mrs. Tom Johnson Dr. & Mrs. H.A. Krumbein, Portland Mr. Lowell C. Marsh, Longview , WA* Mr. & Mrs. Dana Olsen, Portland* Mr. John Pratt, Seaside* Mr. & Mrs. Richard Rees, Portland* Mr. & Mrs. Harry Rehm Mr. & Mrs. Doug Ross, Ilwaco, WA* Mr. & Mrs. Forrest Salfen Mr. John C. Stephenson, Bryn Mawr, PA*

Mr. Michael L. Tagg, Tillamook Mr. & Mrs. Walter Wollenbecker* ANNUAL Mr. Scott Adam, N. Hollywood, CA Mr. & Mrs. Alan Ahola Astoria Auto Wrecking Ms. Mary E. Ausnehmer, Seaside Mrs. Oscar Berg, Seaside Mr. & Mrs. Victor Berger, Warrenton Mr. & Mrs. Paul Branham Mr. & Mrs. A.D. Cobbin LCDR George Cooper, Warrenton Mr. & Mrs. Daniel J. Crockett Mr. Clifford Lee Davis Mr. Mark Davis, Hammond Mr. & Mrs. Doug Duey Mr. & Mrs. Marc Eckels, Denver., CO Mr. George Exum/Ms. Carol Carver, Cathlamet, WA Mr. & Mrs. William E. Gardner, Cannon Beach Gary Mogenson Painting Mr. & Mrs. Robert Gauthier Mr. Frank H. Gorretta, Dundee The Guild Mr. & Mrs. Frank Hart, Portland Mr. & Mrs. William Heaton, Warrenton


Sign On!

Chevron Shipping Company Estate of Grace Kern Estate of Mrs. Velma Maki Wenona Dyer Martin Mr. & Mrs. Patrick Maveety Mr. & Mrs. Frank R. Prince



HONEYMAN FAMILY MEMORIAL Mr. & Mrs. Stuart Honeyman Mrs. Barbara Honeyman Roll


$1,000 single payment


$50 per year


$500 per year


$25 per year


$250 per year


$15 per year


$100 per year


$7.50 per year

NAME _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __



ADDRESS _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ CITY _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ STATE _ _ _ __


ZIP _ _ _ __

LIFESAVING STATIONS, CONTINUED beaches could be patrolled at night or whenever the visibility was low, in order to warn vessels of danger and to promptly report strandings. Boats often had to be hauled on their carriages for miles from their stations along the peninsula to a wreck site, so another lifesaving station was established in 1891 at Ilwaco Beach (Klipsan Beach) . Motor lifeboats were not introduced to this area until around 1912. Before that, sails could sometimes be used when conditions were favorable, but usually the boat's success depended on the strength and skill of the surfmen at its oars. Going to the rescue of shipwrecked mariners in the face of almost any weather conditions called not only for great skill, but also iron courage, as evidenced by the declaration of an oldtime surfman, " .. .the regulations book says you have to go out. It doesn't say anything about coming back." The Ilwaco Railroad and Navigation Company assisted the Lifesaving Service on occasion by loading their boats and gear on a flatcar and hauling it to a point nearer a wreck. But this




little, narrow-gauge line, nicknamed the "Clamshell Railroad," also received benefit from the Lifesaving Service. It used to run special excursion trains out to the Ilwaco Beach Station during the tourist season, so that passengers could watch the surfmen perform their weekly drills with lifeboat and beach apparatus. The lifeboat was launched from the open beach, maneuvered, sometimes deliberately capsized to practice righting procedures, and then landed again . Or a T,yle linethrowing howitzer was fired and a breeches buoy was rigged and used, simulating the means for getting survivors off a vessel wrecked in close to shore. The Lifesaving Service was merged with the Revenue Cutter Service in 1915 to form the U.S. Coast Guard, which thereafter operated the lifesaving stations. The one at Ilwaco Beach, along with many other such stations, was closed years ago when use of rescue aircraft and faster motor lifeboats reduced the need to have stations so close together, especially when located on open beaches.

Non-Profit Organization U.S. POSTAGE PA ID Astoria, Oregon Permit No . 209

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.