V12 N3 Summer 1985 The Northern Pacific's Car Ferry 'Tacoma'

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roR1A·o VOL. 12


NO. 3

THE NORTHERN PACIFIC'S CAR FERRY TACOMA A strange-looking brute of a vessel, the Tacoma, appeared on the waters of the Columbia back in 1884. The spankingnew craft was a big, iron, side-wheel car ferry (railroad cars, that is), destined to transport Northern Pacific trains across the great river. She had been fabricated in New York and shipped out in 57,159 separate pieces aboard the sailing ship Tillie E. Starbuck for assembly by Smith Brothers and Watson at Portland. Originally christened the Kalama, her name had soon been changed to Tacoma . Trials were run in July and she entered regular service on October 9th, commanded by Captain George Gore. The Northern Pacific Railroad had built a line from Tacoma to the Columbia at Kalama, Washington in 1873. After transcontinental rail connections to Portland were completed in 1883, additional track was laid to Hunters, Oregon, where

the Tacoma completed the link to Puget Sound (no railroad, by the way, reached Astoria until 1898). The new rail service quickly ended profitable operations for a number of steamers which had previously run between Portland and the Cowlitz Valley. The rail line along the Oregon shore was extended in 1890 to Goble, which then became the Tacoma's southern landing. The Tacoma was of impressive size, in order to accommodate up to 21 cars and a locomotive at once. Her registered dimensions were 334 feet in length, 42 feet in breadth, and 11. 7 feet in depth, producing a gross tonnage of 1,362. Power was supplied by steam engines of 36-inch bore and 108-inch stroke. The Tacoma required a crew of 31 . Floods used to regularly plague the river communities, (continued on page 6}



A display on the oil tanker Torrey Canyon, centering around an excellent model of the ship, was added to the Steam and Motor Vessels Gallery on July 20th. Photographs, maps, graphics, and memorabilia help interpret her construction and career. The Torrey Canyon was launched in 1959 by Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company for the Union Oil Company of California. The original size of the Torrey Canyon and her sister ships, Lake Palourde and Sansinena, was a hefty 66,883 deadweight tons, but tising world oil consumption soon called for even larger tankers; so, in 1964-65, the Torrey Canyon and Lake Palourde were "jumboized" in Japan. A longer and wider forebody was grafted onto the old machinery section at the stern, and the original bridge was relocated on the new section. At 118,285 deadweight tons and 975 feet in length over all, the Torrey Canyon and Lake Palourde became the second-largest ships in the world and the longest cargo vessels afloat. This status did not last long, however, due to the enormous growth in size of tankers and bulk carriers over the past two decades (there is now a tanker of five times their tonnage!). The model was made by professional modellers in Japan at the time of the Torrey Canyon's reconstruction in order to show her new appearance. It was presented to the Museum last year by Mrs. R.F. Mooers in memory of her late husband. The model had previously been in the possession of her brother, Captain Darrell L. Povey, who supervised the jumboization work on behalf of Union Oil and later served as a special consultant for salvage efforts when the ship stranded on Seven Stones Reef at the entrance to the English Channel in 1967, resulting in a widely publicized oil spill (unfortunately, the Torrey Canyon could not be saved) . Maps, photographs, and other documentary materials used in the display were provided directly by Captain Povey, who also spoke on July 20th at an unveiling ceremony for the model, attended by members of the Mooers and Povey families.

Three programs of the Oregon State University Extension Service will be held at the Museum in August and September. Admission is free, except as noted. August 1 (Thursday}, 7:00 p .m . - 9:00 p .m . "Northwest Coast Dugout Canoes," a slide show and tool demonstration August 17 (Saturday}, 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. A special display on game birds and a demonstration of decoy carving September 6-7 (Friday-Saturday} "Ornithology Workshop," a program on Northwest birds (there will be a fee, but preregistration is not required)

Friday, 7:00 p.m . - 9:00 p.m. Slides and orientation session Saturday, 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Field trip

BOATBUILDING CLASS Clatsop Community College has been holding an evening class in wooden boatbuilding, which was developed with assistance by the Museum. Albert Smith, an experienced boatbuilder from Brownsmead, has been the instructor. The College intends to repeat the class during the fall term, so if you have always had an ambition to build your own boat, call Larry Haskell at (503) 325-0910 for full details.

• REPLICA OF INDIAN DUGOUT TO BE BUILT Construction of a replica Indian dugout canoe has begun on the Museum's grounds in order to demonstrate authentic canoe-building techniques for our visitors. Therefore, no power tools are being used. The project is being conducted by Steve Henrikson, Park Technician/Interpreter at Fort Clatsop National Memorial, and the replica is modelled on a canoe in their collection. The original canoe is a small Nootka type and came from Neah Bay, Washington. Canoes of this form are known to have been widely used all along the coast as far south as Tillamook Bay.


Model of the Torrey Canyon

About 200 people partook of a fare of ham, salads, breads, and desserts at the Auxiliary' s annual luncheon during Maritime Week in May. The event netted $500 for the benefit of the Museum . Myrna Muehlberg and Lila Collman co-chaired the luncheon committee. Auxiliary officers installed at the April meeting, to serve during 1985-86, are : Mary Stickney, President; Ebba Brown, Vice President; Carol Moore, Secretary; and Myrna Muehlberg, Treasurer. Regular Auxiliary meetings will resume, after the summer hiatus, in September. They are held on the fourth Wednesday of each month in the Daniel Kern Room at the Museum. New members are always welcome.

NEW MEMBERS, INCREASED SUPPORT(*), APRIL 1 - JUNE 30, 1985 PILOT Dr. & Mrs . Keith D. McMilan, Eugene SUSTAINING Mr. & Mrs. Sigfred Jensen, Warrenton* Mr. Bruce W. Nelson, Cannon Beach* Mr. Perry Newman Mr. & Mrs. L.F. Van Dusen* SUPPORTING Mr. & Mrs. James E. Bryson, Newberg* Mr. James Porter Holtz, Portland* Mr. & Mrs. J.M . McClelland, Jr., Bellevue, WA Mr. Peter G. Quinn, Lake Oswego* Mr. James Sayce, Ms. Noelle Congdon, Ocean Park, WA* Mr. Oliver A. Schulz, Gearhart* Mr. & Mrs. Henry Wagner, Jr.* CONTRIBUTING Mr. & Mrs. James M. Anderson, Portland* Ms. Mary E. Blake, Warrenton

Mr. & Mrs. Jerry Carlson, Salem Mr. Harold M. Fisher, Boring* Mrs. Harry M. Flavel, Mr. Harry S. Flavel, Miss Mary Louise Flavel * Mr. Harry R. Floyd, Shelton, WA* Mrs. Richard A. Fuhrmann* Mr. & Mrs. Albert W. Gentner, Jr., Portland* Mr. & Mrs. Jason A. Hervin, Portland* Mr. & Mrs. Ken W. Luthe, Manzanita* Mr. & Mrs. Henry McCall, Jr., Portland* Rev . & Mrs. John Mann, Seaview, WA* Mr. & Mrs. James P. Marenakos, Stonington, CT* Mr. & Mrs. Philip J. Ross, Rainier Capt. & Mrs . C.S. Wetherell, Vancouver, WA* ANNUAL Mr. & Mrs. Gary G. Anderson, St. Louis, MO Mr. & Mrs. Don Aten, Seaside Mr. Bruce Bahrenberg, Keyport, NJ Mr. Richard R. Baldwin

Mr. Peter L. DeRose, Northampton, MA Miss Lisa Harms The Harris-Herke Family Mr. & Mrs . Donald Huber, Vancouver, WA Mrs. Arthur W. Johnson Mrs. H. Ethel Klopfer Ms. Brenda K. McCain, Forest Grove Mr. Donald MacKay, Los Angeles, CA Ms. Irene Martin, Skamokawa, WA Miss Barbara Minard Mrs. Shirley Minard Mr. John Nelson, Longview, WA Mr. & Mrs. Ted Sarpola Mr. & Mrs. Robert W . Sletten Mrs. John M. Smeaton, Cannon Beach Mr . Richard C. Stommel, Longview, WA Dr. Arnold N. Troeh, Vancouver, WA Mr. Bill D. Wilson, Seaside STUDENT Miss Chloe Swain

MEMORIAL CONTRIBUTIONS, APRIL 1 - JUNE 30, 1985 IRENE BRIX ALTSTADT Mr. & Mrs. James B. Thayer NEIL ATWOOD Mr. & Mrs. Ted Jacobson Mr. & Mrs . Don Riswick RAY ARNOLD BASEL Mr. & Mrs. Robert K. Cordiner Mr. & Mrs. Trygve Duoos Mr. & Mrs. Thomas A. Friedlien Mr. & Mrs. Gene Hill Mr. & Mrs. Mike Josephson ERMA BERTHELSEN Mr. & Mrs. Eldon Jerijarvi Point Adams Packing Company THEODORE H. BLAHM Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Abrahamson Mr. & Mrs. Travis Coley Mr. & Mrs. Larry Davis Mr. Earl Dawley Mr. & Mrs. Terry Durkin Mr. & Mrs. Robert Emmett Mr. & Mrs. Edward Koller Mr. & Mrs. Norman Kujala Mr. & Mrs. Maurice Laird Mr. & Mrs. Mel Maki Mr. & Mrs. David Miller Mr. George McCabe Mr. & Mrs. Robert McConnell Mr. & Mrs. Roy Pettit Mr. Nick Zorich HELEN HONEYMAN BURT Mr. & Mrs. R.W. Gamble Mr. & Mrs. Ronald C. Honeyman

Mrs. Natalie W. Jones BRIAN CREELMAN Mr. & Mrs. Mike Josephson ARTHUR DOMER Ms. Wilma A. Burg MINNIE DUTTON Capt. & Mrs. Kenneth McAlpin MIRIAM AVON EDY Mr. & Mrs. Fred Anderson Mr. & Mrs. James E. Barker Mr. Allen V. Cellars Capt. & Mrs. Dale Dickinson Mr. & Mrs. George Dukek Mr. & Mrs. Ed Fearey, Jr. Mr. & Mrs. F.M. Ginn Ms. Margaret Green Mr. & Mrs. John Hill Mr. & Mrs. Brett I. Kesterson Knappton Corporation Mr. & Mrs . Robert Mosar Mr. & Mrs. John S. McGowan Dr. & Mrs. Robert Neikes Mr. & Mrs. Richard Paulsen Mr. & Mrs. L.F. Van Dusen JOHN RAGNAR ERICKSEN Mr. & Mrs. John Beale JAMES GASCIOGNE Mr. & Mrs. Willard Caspell ROBERT J. GOHL Mr. Andrew D. Carlson Mr. & Mrs. Norman R. Forney

Mr. Mr. Mr. Mr. Mr. Mr. Mr. Mr. Mr. Mr. Mr.

& Mrs . George Fulton & Mrs. Charles E. Hansen & Mrs. Richard B. Hansen & Mrs. Gene A. Hill & Mrs. John E. Hill & Mrs. M.J. Hughes & Mrs. Howard B. Johnson & Mrs . Mike Josephson & Mrs. A.J. L'Amie & Mrs. Armas E. Niskanen & Mrs. Carl Tolonen

NORMAN GREEN Mr. & Mrs. Mike Josephson MARY C. HAINES Mr. & Mrs. Carl Tolonen WILMA HEINTZELMAN Mrs. Clara E. Miles HERBERT B. HOWELL Mr. & Mrs. Jack H. Wood JAMES M. JENSEN Ms. Dorothy Anderson Mr . & Mrs. Larry Dawson Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Fromer Mr. Doug Hahn Mr. Dart Johnson Ms. Gloria Keithley Ms. Debbie Lee Mr. Joe Massey Mr. & Mrs. James McAllister Mr. & Mrs. Mac McCleary Ms. Ann McGuire Mr. & Mrs. Bill Pitman Mr. Jack Pitman

MEMORIAL CONTRIBUTIONS (CONTINUED) Mr. Jay Pitman Mr. Joel Pitman Mr. & Mrs. Dave Searle Ms. Pat Stricklin Mr. Len Vernon Ms. June Wells Mr. & Mrs. Dave White Ms. Alline Wickham Mr. & Mrs. George Wikstrom JOHN A. JOHNSON Mrs. Helen LaValley Mr. Melvin Olson Mr. Norman Olson EINO S. JUOLA Mr. & Mrs. Ernest Barrows Ms. Ellen J. Brach & Family Mr. & Mrs. Duane E. Congleton Mr. & Mrs. Clarence 0 . Dreyer Mr. & Mrs. Trygve Duoos Mr. & Mrs. George Fulton Mr. & Mrs. Ellis Hill Mr. & Mrs. Gene Hill Mr. & Mrs. John Hill Mr. & Mrs. Mel Hjorten Mr. & Mrs. Richard Jackson Mr. & Mrs. Sigfred Jensen Mr. & Mrs. Howard B. Johnson Mrs. Anita Kankkonen Mr. Eldon E. Korpela Miss Helen E. Koski Mr. & Mrs. Carl Labiske Mr. & Mrs. Ed Lundholm Mr. & Mrs. A.J. L'Amie Mr. & Mrs. John S. McGowan Mr. & Mrs. Gordon Olsen Mr. & Mrs. Phillip E. Switzer Mr. & Mrs. Carl Tolonen ERNEST KARY Mr. Ted Johnson Mrs. A.J. L'Amie LORIMER LAMPA Mr. Bill Linton Mr. Ed Parker CHARLES A. LANE Mr. & Mrs. A.J. L'Amie Mr. & Mrs. Walter Lofgren Mr. & Mrs. Mike Riva ARVID W. LARSON Astoria Marine Construction Mrs. Bereniece I. Baker Ms. Grace Eliassen Ms. Corrine H. Hedeen Mr. & Mrs. Jay Hyde Ms. Esther A. Jensen Ms. Gertrude M. Johnson Ms. Grace P. Johnson Mrs. Ila Mae Juola Mr. & Mrs. Eldon Korpela Ms. Madeline Kvistad Ms. Evi Larson Ms. Dorothy R. Mickelson Mr. & Mrs. R.A. Mund Ms. Elsie Osterlund Ms. Barbara, Tammy & Tracy Tenny Mr. & Mrs. Frank M. Thorsness

RICHARD J. LARSON Mr. & Mrs. George Fulton

WILLIAM OSBURN Mr. & Mrs. Mike Josephson

PHILLIP J. LASICH Mr. & Mrs. Dale Estoos Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Peitsch Mr. & Mrs. Alan Takalo Mr. & Mrs. Carl Tolonen

J. EDWARD OSLUND Mr . & Mrs. Manford Pate

JULIUS LeFRANCQ Mr. & Mrs. Willard Caspell WALTER LEMPEA Mrs. Marilyn Anderson ROBERT LEPPLA Mr. & Mrs. Harley Basel JENNIE LINDSTROM Ms. Hilda Anderson Mr. & Mrs. Trygve Duoos Mr. & Mrs. George Fulton Mrs. Jordis Tetli KARIN MAKI Mr. & Mrs. Trygve Duoos Mr. & Mrs. Ed Lundholm ANSON B. MOWREY Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Abrahamson Mr. & Mrs . Harley Basel Mr. & Mrs. Warren Bechtolt Mr. & Mrs. Trygve Duoos Mrs. Aili Kary Mrs. Edna S. L'Amie Ms. Nora Jane Saunders LEON McCLINTOC Mr. & Mrs. John Smeaton JERRY McELENEY Mr. & Mrs. Ruben A. Mund EVELYN McGINLEY Mr. & Mrs. Willis L. Van Dusen BURDETTE NELSON Mrs. George Gaither BERNARD NEVIN Mr. & Mrs. John S. McGowan DULCIE NUTTALL Mr. Charles W. Hoell, Jr. RAGNAR NYBACK Mr. & Mrs. George Fulton Mrs . Jordis Tetli HAROLD OLSVICK Mrs. Nora S. Bue Mr. & Mrs. Russell Fluhrer Mr. & Mrs. Eric Hauke, Sr. Mr. & Mrs. Einar Hjorten Mr. Henry Kalfholm Mr. & Mrs. Ruben A. Mund Mr. & Mrs. Arnold Petersen Mr. & Mrs. F.E. Ross Mr. & Mrs. Larry Teien Mr. & Mrs. William Whitten, Sr.

ARTHUR PAQUET Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Abrahamson BPOE #180, Astoria Ms. Helen C. Baker Mr. & Mrs. Kay A. Baker Mr. & Mrs. Victor L. Berger Mr . & Mrs. Trygve Duoos Ms. Myrtle M. Fletcher Mr. & Mrs. Orin Hess Mr. & Mrs. John E. Hill Mr. & Mrs. Wilbur Hissner Ms. Helen E. Koski Mr. & Mrs. A.J. L'Amie Mr. & Mrs. Walter C. Miner Mr. & Mrs. George Moskovita Mr. & Mrs. Dan A. Thiel Mr. & Mrs. Carl Tolonen HILDA C. PAULSEN Ms. Nell Berg Mr. Allen V. Cellars Mr. & Mrs. Ed Fearey, Jr. Ms. Mable Grubbe Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Lowe Mr. & Mrs. John S. McGowan Mr. & Mrs. Arnold Swanson Mr. & Mrs. L.F. Van Dusen ROBERT PERRY Mr . & Mrs. Richard Andrews Mr. & Mrs. Peter Lembrecht Mrs. Randi Salo CHARLES W. POPE Mr. & Mrs. John Smeaton JOHN A. RENSKLEV Portland Steamship Operators Association WALTER SCHWEGLER Mr. & Mrs. Arnold B. Curtis Ms. Bessie Curtis Mr. & Mrs . Raymond Gould Mr. & Mrs. Ragnvald Kraft Ms. Lillian LaBeck Ms. Mary J. Lyon ANTHONY J. SHIRLEY Astoria Oil Services HARRY SWANSON, JR. Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth Chapman Capt. & Mrs. Dale A. Dickinson Mr. & Mrs. Walter Gadsby, Jr. Mrs. Ford Knutsen Mr. & Mrs. Richard Paulsen Dr. & Mrs. David I. Williams DON TURINA Ms. Mary Gorman Hinsdale

CAPTAIN MINNIE HILL generally cast, at that time, upon women who dared to invade traditionally male pursuits. The Governor Newell was an otherwise plain and undistinguished stern-wheeler, 111 ½ feet long, built at Portland in 1883 for the Shoalwater Bay Transportation Company (Shoalwater Bay was the original name of Willapa Bay, Washington) . Her first captain was James P. Whitcomb. The Governor Newell returned to the Columbia River in 1885 and was operated briefly by Charles Haskell, who sold her to J.C. Trullinger in 1887 for the Astoria-Westport run. Minnie's husband, Charles, bought the Governor Newell in 1889 and thenceforward Minnie commanded her, while Charles attended to the engines. The boat was ultimately dismantled in 1900.

Minnie Hill

The Governor Newell (with another boat behind)

Charles 0 . Hill, a native of New York, commenced a marine career in the Pacific Northwest aboard the sternwheeler Governor Newell in 1883. His attractive young wife, Minnie, accompanied him and obviously took a keen interest in her surroundings, for, at the age of twenty-three, this remarkable woman attained a notable distinction. According to E.W. Wright, editor of Lewis & Dryden's Marine History of the Pacific Northwest: "The first master's and pilot's license ever issued to a woman on the Pacific Coast was granted to Mrs. Minnie Hill in 1886. The young lady had been previously engaged with her husband on steamers for several years and was thoroughly conversant with the business. . . . Captain Minnie Hill, who enjoys the distinction of being the only steamboat captain of her sex west of the Mississippi River, was born in Albany, Oregon in 1863 . She commenced steamboating with her husband . . . on the Columbia River steamer Governor Newell. The young lady mastered the details of steamboating with but little trouble and in due season received a regular license permitting her to take full charge of a steamer. She has been remarkably successful in her calling and has handled the Governor Newell for the past eight years, her husband running most of the time as engineer." Wright's remarks, published in 1895, constitute a positively glowing tribute to Captain Minnie Hill's abilities, when one stops to remember what a sternly disapproving eye society still

A considerable number of women accompanied their husbands aboard the riverboats and tugs, many of them taking a hand informally in the running of the vessels. But Captain Minnie Hill retained her unique position as the only woman on the Pacific Coast licensed to command a steamer until 1907, when a second-class master's and pilot's license was granted to Gertrude Wiman, wife of Captain Chance Wiman of the Puget Sound steamboat Vashon. In 1915 an Oregonian article stated that there were then two licensed female captains on Puget Sound and that Minnie Hill had, at that date, been retired for a few years. She held a further distinction in having the little, 43½-foot, propeller steamer Minnie Hill named for her; that vessel was built at Monticello, Washington in 1884.





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JOHN W. VIUHKOLA Mr. Andrew D. Carlson Mr. & Mrs. Charles E. Hansen Mr. Buddy Hoell Ms. Elsie Jarvinen Mr. & Mrs. Mike Josephson Mr. Eldon E. Korpela Mr. & Mrs. A.J . L'Amie Mr. & Mrs. Frank Parker




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. I

Deck view of the Tacoma




before the Corps of Engineers constructed the series of great dams which now control the Columbia River system's flow. One of the most severe floods occurred in 1894, submerging the Goble branch of the railroad and disrupting the Tacoma's normal routine. In order to maintain some rail service between Portland and Puget Sound, the Tacoma made daily round trips between Portland and Kelso, Washington until the flood waters subsided. The trip was enlivened by the challenge of threading her great bulk through the draws of the Willamette bridges in Portland. A railroad bridge finally spanned the Columbia at Vancouver in 1908, and new track was laid from there to Kalama by the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway, ending the need for ferry service. The Tacoma made her last run on Christmas of 1908 and lay idle at Kalama until 1916. She was then sold to the Milwaukie Terminal Company and taken to Puget Sound for conversion to a barge, which was finally wrecked in 1950.

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