V13 N3 Summer 1986 Steamboat 'Eva' Meeting the Stage at Scottsburg, Oregon

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REVIEW SUMMER 1986

VOL. 13

1792 MARINE DRIVE, ASTORIA, OREGON 97103

NO. 3

STEAMBOAT EVA MEETING THE STAGE AT SCOTTSBURG, OREGON River steamboating in the Northwest was by no means limited to the Columbia River and its tributaries. Most of the small coastal rivers, at one time or another, boasted one or more diminutive steamers to serve the needs of the scattered communities tucked into the valleys penetrating the Coast Range. The Umpqua River in Oregon was no exception. Captain Hinsdale inaugurated steamer service there in 1853 with the little, iron, propeller boat Washington, which was destroyed by a boiler explosion in 1857. Other boats followed, and in 1870 the stern-wheeler Swan was driven all the way upriver to Roseburg (with liberal assistance from winches and teams of

horses) in a stunt calculated to obtain Congressional funding for channel improvements. Although it took eleven days to cover less than a hundred miles, Congress duly appropriated $70,000, but no other steamer ever reached Roseburg. The Eva, pictured here, was a much later boat, built at Portland for the Umpqua Steam Navigation Company in 1894 and subsequently owned by W.F. Jewett. She measured 90.4 feet in length and 19.4 feet in breadth, with a gross tonnage of 130. Her engines provided a mere fifty horsepower. Her run was from Gardiner, Oregon, on Winchester Bay, to the head of (continued on page 5)


DIRECTOR TO LEAVE MUSEUM

LIGHTSHIP TO PERFORM IN CONCERT

Michael Naab, Director of the Museum since 1981, recently announced that he will leave at the end of September in order to pursue other interests. Museum President Roland Fisher accepted the Director's resignation with deep regret. "Michael Naab's high standards and his excellent performance are major reasons why the Columbia River Maritime Museum has gained recognition as the finest institution of its kind on the West Coast," he said. "It will be most difficult to replace him." The Trustees are conducting a national search for a new Director.

The Museum's lightship Columbia will have a featured role in an imaginative outdoor concert to be held at the Museum in August. Five original "Concertos for Symphonic Band, Ship's Bell, and Foghorn" (that is where the lightship comes in) will be performed by the North Coast Symphonic Band, under the direction of James Smith. The five pieces have been submitted by their respective composers as entries in a national competition co-sponsored by the Museum and North Coast Community Radio (KMUN-FM). A panel of Northwest musicians will judge the compositions. The winning composer will be awarded a $500 prize. The concert will be held on the Museum's plaza at 8:00 p .m. on Friday, August 22nd. A composer's reception inside the Museum will follow the concert. This will be a fund-raiser for the Museum and KMUN. Tickets, which include the hosted reception and reserved seating for the concert, are $5.00 per person for members of the Museum or KMUN, and $6.00 for non-members. For reservations, please call the Museum (325-2323) or KMUN (325-0010).

• Time to Leave Her The work was hard, the voyage was long, Leave her, Johnny, leave her! The seas were high, the gales were strong, It's time for us to leave her! I thought I heard the Old Man say, Leave her Johnny, leave her! You can go ashore and draw your pay. It's time for us to leave her! The sails are furled, our work is done, Leave her johnny, leave her! And now on shore we'll have our fun . It's time for us to leave her!

"Time to Leave Her" has long been among my favorite sea songs. A capstan chantey, it is associated with a sailor's final shipboard tasks after his vessel reaches port and he prepares to go on shore and be paid off. It evokes not only the sadness of leaving a good ship and good shipmates; but also the keen anticipation of time ashore and, eventually, another ship. This chantey, and the thoughts it brings, have often played on my mind since I informed the Trustees that I will be leaving the Museum at the end of September. My reasons for going are purely internal - no "burnout," no disagreement with the Board, no dissension among the staff, no perception of insurmountable obstacles, and, certainly, no feeling that there is nothing more to be accomplished. Indeed, I enjoy fine working relationships with the Trustees, our firstrate staff, and the membership. Enthusiasm for the Museum's endeavors is more widespread today than ever before. I am absolutely confident that the Columbia River Maritime Museum can-and will-become a truly great institution. My work at the Museum has been exciting, challenging, and rewarding. It still is. I have thrived on it. But, after fifteen years here, I am driven by a powerful urge to "Leave her, Johnny, leave her" -to move on and seek other challenges. And so, with regret but also with great anticipation, I shall. Michael Naab Director

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TRANSPACIFIC CONTACTS A scholarly symposium concerning early contacts between Asia and the West Coast of North America will be held at the Museum on Saturday, September 13th. It has been jointly organized by the Museum and Harvey W. Steele of Portland, a member of the Oregon Archaeological Society. The public is welcome to attend the sessions at no charge. The tentative schedule of speakers follows below. 9:00 a.m. Welcoming remarks by CRMM staff. 9:15 a.m. "Asian Objects in the North Pacific, an Overview." Herbert K. Beals, Oregon Historical Society. 9:45 a.m. "Chinese Objects from Drakes Bay, California Sites." Edward Von der Porten, Treasure Island Museum. 10:30 a.m. Coffee break. 10:45 a.m. "Chinese Objects from Nehalem Bay." Dr. John Woodward, Mt. Hood Community College. 12:00 noon Lunch 1:30 p.m . "The Philippines Connection in the China Trade ." Dr. Dan Scheans, Portland State University. 2:00 p.m. "Chinese Objects from Netarts Sandspit, Oregon." Harvey W. Steele, Portland State University. 2:45 p .m . Coffee break. 3:00 p.m. "Beeswax & the Neahkahnie Connection." Wayne Jensen, Tillamook County Pioneer Museum. 3:45 p.m . Discussion & summation led by Herbert K. Beals and Dr. Dan Scheans. 4:30 p.m. End of symposium.


GAMBIER BAY MODEL TAKES GRAND PRIZE A scratch-built model of the U.S.S. Gambier Bay (CVE-73) captured the grand prize in our 13th Annual Ship Model Competition on May 17th. It won over a field of 59 models (an alltime record number for the event) by 39 different entrants. Two dentists, Dr. Niclaus Marineau of Portland and Dr. Robert Norgren of Beaverton, jointly constructed the model. Both men have individually won grand prizes in previous competitions here. The model portrays one of 50 escort aircraft carriers of the Casablanca class, all built at Vancouver, Washington by the Kaiser Company during World War II. The escort carrier type, nicknamed "jeep carriers" or "baby flat-tops," originated in emergency conversions of merchant ships to provide protective air patrols for convoys against the U-boat menace in the Atlantic. Many more were then built utilizing modified cargoship hull designs suitable for mass production. Because of a shortage of Allied carriers in the Pacific, escort carriers were also used to provide air cover and close-support ground attack for amphibious landing forces, thus freeing big fleet carriers for other duties. The Gambier Bay's keel was laid in July of 1943, and she was launched November 22nd that year. She was 512¼ feet long over all, 65 feet broad at the water line, and displaced 10,902 tons at full load. Skinner Unaflow steam engines provided 9,000 H.P. for a top speed of 19 knots. Armament consisted of one 5-inch gun, eight 40mm and twelve 20mm antiaircraft guns. After her launching, the ship was sent for outfitting to Astoria, where she commissioned on December 28th. In February she ferried marines and replacement aircraft out to the Pacific Islands. Her own Squadron VC-10, consisting of 12

The model's island & deck with Wildcat fighter

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Model of U.S.S. Gambier Bay (CVE-73)

Avenger torpedo bombers and 16-18 Wildcat fighters, was assigned for pilot training on her return to San Diego. The Gambier Bay's first action occurred in support of the invasion of Saipan and Tinian in the Marianas during June and July, 1944. There her planes and guns helped fight off several Japanese air attacks. During one raid, several of her fighters had to take off through heavy anti-aircraft fire from other ships of their own task group. The ship went on to operations at Peleliu and Angaur in the Palaus during September. Next, the Gambier Bay escorted transports and landing ships for General MacArthur's return to the Philippines. On October 20, 1944 troops began landing at Leyte Gulf. The Gambier Bay was assigned lo Rear Admiral Clifton Sprague' s Task Unit 77.4.3 (known as "Taffy 3" from its radio call name), which consisted of six escort carriers screened by three destroyers and four destroyer escorts. Three such units were stationed east of Samar Island to provide air cover. The Japanese Navy launched an all-out, three-pronged counter-attack to halt the American reconquest of the Philippines. Planes from Admiral "Bull" Halsey's fleet carriers located and pounded the approaching Japanese Center Force on October 24th; a battleship was sunk and the Japanese turned back. Thinking this force no fonger a threat, Halsey was then lured north to attack a decoy force of enemy aircraft carriers, just as the Japanese had planned. During the night, U .S. surface forces destroyed two groups of Japanese ships approaching from the south. However, Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita' s Center Force again changed course and slipped undetected through San Bernardino Strait, left unguarded by Halsey's move north. Kurita turned south along Samar's east coast, intending to wreak havoc with the U .S. invasion transports in Leyte Gulf with his remaining four battleships, eight cruisers, and ten destroyers. Kurita caught Taffy 3 completely by surprise at 6:44 a.m ., just after dawn on October 25th. Sprague' s escort carriers turned east into the wind to launch planes and then engaged in a running battle, laying smoke screens and taking advantage of rain squalls for cover. The destroyers and destroyer escorts made heroic torpedo attacks to slow the enemy. Taffy 3's planes were joined by those from other escort carrier groups. Many planes made simulated attacks after expending all their bullets, bombs, or torpedos, hoping to break up the Japanese formation, before landing at a captured base ashore . Their resistance was so fierce that Kurita believed he was attacking fleet carriers. The Gambier Bay was first hit at 8: 11 a.m ., and by 8:20 her forward engine room was flooded and her speed down to 11 (continued on back page}


TROPHIES FROM THE GOLDEN AGE OF MOTORBOAT RACING

Motorboat racing was in its infancy in 1910, when Captain Milton Smith, owner of a towboat company in Rainier, Oregon, purchased Happy Heine, a 24-footer built two years before. Capable of nearly thirty miles an hour, the boat was among the fastest of her day. By 1912, Captain Smith was in the forefront of the West Coast racing scene with the Vamoose, a 26-footer he had built the previous year. In 1913 he easily won the Pacific Coast championship with the Oregon Kid, a new 20-footer piloted by his teenage son, Wilbur. Later that year, the Oregon Kid daz. zled its competition at regattas in the East. Another 20-footer, the Oregon Kid II, was built for the 1914 season. With a top speed of 55 miles an hour, it handily took the Pacific Coast championship. In 1915, after briefly surren-

dering the championship to a Portland boat, the Oregon Kid II regained the Pacific Coast title at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. The Smiths retired from motorboat racing at the end of that season, leaving behind a brilliant record equalled by few . Wilbur Smith later established his own towing concern, Smith Tug & Barge. During a long and successful career, he became known for innovation and practicality. Visitors to his friendly, nofrills office at the company moorings in Rainier saw there, proudly displayed, some of the exquisite silver trophies won by the Smiths in their racing days . After Wilbur Smith's death in 1982, his widow donated the trophies to the Museum. They are now displayed in a dramatic exhibit in the Great Hall.

__ -___...::::.. -~ - Oregon Kid racing a Christofferson seaplane at Seattle, July 20, 1913


The Umpqua River steamer Eva at a landing

THE EVA (CONTINUED) navigation at Scottsburg, about twenty miles upstream. Below Scottsburg the Umpqua is tidal and fairly broad and deep, but there the river narrows and becomes shallow. At Scottsburg, the Eva connected with a stagecoach line to Drain, Oregon, thereby providing a transportation link from the coast to the Willamette Valley. The Eva ceased operation in 1910 and was abandoned by 1918.

• TUGBOAT ENTHUSIASTS WANTED

William Randolph Hearst Trophy, won by Oregon Kid as national champion, 32-foot class, Chicago, August 23 , 1913 .

A group of volunteers has undertaken restoration of the 1907 steam tug Hercules at the National Maritime Museum in San Francisco. They are very interested in corresponding with any of our members who have a special interest in deep-water tugs, particularly if they have specific information about the Hercules, which spent much of her early career in the Northwest . Please contact: Chris Hoskins, 1195 Saranap #3, Walnut Creek, CA 94595.

NEW MEMBERS, INCREASED SUPPORT(*), APRIL 1 - JUNE 30, 1986 LIFE Capt. & Mrs. Mike Leback*

SUSTAINING Capt. & Mrs. James T. Clune, Warrenton* Dr. & Mrs. R.P. Moore* Pacific Rim Pizza• Mr. Ralph E. Williams, Portland*

SUPPORTING Mr. & Mrs. Brian G. Borton* Mr. & Mrs. Mike Cole Mr. & Mrs. Blair Henningsgaard * Mrs. Thomas H. Hindman, Portland Mr. & Mrs. Harold A. Snow, Warrenton* Mr. & Mrs. Harold B. Wilde, Gearhart*

CONTRIBUTING Mr. & Mrs. James M. Anderson, Portland* Mr. & Mrs . Roger A. Berg* Mr. & Mrs. Wm. H. Bishop, Portland* Mrs. Judith Campbell, Walnut Creek, CA Mr. S. Ronald Hellenthal, Portland Mr. Mark H. Hendricks, Lake Oswego*


MEMBERSHIP (CONTINUED) Mr. & Mrs. Donald Huber, Vancouver, WA• Mr. Arthur C. Johnson* Mr. James V. McCallister, Warrenton* McCaw Cablevision Mr. John Nelson, Longview, WA• Mrs. J.E. Niemi, Seaside* Mr. Jerry W. Schell* Mrs. John M. Smeaton, Cannon Beach* Mr. & Mrs. Michael Soderberg* Mr. Richard C. Stammel, Longview, WA• Vern Cook Supply, Seaside

ANNUAL Mr. & Mrs. William Arbaugh Mr. Brian Asher, Tigard Mr. Roger K. Barney, Gearhart Ms. Anita B. Bennetts, Portland Mr. & Mrs. D. Jim Bergeron Mr. & Mrs. Jerry Boisvert, Warrenton Mr. L. Harry Easley, Ocean Park, WA Mrs. Marjorie M. Fellows, Seaview, WA Mrs. Bernice B. Fletcher, Boise, ID Mr. & Mrs. R.G. Ford Mrs. Inta Funk Mr. Michael J. Harris, Banks Mr . Edwin W. Hartzell, Portland

Mr. & Mrs. Wm. Hite, Jr., Wilsonville Ms. Patricia G. Lawrence Mr. Harold S. Manus Capt. Walt Marchel, Newport Mr. & Mrs. Richard Meeker, Portland Ms. Dorothy R. Mickelson Mr. & Mrs. James W. McCafferty Ms. Susan McLerie Mr. Brian Noble, Depoe Bay Mr. Rodney Paterson, Seal Rock Mr. Marc F. Skogmo, Raymond, WA STUDENT Miss Diane Seymour, Portland

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MEMORIAL CONTRIBUTIONS, APRIL 1 - JUNE 30, 1986 ROBERT V. ALTO Mr. & Mrs. Ron Westerlund

WILLARD "BUCK" CASPELL Mr. & Mrs. L.F. Van Dusen

MATTIE HERMANN Darle & Patrick Maveety

GEORGE AND IRENE ALTSTADT Mary Helen Clair, Conservatorship

VERNA CHRISTENSEN Mr. James Dybvik

LOUIS HILLIARD Mr . & Mrs. Cecil Moberg

ALBIN P. ANDERSON Mrs . Mary W. Anderson Mrs. Lila Bjork & Family Mr. Bill Carlson Mr. Joe Carlson Mr. & Mrs. Richard Carlson Mr. & Mrs . Wallace Carlson Mrs. Bernice Enke Mr. & Mrs. Carl Hellberg Mrs. Katherine Hellberg Mr. & Mrs. Gene Hill Mr. & Mrs. Arley Jensen Mr. & Mrs . Ragnar 0. Johnson Mr. & Mrs. Kelly Larson Mr. & Mrs . Wade Larson S.H. Lee Mr. & Mrs. William Lindgren Ms. Dorothy Oehl Mr. & Mrs . Chuck Paetow Mr. & Mrs. Truman Slotte Mr. & Mrs. Albert Sorkki Mr. & Mrs. Dan A. Thiel Mr. Paul G . Williamson

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MEMORIAL CONTRIBUTIONS (CONTINUED) NORRIS JONES Mr . Don Seago LLOYD JORGENSEN Mrs. Clara B. Johnson RAY PETER KARPEN Mr. & Mrs. Don Kumpula Mr. Dewey Maxson THOMAS ROBERT KEEFE Mr. & Mrs. Ron Honeyman HENRY V. KINDER Mr. & Mrs. Max Bigby, Jr. Mr. & Mrs. Donald Riswick LUCILLE KOHLER Mr. & Mrs. A.J. L' Amie RALPH DAVID LAMB Mr. & Mrs. Charles Hansen LUCILLE M. LARSON Mr. & Mrs. Sam Archer Mr. & Mrs. C. Delmer Boman Mr. & Mrs. Don Brunner Mr. & Mrs. Wallace B. Carlson Mr. & Mrs. George Emken Ms. Betty Jean Hammons Mr. & Mrs. Richard Jackson Mrs. Gertrude Johnson Mr. & Mrs. A.J. L'Amie Mr. & Mrs. Verl Leback Ms. Audrey J. Leslie Ms. Florence Lindgren Ms. Georgia Maki Mr. & Mrs. R.A. Mund Mr. & Mrs. Toivo Mustonen Mr. & Mrs. Paul Palomaki Mr. & Mrs. Carl Paronen Dr. & Mrs. Gary Pedersen Mr. Harold Pietila Ms. Ann Osterlund Reed Mr. & Mrs. Andrew Rosenberger Ms. C. Bernice Simonsen Mr. & Mrs. Richard Sorensen Mr. & Mrs. Harold Strassen Mr. & Mrs. John Warila Mr. & Mrs. Ron Westerlund Mr. & Mrs. Donald Wiitala Mr. David Wullger HARRY LOFGREN Mr. & Mrs. Charles Hansen EDWIN LUND Mrs . Emil Anderson Mr. & Mrs. Harley Basel Mr. & Mrs. Arnold B. Curtis, Jr. Ms. Dorothea J. Handran Ms. Elsie C. Osterlund Mr. & Mrs. Paul Stangeland BRADLEY MILLARD Birney Elementary School Staff Mrs. N. Fleming Mr. & Mrs. Truman 0 . Kirkvold Mr. & Mrs. Donald E. Olson

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SPECIAL GIFTS APRIL 1 - JUNE 30, 1986 The Anchor Club Mr. & Mrs. Gary G. Anderson Bioproducts, Inc. Columbia River Maritime Museum Auxiliary Col. & Mrs. Irwin A. Diamond Pacific Northwest Bell Mr. Henry J. Principe The Wheeler Foundation

Life

$1,000 single payment

Supporting

$50 per year

Sponsor

$500 per year

Contributing

$25 per year

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NAME _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ __ __ ADDRESS_ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ __ _ _ _ _ __ _ CITY _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ STATE _ _ __ __ ZIP _ __ __

THE GAMBIER BAY (CONTINUED) knots. Meanwhile, her puny 5-inch gun returned fire and scored hits. The enemy were closing the range rapidly and smothering the Gambier Bay with fire. A big shell knocked out the after engine room and steering at 8:40, leaving the ship dead in the water and helpless as the Japanese closed to point blank range. Captain Walter Vieweg ordered the Gambier Bay abandoned at 8:50, and she went down in a storm of shells at 9: 11.

Taffy 3 fought on and inflicted much damage on the Japanese, but the enemy had the margin of speed and guns to finish them off and break through to the invasion fleet. The loss of the vital supplies and munitions aboard the transports could spell disaster for the U.S. troops. The Americans were astonished, therefore, when the Japanese turned away at 9:25. Actually, Admiral Kurita considered his mission futile and was discouraged by the destruction of the Japanese Southern Force. When another U .S. escort carrier group was sighted, he became uncertain of his real situation, in view of bad Japanese radar and the poor visibility and radio reception that day. He halted to regroup his scattered ships and assess damage. After

LARRY GILMORE, EDITOR

COLUMBIA RIVER MARITIME MUSEUM 1792 MARINE DRIVE ASTORIA, OREGON 97103

ADDRESS CORRECTION REQUESTED

milling around the area for a couple of hours under continuing air raids, Kurita retreated. His force limped back to base, but three heavy cruisers had been scuttled due to battle damage. The "jeep carriers" and their escorts had turned the tide at heavy cost. The Gambier Bay was the only U.S. carrier ever sunk by hostile gunnery. Her sister ship St. Lo became the first ship sunk by a kamikaze when the Japanese threw land-based planes into the battle. Two destroyers and a destroyer escort were lost loo, and many ships seriously damaged . It was impossible to do much about survivors while the battle still raged, so it was not until evening that a group of patrol boats and landing craft set out to search for them. PC-623 found the first of them at 10:30 the following night, and most were picked up by the morning of October 27th. The Gambier Bay's crew and Squadron VC-10 had totalled some 1,000 men. About fifty had flown off in the planes, most of them surviving the battle to land ashore. Around 700 men were plucked from the sea, nearly 150 of them seriously wounded , some of whom later died. The rest, numbering about 250, were killed in battle or died before rescue.

Non-Profit Organization U.S. POSTAGE

PA ID Astoria, Oregon Permit No. 209


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