V1 N1 Spring 1973 Activity at the Building Site

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NO. l


Observers on the Astoria waterfront in recent weeks have noted an increase in activity around the 17th Street dock of the Coast Guard Cutter Y ocona and Lightship No. 88. Site preparation, the first stage of construction of our new building and waterfront park, is now in full swing_ Last month, work was completed on construction of a retaining dike at the bulkhead line, running the full length of the Museum's property. This cleared the way for placement of the main body of the fill. By happy circumstance, the City of Astoria is currently installing an underground sewer interceptor line around the perimeter of the city. Large quantities of earth spoils ideally suited to our needs are being produced by the project. Through the cooperation of the City and its contractor, Salem-Willamette General Contractors, these spoils are being deposited at

the building site at no cost to the Museum . To date, approximately 25 per cent of the 50,000 cubic yards of fill material required have been placed. Completion of the fill and site preparation is expected by early summer. Following that, contracts will be let for driving of support piling as soon as settling of the fill will allow. Meanwhile, behind the scenes the Museum staff is busy with the architects and specialty engineers in the many facets of producing a complex with proper heating, lighting, and ventilation. Many of the artifacts will require special planning and desigri of exhibit in the new building. Modular display cases and movable, non-structural walls will be used extensively, permitting a high degree of flexibility and opportunity for exciting results. The gentle circular incline will allow for look-down views of the fishing and Coast Guard craft.


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QUARTERDECK REVIEW A number of years ago a prize was offered by the Museum for the name of its contemplated quarterly newsletter. When "quarterdeck" was explained to a few less "salty" members it met with unanimous approval. It might again bear clarification. The quarterdeck on ships of sail was the area abaft the mainmast reserved for the officers who ran the ship-into battle, or to peaceful ports with cargo and passengers. From the captain or specific officers came all authoritative orders and news of the ship. So it is that the Museum membership receives a quarterly report of its activities by way of the Quarterdeck Review. Your Museum is approaching a momentous occasion, when we move to new quarters at the water's edge of the Columbia River. Our growth has kept pace with the soaring popularity of museums throughout the United States. The national statistics are phenominal. Since our founding date, 11 May, 1962, attendance figures have doubled. Some 6,000 museums now welcome 700,000,000 visitors annually! Of the 6,000 about 3,500 are historical organizations under which category or segment we fall. This enormous visitation has had both an educational and an economic impact on our Country. Both are good. There are predictions, not unwarranted, of the Columbia River Maritime Museum doubling its present attendance record in the early years following completion of our new and more accessible facilities . This historic area will feel, pleasantly, the aforementioned impact. As we move into our second ten-year period, then, we do so as a firmly established member of the West Coast community of history museums. We desire to be one of the best members of that community, and we are on our way. Hard work by many loyal people, near and far, has persisted. More and finer artifacts have come our way as we have progressed, and in 1972, our tenth year birthday present was the high honor of national accreditation by the American Association of Museums I Let us dedicate this Number 1 of Volume 1 of the Quarterdeck Review to worker and donor alike- and offer sincere thanks for you.r patience and most valued assistance towards our goal. Rolf Klep, Director

"Pictorial Art of the Pacific Northwest Maritime Explorers, 1774-1794" is the title of the program to be presented by retired Seattle banking executive John F. Henry at 8 p .m . on Monday, 30 April, in the Flag Room of the Astor Library in Astoria. The Museum Auxiliary is sponsoring the event. In his presentation, Mr. Henry approaches the history of two decades of intense exploration in Northwest waters through contemporary art of the time . Colored slides of 18th century art works depicting the explorers, their ships, and their discoveries are complemented by a brief historical commentary outlining the activities of Spanish, English and American navigators who left their mark on the Pacific Northwest during this period. Among the art works represented are four rare watercolors from the Museum's collection. Painted by George Davidson, a crewmember in Captain Robert Gray's ship Columbia Rediviva these paintings depict the discovery ship of the Columbia River during her second voyage to the Northwest. They are on permanent loan to the Museum from Mrs. Clarence DuBois of Orlando, Florida. Mr. Henry's program is the product of several years of research, tracking down and photographing art works, and editing commentary. It promises to be a highlight of the Auxiliary activities this year. The public is invited. Refreshments will be provided.

• Ladies of the Museum Auxiliary are making plans for their 1973 Commemorative Tea, to be held at the Museum on Sun day, May 6th, from 2 :00 until 5 :00 p.m. The gala event takes place each year to celebrate Captain Robert Gray's discovery of the Columbia River on May 11th, 1792. Last year, more than 300 people attended, coming from all over the Northwest. Plan to attend. Spend a festive afternoon viewing the exhibits and renewing old acquaintances.


IA. OR The South Street Seaport Museum of New York, in conjunction with a commercial film producer, is developing a motion picture about the four-masted barque Moshulu ( exDreadnaught, ex-Kurt) and the men who sailed the last ships of the Cape Horn trade. Many will recall that the Germanowned Kurt was laid up at Astoria from 1914 to 1917. Upon entry of the United States into World War I, the big barque was interned , taken over by the Shipping Board, and renamed Dreadnaught, then Moshultt Paul C. Morgan, in charge of the Moshultt project, has asked for assistance in locating film footage, photographs, models, memorabilia, etc. relating to Moshulu or similar barques. Also sought are the names and addresses of former Cape Horn sailors. If any of our readers have, or know the whereabouts of such materials or information, they arc urged to contact Mr. Morgan at South Street Seaport Museum or Michael Naab at CRMM.

MEMBER GET YOUR DECAL Recognizing that many members might welcome an opportunity to "advertise" their association with the Museum, Mr. Klep designed a decal for the purpose. These are now available to members and friends . There are two sizes. The smaller one ( 2 ½" in diameter) is intended for use on an automobile window, while the large decal ( 4" dia.) is intended for the front window or door of a business establishment. Both are self-sticking and easy to apply without water. Beginning immediately, decals will be mailed out with all membership renewals and contribution acknowledgments. If you don't want to wait, ask for one in person or by mail.


PIONEER COMPASS One of the most significant artifacts acquired so far this year is a dry card compass in gimbals which once belonged to Captain John H. Couch, pioneer in commerce and navigation on the Columbia River. The instrument is signed by Robert Merrill of New York, who manufactured navigation instruments under that name from 1840 to 1865. It was presented to the Museum in January by F. Faber Lewis, greatgrandson of Captain Couch. It was in 1840 that Couch, in command of the brig Maryland, first entered the Columbia River. On the spring freshet, he sailed his vessel as far as Oregon City on the Willamette, where a storehouse was constructed and the cargo offloaded. Realizing that the rapids below Oregon City would be impassable when the river receded, he took the Maryland downstream, anchoring her opposite the site where the city of Portland now stands. Couch made three voyages to the Columbia, each time expanding his trade at Oregon City, while leaving his ship anchored at the site of Portland. Finally, in 1849, Couch settled in Oregon City, opening a general store which served as headquarters for a thriving trade with Gold Rush-swollen San Francisco. In 1852 he moved his business to the fledgling town of Portland, where he was a leader in commerce until his death in 1870. He had pioneered regular trade between the Columbia River and the Sandwich Islands and California. More important, by his example and influence he encouraged shipmasters to anchor at the site of Portland, thereby establishing the effective head of deepwater navigation and ensuring Portland her future as the metropolis of the Columbia River.




CAPTAIN EDGAR A. QUINN All of us were profoundly shocked by the tragic death last month of Captain Edgar A. Quinn, a long time Trustee and a valued friend. Deeply committed to the goals of the Museum, Captain Quinn could be counted on for sound advice born of experience, and a helping hand when needed. His dedication and skill earned him high respect as a Trustee, as a Columbia River bar pilot, and as a man. He will be sorely missed.

Residents of the Lower River may have been surprised on an afternoon a few months back to hear the unmistakable wail of a steamboat whistle drifting across the Columbia. Seventy years ago, the sound might have signaled the T. f. Potter coming into the landing at Astoria, or the Hassalo departing for points upriver, or the Ocklahama taking two big barques alongside for the tow to Portland, where they would load grain. But this is 1973, and aside from the Port of Portland's sternwheeler, there are no more big steamboats on the Lower River. In this case, the sounds came from the Bioproducts plant in Hammond, where Jim Carruthers was engaged in recording on tape the sounds of the large steam whistles in the Museum's collection. The project was initiated for two reasons: first, simply to hear the old whistles come alive again with steam; and second, to make recordings which could be used in a dynamic museum exhibit in the future. Of all the whistles tested, one of the handsomest in appeara11Le, if 11ot in melody, is the tandem whistle of the sternwheeler Charles R. Spencer. This is actually two whistles of different sizes, linked by a pipe connection at their bases. Each produces a different tone, resulting in harmonic effects when the whistle is blown. It was probably this feature which prompted Randall Mills to report that when the Spencer's whistle blew, "old piling under the docks trembled dangerously, and trees along the riverbank huddled shivering before its blast."

Str. Charles R. Spencer shows her heels to the Bailey Gatzert Everything about the Charles R. Spencer was impressive. Built in 1901 for the passenger trade, she was big (184 ft., 474 tons), elegant, and fast. Like the Telephone, T. f. Potter, and Bailey Gatzert, the Spencer was one of the elite among rivercraft. She usually ran in direct competition with other fast boats on the popular "blue ribbon" passenger routes to The Dalles and Astoria from Portland. More often than not, competing boats left their docks at the same time and raced the whole route, arriving at their destinations only minutes apart after a run of 100 miles ! The Spencer was renamed Monarch in 1913, continuing in the same trade. In 1916, she was sold to California interests for the San Francisco-Sacramento run. Her handsome shiny brass whistle is a popular exhibit. It was acquired in 1971 as part of the large riverboat artifacts collection given to the Museum by the Veteran Steambooatmen' s Association of the West.




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The Lightship's wardroom was given an uplift recently when new upholstery was fitted for the curved seat abaft the rudder post. One of the original, leather-covered horsehair seat backs, found on board when the Museum purchased the ship, served as a pattern for the new cushions, which are of foam rubber covered with button-tufted black naugahyde. The upholstery work was paid for by the ladies of the Auxiliary, who use the funds collected from cookbook sales, the Annual Tea, Bake Sale, and other activities each year to support a selected groject within the Museum.

• The Museum's capital Fund Campaign continues to encounter strong µpport on all fronts, spurred on by important contributions from businesses, foundations, and private donors. Captain enneth M~ Alpin, drive chairman, reports that the various campaign committees are making important high-level contacts, a number of which promise to result in substantial contributions to the Building Fund. The facility provided for by this campaign will substantially expand the Museum's capabilities. Greatly increased, flexible exhibit space will permit display of more artifacts, including many too large or heavy for the present building. Broadened programs for education a?d public involvement will be made possible by greater capaoty to handle groups. In sh~~• the new building will enable the Museum to more eff1c1ently carry out its function-to preserve and relate our maritime heritage.



"What's in it for me?" is a question sometimes heard when the subject of Museum membership is broached. We don't think it's a selfish response; in fact, we welcome the question. Members of the Columbia River Maritime Museum receive a membership card which entitles an entire family to unlimited free admission to the Museum and Lightship. They receive a membership decal and a subscription to the Quarterdeck Review. Privileges of membership include attendance and voting rights at the Annual Meeting and participation in Museum-sponsored activities. Most important, membership provides the opportunity to participate in on-going programs of preservation and presentation of our great maritime heritage. We think it's a good deal.




The Quarterdeck Review will be published four times a year for the members of the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Volume 1, No. 1, however, is being mailed to everyone on the Museum's general mailing list, which includes hundreds of non-members. Hereafter, only members will receive the newsletter. The message is clear: If you are not a member, join now and stay up to date on the activities of the fastest-growing maritime museum in the West.

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PA ID Astoria, Oregon Permit No. 209

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