V5 N1 Spring 1977 Steam Tug 'Tatoosh' in the Straits of Juan De Fuca

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VOL. 5


NO. l

STEAM TUG TATOOSH IN THE STRAITS OF JUAN DE FUCA, CIRCA 1910 In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, general practice for sailing vessels bound for Puget Sound or Columbia River ports was to await a tug off Cape Flattery or the Columbia bar, then be towed to their destination. Out-bound, wind ships would be towed several miles offshore before making sail. Not surprisingly, a thriving ocean towing industry developed to meet the demand. Fast, powerful, seaworthy tugs were built specifically for the highly competitive trade. One of the finest was the 128-foot steel tug Tatoosh, built for the Puget Sound Tug Boat Co. in 1900 by the Moran yard in Seattle. With her 1,000 horsepower triple-expansion engine she was unmatched on the West Coast. The Tatoosh spent much of her early career working

out of the Columbia River, sometimes going as far as 50 miles out to arrange for a tow. All was not routine, however. During her years on the bar the Tatoosh performed numerous rescues of ships and men. The. most spectacular such incident occurred in November, 1911, when she managed to pull the waterlogged steam schooner Washington clear of the breakers at Peacock Spit at the height of a gale, though the vessel and her 49 passengers and crew had been given up as doomed. The decline in the use of sailing vessels that followed the opening of the Panama Canal all but eliminated the need for. bar tugs. In 1916 the Tatoosh was put to work towing fuel barges out of San Francisco. Her career ended in 1940 when, no longer fit for service, she was abandoned.





QUARTERDECK REVIEW For a museum person, few sentences are more discouraging to hear than, "Oh, I had no idea you might have wanted that," or, "I thought it was just junk. I threw it away." Depending on the item in question and its would-be importance to the museum's collections, these words can elicit reactions in a director or curator ranging from mild disappointment to incredulity. Hardly a week goes by without someone telling us about "a box of old letters from a seaman ancestor that got lost somewhere"; or a fine ship model that "the kids played with and ruined"; or old books and photographs that were "taken to the dump, because nobody wanted them." A number of years ago, I called on the family of an old-time Columbia River boatbuilder who had recently passed away, hoping to obtain for the Museum some of the half-hull models that he'd carved and used during his career. Surprised at first that a museum would have any interest in such utilitarian items, the young couple gladly rounded up several fine specimens after I explained that they were valuable as examples of the workmanship of a rapidly disappearing trade. There would have been more, they told me, if the dogs hadn't gnawed on several and if others hadn't been burned in the woodstove. Too many items of potential significance for interpreting the past are irretrievably lost to future generations because their importance is not recognized. Countless others are eliminated because their owners simply do not care about their heritage. We urge all of our readers to stop and think before disposing of books, papers, or other artifacts of a nautical nature. Would these items be useful to the Museum for research or reference or display? Should they be preserved, along with their history, for generations yet to come? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, or if there is doubt, please discuss it with us before you act. You owe that much to the future - and to the past. Rolf Klep, Director


The Fourth Annual Ship Model Competition will take place at the Museum on Saturday, May 21. Any model of any type of vessel may be entered, provided it is entered by the builder. Categories in which awards will be offered are: Plastic Kit Models, Wood Kit Models, Plan-Built Models, Ships in Bottles, Fanciful Models, and Radio Control Models. Two sets of awards will be given in each category, one to adult entrants and one to modellers under 15. For further information, write to the Museum or call Mr. Naab at (503) 325-2323.

The newest addition to the Museum's ship model collection is an excellent replica of H.M. Armed Tender Chatham , the vessel commanded by Lt. William Broughton when he made the first survey of the Columbia River shortly after its discovery by Robert Gray in 1792. Commissioned by the Museum with a grant from the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission of Oregon, the model was built by Eric W. Pardy of Seattle , from plans developed and drawn by Hewitt R. Jackson. The original Chatham was built in Dover, England. Her length on deck was 72 feet , her moulded beam just over 22 feet, and her draft was more than 12 feet. The ungainliness suggested by her measurements was confirmed by those who sailed in her. Thomas Manby, sailing master in the Chatham, referred to her as "our chamber pot." In 1791, on the passage out the Northwest Coast, the botanist of the expedition wrote: "The Chatham was, without doubt, the most improper vessel that should have been pitched upon. She draws 12½ feet of water (aft), and is scarcely the burthen of 120 tons; she has niether breadth nor length in the least reasonable proportion; where then is the fitness for rivers and shallows, which they say we are to explore? As you may conclude, we are very tender, and for sailing we have not been a match for the dullest merchant vessel we have met with." Prosaic though she may have been in form and in sailing qualities, the Chatham nevertheless earned a prominent place in the history of maritime exploration in the Northwest.


SUSTAINING Mr. & Mrs. Oscar R. Daum, Jr., Weston Springs, IL SUPPORTING Hayden Island Inc., Portland Mr. & Mrs. George H. Jackson, Portland • Mr. Clarence W. Richen, Portland Mr. & Mrs. George Stadelman, The Dalles • Miss Ethel M. Wicks * CONTRIBUTING Mrs. Arthur W. Bell, Seaview, WA • Mr. Robert T. Butler, Boring • Mr. & Mrs. John C. Caldwell, Oregon City

Dr. & Mrs. E. W. Harvey• Mr. & Mrs. George Kesti • Mr. & Mrs. Lewis Lund • Mr. & Mrs. F. Warren Munro, Portland Mr. & Mrs. R.J. Murtagh, Portland • Mrs. Joseph Rogers, Wilsonville • Mrs. Donald C. Sloan Mr. & Mrs. James W. Spencer, Fair Oaks, CA * Mr. T.H. Thompson • Mr. Leonard G. Vernon • Mr. & Mrs. John A. Warren, Eugene • ANNUAL Mr. William F. Blitz, Portland Capt. & Mrs. H.T. Bohlman Mr. R. Dennis Brophy, Seaside Mrs. J.B. Caldwell, Tolovana Park Mr. & Mrs. Charles E. Chester, Redmond

Mr. & Mrs. J. Gordon Chester, Salinas, CA Mr. & Mrs. James Chester, Milwaukie Mr. & Mrs. F.E. Cox, Jr., Vancouver Ms. Barbara Fetesoff, Eldridge, CA Mr. Michael Johnson, Portland Mr. & Mrs. John L. Mansfield, Medford Mr. & Mrs. Dug Picking, Zephyr Cove, NV Mr. & Mrs. Bruno J. Risto, Boring Mr. & Mrs. Joseph G. Sawtelle, Jr., New Castle, NH Mr. Richard T. Schroeder, Eugene Mr. Robert K. Sutton, Hammond Mr. & Mrs. Carl Zilk, Portland STUDENT Doug Capps, Tigard Michael C. Jacobi, Incline Village, NV




MORRIS BERG Mr. & Mrs. Eric Hauke, Sr.

JOHN OLSEN Mr. & Mrs. Eric Hauke, Sr.

HERBERT B. COOPER, SR. Mr. & Mrs. Franz B. Drinker Mrs. Richard H. Martin

MRS. B. C. PAYETTE Mr. & Mrs. Rolf Klep

MICHAEL E. DAUGHERTY Mr. & Mrs. Rolf Klep MRS. SADIE ENKE Mr. & Mrs. Franz B. Drinker LEIF ERICKSON Mr. & Mrs. Eric A. Hauke Mr. & Mrs. Wilbur Hissner Mr. & Mrs. Rolf Klep WILLIAM MICHAEL FOSTER Mr. & Mrs. Rolf Klep WILLIAM R. KOCH Anna Anderson Mr. & Mrs. Rolf Klep A.J. L'Amie Mr. & Mrs. Michael Naab G. T. McCLEAN Mrs. Joseph M. Dyer EARL NELSON Mr. & Mrs. Eric Hauke, Sr.

GORDON R. ROBERTS Carol & Herb Anderson Ron & Anita Angberg Mr. & Mrs. Bellefeuille Brady-Hamilton Stevedore Co. O.W. Browning Mr. & Mrs. Jack Brunner Kathy Cadonau Marie Enberg Mr. & Mrs. John Estoos Mr. & Mrs. Erland Fahlstrom Catherine C. Fleming Mr. & Mrs. Ahti E. Hayrynen John Hissner Mel & Myrtle Hjorten Mr. & Mrs. Albin E. !hander & Family Mr. & Mrs. James A. Imlah Willard A. Ivanoff Gige & Bob Johnson Mr. & Mrs. Reino Johnson Mr. & Mrs. John H. Kallio Mr. & Mrs. G.V. Kamara Mr. & Mrs. Rolf Klep Mr. & Mrs. Eldon E. Korpela Mr. & Mrs. E. Lahti & Family Betty & Lois Latvala Mr. & Mrs. Einar Lovvold Mr. & Mrs. Jerry Luther Men of Bumble Bee Shipyard

Georgia Maki Mr. & Mrs. Ray J. Maki Mr. & Mrs. Oscar Mannisto Mr. & Mrs. Gary Marincovich Mr. & Mrs. George D. Marvin Elvie Paakkola Morgan Ronald Mowrey Margaret, Ray & Steve Mund Mr. & Mrs. Michael Naab Ake & Mildred Niemi Mr. & Mrs. Henry Niemi Robert Nikka Werner Nikkila Nels Osterholme Mr. & Mrs. John A. Parpala Mr. & Mrs. Lauri 0. Pernu Mike & Kathy Riva Bruce Sample Edie & Earl Schenk Mr. & Mrs. Toivo Sjoblom The Alan Takalo Family Roy Takalo Mr. & Mrs. Olaf Waisanen Art & Rena Wohlfeil JOHN F. SEELY Mr. & Mrs. Rolf Klep Mr. & Mrs. Michael Naab WALDEMAR SETON Mr. & Mrs. Franz B. Drinker Mr. & Mrs. Chester Irelan Mr. & Mrs. Rolf Klep ELSIE MAE VEEK Capt. & Mrs. H.T. Bohlman

I'LA..1.V of the

Rl\TER OREGAN. from an Actual Survey . Loud on : 71,bli..rlud LfrHi:w.r


b_y A.Arr owsmith ,

S\'lle of5 : eogrnpbi.c al Miles


ver proceeded down the coast, leaving Broughton to the river. ;er examining the estuary, Broughton left the Chaand proceeded upstream in a longboat , taking 1gs and charting as he went. On October 30, he I a point 108 miles from the ocean. Satisfied that ther reaches of the river would not be navigable for .hipping, he named the point for his commander and d downstream to the Chatham. On November 10, ,ed out of the river to rejoin the Discovery. .ny of the names Broughton bestowed on geographi;ures are still used today . Major features such as

Mt. Hood, Young's Bay, and Point George were named for eminent Britons; many tributary streams, etc., were named for officers of the expedition. Broughton honored Robert Gray by naming the Bostonian's anchorage Gray's Bay, and he accepted Gray's name for Point Adams. More important, he and Vancouver accepted Gray's naming of the river. Vancouver's official account and its accompanying charts, published in May of 1798, use the name Columbia River . It is curious that Arrowsmith, whose chart was based on the official account, did not. Soundings on the chart are given in fathoms . The small anchors indicate anchorages of the Chatham .

/CC='"''----' Orilw.rdt Rz"ver





Of the many charts of the Columbia River displayed in the Museum, most visitors find particularly interesting the one reproduced above, titled "Plan of the River Oregan, from an Actual Survey." Published by A. Arrowsmith in London on November 1, 1798, it was the first chart of the newly-discovered river to be issued for sale individually. The "actual survey" on which it is based was conducted by Lt. William Broughton six years before. Broughton commanded the Armed Tender Chatham, consort to the Sloop of War Discovery, in which Capt. George Vancouver made his monumental voyage of exploration to the Northwest Coast in the years 1790-95. Van-

couver had been instructed to chart the west coast of America between 30° and 60° North Latitude, and to determine once and for all whether any of the rivers or inlets on that coast led to the fabled "Northwest Passage," whose existence had been suspected by Europeans for centuries. It was in connection with the latter charge that Vancouver and Broughton attempted to enter the Columbia River on October 19, 1792. They had learned of the river's existence from Capt. Robert Gray of Boston, who had discovered it five months before. The Chatham anchored inside Cape Disappointment on the evening of the 20th, but the Discovery was unable to clear the bar. On the 21st,

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Construction of the Museum's new building is proceeding slowly. Framing of the interior walls is virtually complete, as is the structure's exterior.. Some preliminary landscaping will be done this summer, along with site drainage and utility hookups. There will be few other major advances, however, until more funds become available. Substantial sums are needed to finish the interior, install lighting, heating-ventilating, and sprinkling systems, and build exhibits. It is not expected that the building can be opened to the public before 1978 .




Some idea of the scale of the new building can be grasped from the drawing at left, which shows the interior of the Museum's largest gallery as it will appear when exhibits are completed. 120 feet long and 65 feet wide, this huge room will house small craft (the largest of which, a Coast Guard 36-foot motor surfboat, appears at right in the picture) and numerous other exhibits. Museum visitors are shown at the far (north) end of the room, looking through the functional periscopes of the submarine Rasher, while others watch passing ships from the observation deck overlooking the river.

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