A Few Historic Vessels Surveyed by Lee H. Ehrheart
The Arthur Foss is one of the oldest tugboats in existence and an important part of history of the Pacific Northwest. Long before Boeing and Microsoft drove our economy, this ship was hard at work on Northwest waters. Northwest Seaport is pleased to be able to share this artifact and its colorful past with the public.
In her 117 years afloat, the Aurthur Foss has seen a lot of changes along Northwest shores, not as a passive bystander but as a worker helping the region grow. Launched at Portland in 1889 as the steam tug Wallowa, she was built to tow sailing ships over the Columbia River bar. She was caught up in the gold rush fevor of 1889, and made several voyages up the Inside Passage towing barges packed with would-be gold miners and supplies. (The Aurthur Foss is the last Alaskan Gold Rush vessel still operating.) She served in the Pacific during World War II, and was the last American ship to escape Wake Island before it fell to the Japanese invasion. She briefly became a movie star in the 1933 movie Tugboat Annie, playing the garbage-barge towboat Narcissus. But her greatest role in the Northwest economy was her work in the timber industry, towing log booms to mills around Puget Sound, mostly that same Douglas Fir that makes up her massive hull.
Retired after 80 years of hard work, in 1970 she was donated by Foss Maritime Co. to her current owner, Northwest Seaport. Here she began a new life as a teaching tool and floating museum. Located in Seattle at the south end of Lake Union, Northwest Seaport is a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring historic ships for the education and injoyment of the public. Visitors of all ages will enjoy a glimpse of life aboard a tugboat.
The Adventuress is a 133 foot gaff rigged schooner, built in Maine in 1913. She is owned by
The Virginia V is a steamship built all of Douglas Fir in 1922. Lee also assisted with the major hull rebuilding in the early 1990's at Lake Union Dry Dock, Inc.
John N. Cobb
The 93 foot wooden N.O.A.A. fisheries research vessel was recently retired and decommissioned after decades of service. Cobb was built in 1950 and homeported in Seattle. It was designed as a west coast purse seiner.
The Lady Washington is the square rigged flagship of the State of Washington. She was built in Aberdeen, Washington during 1987-1989.
Clearwater ~ Hudson River Sloop
The Clearwater was built in Maine by Harvey Garnage during the mid 1970's. This vessel is
an 80 foot long replica of an 1850's Dutch design sailing barge. These barges were used for transporting cargo and goods from Albany, New York (the eastern terminus of the Erie Canal) to New York City.
Endeavor ~ Square Rigger With Three Masts
The Endeavor was built in Perth, Australia during 1986-1989, then sailed around the world. On her North American tour she arrived in the Pacific Northwest in 1999. She is a replica of the ship Captain James Cook, RN, sailed around the world for England in the 1770's. Lee worked as a surveyor and shipwright on her graving dock hull repairs in the Victoria, BC Naval yard. He also worked as a rigger. Afterward, he and his daughter Elise sailed aboard as crew, working with Captain Chris Blake, master of the vessel.
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