In the early twentieth century Alaska held a strong allure for the young men of Hood River. Both Alva Day and Will Langille made that journey. Mr. Day created a compelling document of his excursion which we'll follow for a few days. It also gives me a chance to let you know we're making good progress digitizing the approximately 2700 Alva Day negatives in our collection. Thanks to the generous response to my earlier appeal, we have the materials we need to process and preserve these negatives.
Like all good sea tales, Alva Day's adventure began on the docks. Here we see the steamship SS Alameda at a Seattle pier on March 21, 1917, building up a head of steam.
The SS Alameda was built at a Philadelphia shipyard in 1883, and plied the waters of the Pacific until it burned at a pier in 1931. Many of its long years of service were spent along the coast of Alaska. It appears in numerous photos in Alaska state archives. I even ran across a breakfast menu: chilled Casaba melon with rhubarb sauce, grape nuts, fried smelt with lemon butter, and an oyster omelet were among the offerings.
I wonder about the man who seems to be bent over the ship's railing even before they left the dock.
He quite probably is a crew man checking those lines out or seeing if equipment was in working order. Doubt if he was planning on jumping. Though it appears they have a full head of steam and maybe ready to sail off, the gang plank is still in place. At least I do see life boats.
What does the sign on the warehouse say. I see something about railway, but not the best pair of eyes to read it.
Many of the old vessels say from the 1880's time frame had their last hurrah on the Pacific between say Seattle and Alaska.
Charlott on 9th April 2012 @ 7:14am
We also have this story from a woman's perspective at the museum. Edna Plog made this journey - chaperoned of course - and kept extensive diaries, including the size of the glaciers and her lively description of the unique Alaskan culture. Quite an adventure for a young lady of her time. It is nice to now see what type of vessel she was on for her travels.
Connie on 9th April 2012 @ 7:48am
The sign on the building says, "Pier 1, Northern Pacific Railway Company"
Arthur on 9th April 2012 @ 7:50am
That column of steam may be the whistle sounding impending departure. Good to hear that the fund raising was successful Arthur.
Could they steer this ship from either end? Arlen
Arlen Sheldrake on 9th April 2012 @ 8:37am
Any idea what type of fuel was used for the steam ship?
l.e. on 10th April 2012 @ 12:20pm
l.e., my guess is coal. Remember the boiler room scene from Titanic?
Arthur on 10th April 2012 @ 12:50pm
In 1915, my Grandfather Patrick J. Kelly served as a deckhand on this ship at the age of 14. He also was a deckhand on the SS Northwestern, both sailing from Seattle to Alaska. He obtained his 3rd Mates License at the age of 19. He went on to serve in WWI, and WWII as a naval captain. He joined the Puget Sound Pilots in 1945 and retired in 1963. Between the wars, he piloted ships for the American Mail Line, Alaska Steamship, and Nelson Steam lines.
Stephen on 10th October 2013 @ 2:31pm
Odds are that this steamer ran on coal, as there was a large coal mining operation east of town, but a fair amount of these boats also ran on cordwood as well.
The wheel on the stern was normally only used for docking maneuvers.
The steam escaping the small pipe on the funnel in view is not the whistle, just an auxiliary steam vent. The whistles on these steamers were almost always mounted on the forward side of the first funnel.
Mike on 20th August 2015 @ 8:17pm
My Grandfather was a coalpasser on the S.S. Alameda. Not sure if it was the same ship. He is listed on the crew manifest on trips between San Francisco and Auckland New Zealand. The time frame seems to be between 1893 and 1903
John Dickey on 3rd October 2017 @ 12:13pm
My grandfather served on this ship in 1916 out of Seattle.
Patrick on 18th April 2018 @ 9:29pm