Loading lumber at Westport, CA in the 1890’s

Whether this pic is what it says, “Loading lumber at Westport, CA in the 1890’s” may not be correct. The sailing schooner seems to be too close to the shore to be Westport and the view of the town through the rigging doesn’t seem quite right either. Be that as it may this pic is another tiny sliver of  local Mendocino Coast History:

Loading lumber at Westport CA. in the 1890's

Loading lumber at Westport CA. in the 1890’s

Steamship Sequoia

One likes to think that the list of ships we have in the website is complete. Well, apparently not. I have unearthed two pics of a Steamship named Sequoia that are not in our list. Alas, I know nothing of her save for the fact that these two photos attest to her operating along the Mendocino Coast.

Loading the Sequoia at Fort Bragg

Loading the Sequoia at Fort Bragg

Steamer Sequoia in Mendocino Bay

Steamer Sequoia in Mendocino Bay

Please contact me if you have any more info on the Sequoia.

Unloading Lumber from the Mendocino Coast in Stockton

Stockton is located on the San Joaquin River in the northern San Joaquin Valley. Built during the California Gold Rush, Stockton’s seaport serves as a gateway to the Central Valley and beyond. It provided easy access for trade and transportation to the southern gold mines. A lot of the cut lumber from the mills along the Mendocino Coast went to San Francisco and the towns along the California Delta.

Whilst our blogs and website have many pics of steam and sailing schooners being loaded this is the first I have come across showing Mendocino Coast lumber  being unloaded. The pic appears in the Haggin Museum, Stockton.

Unloading Mendocino Coast cut lumber in Stockton CA

Unloading Mendocino Coast cut lumber in Stockton CA

I found the pic on Lynn Catlett’s “You know you are from Mendocino if ……. “

S.S. Orteric

The  S.S. Orteric was a British 6,696 ton tramp steamer built in 1919, 412 feet long and 55 feet wide at the beam. Launched in 1919 she was commanded by Captain Harper. She was grounded 4 miles north of Anchor Bay and lost on December 11, 1922 with a cargo of Black Persian Sheep, which escaped into the hills. The ship was partially salvaged with John Ross buying the anchors and chains for mooring at Rockport.

Our website has only pics of her as a wreck. This one shows her at sea.

S. S. Orteric at sea

S. S. Orteric at sea

Another wee drop of the old histoire.

Steamship Caspar – the last of three of the same name

The Caspar Lumber Company had three steam schooners named, “Caspar”.

The third Caspar was a steel steam schooner displacing 739 tons. She was 175.5 ‘x 34.0’ with a  700 hp engine. Initially named the “Nushagek” she was built in 1904 by United Engineering Works, Alameda, California. The Nushagek was purchased in 1925 from Alaska Packers Association and was renamed when the second Caspar” was sold. The Caspar was laid up in 1939.

The third Caspar had an eventful life. While proceeding very slowly in a dense fog on October 2, 1937, she struck Point Reyes Rock 33 miles north of San Francisco. The crew worked valiantly, and with the last remaining bit of steam finally beached the vessel in 15 feet of water in Drakes Bay. There were two large holes in her hull, one 10 feet wide and the other 3 feet wide, through which water poured into the hold. She was refloated and repaired. On December 16, 1937, she collided with the steamer  “Julia Luckenbach” in San Francisco Bay. The latter was apparently undamaged as it continued on its way to Portland, but ‘ the “Caspar,” with a damaged bow, was obliged to go to the shipyard for repairs. The Caspar was laid up in 1939. During World War II she was taken over by the Army and later wrecked in Alaska.

Why am I “featuring” the third Caspar? Well, according to the September 7th, 1921 Fort Bragg Advocate:

The steam schooner Caspar transported 4,260,000 feet of lumber to San Francisco from Caspar during the month of August. She made seven round trips.”

According to a movie we have the most likely destination was a crate and box making factory located in Pittsburg which is located on the southern shore of the Suisun Bay in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay. Caspar Lumber Company had a controlling interest in the factory.

Pics of the third Caspar seem to be as rare as hen’s teeth. This one – of her as a wreck – was on the website.

The wreck of the third Caspar

The wreck of the third Caspar


1918 was a year when there were PLENTY of Salmon in Fort Bragg, CA.

How do I know this? well, there was a snippet in the local – the Advocate – that told me so:

The salmon mild cured at Noyo last winter were recently put on the New York market and sold at a top-notch figure, being pronounced an exceptionally high grade.”  So sayeth the February 13th, 1918 Fort Bragg Advocate.

Noyo was a community and a mill located mostly on the flat of the Noyo River. In 1858 Henry Weatherby and Alexander MacPherson, the owners and builders of the Albion mill built a mill on the flat of the Noyo River. In the winter of 1858 the mill site was flooded making an almost new start necessary in the spring of 1859. The machinery came in by sailing vessel and was landed onto a barge from the ship. The barge had to wait for a high tide to get the machinery to the mill site.  The mill built one of the earliest railroads which hauled logs from Pudding Creek to the Noyo River. The railroad ran along what is now Harrison Street in Fort Bragg.

S,S, Point Arena – For Sale!!!!!!!

This is a very unusual picture for a couple of reasons: a) it clearly shows a postcard that has been posted and b) it is the only ship that I know of that was offered for sale via a postcard. I wonder how much they wanted for her?

What does the website know of the S.S. Point Arena? Built by George W. Boole in San Francisco in 1887. She displaced 223 tons. She was stranded and lost off of Pigeon Point on August 9th, 1913. She was a two masted steam schooner.

Here’s the pic:

Steamer Point Arena

Steamer Point Arena