Shipping and Ships Along the Mendocino Coast from 1850 to 1940

There would have been no lumber industry along the Mendocino Coast from 1850 to the 1930’s were it not for the sailing and steam schooners that brought in the supplies, tools and machinery into the Mendocino towns and took the lumber, shingles and tan bark out. It took four days to go by road from Fort Bragg to San Francisco in the late 1800’s. It took 14 hours by ship.

The Mendocino Coast is a very dangerous place. The (doghole) ports are small and the coast is very rocky. By our count over 250 ships were lost off of the Mendocino Coast between 1850 and 1940 with the greatest losses between 1850 and 1900 before steam took over from sail.

Until today our website has been sadly lacking in the quantity of information we have been able to collect on the ships that plied their trade along our coast. After some 250 hours of research by me and 80 hours of coding by Roger Thornburn, our webmaster, we now have a fairly comprehensive data base of the “Mendocino ships.”

For many of the ships the information we have is sparse. We hope, over time, to flesh out the ships’ stories. If you have any information to add to what we have we would really like to hear from you. If you know that our knowledgebase is inaccurate in any way, again, please tell us.

Here’s the link to the intro, “Shipping” and here is the knowledgebase. “Ships”.

Types of schooners

Types of schooners