Steamship Brunswick

Our website section on ships has several photos of the Steamship Brunswick. She was wrecked off of Fort Bragg in February 1903 and, very unusually, was restored to full working order ……

“After toying with the vessel like she were a cork, the mighty breakers dropped her in among the jagged rocks of the south reef,” wrote The Beacon on Feb. 14, 1903 when telling of the wreck of the steam schooner Brunswick at Fort Bragg the previous Sunday.

About quarter to seven that morning rough seas pounded the harbor, ripping the steamer away from the wharf and pushing her onto the rocks-so quickly that the crew could barely get up from the breakfast table. They shot a line ashore in order to rig a breeches buoy but the gun broke loose with the recoil and painfully wounded the captain’s leg. His leg and his ship might have been wounded, but not his spirit. Captain Hammer and his crew would not give up the ship, despite her predicament.

“FINE STEAMER A TOTAL LOSS” read the headline. A sad epitaph for a ship only four years old, which lay “almost entirely out of the water at low tide.” The owners’ representative and an insurance inspector shook their heads and recommended dismantling the wreck to salvage the machinery and other useful fittings.

Since her owners, C.A. Hooper & Company, no longer wanted the Brunswick, she was bought for pennies on the dollar by the Union Lumber Company. After five weeks on the rocks, the vessel was successfully pulled from their craggy clutches. Though the ragged reef had ripped her wooden bottom to splinters, she floated like a cork—the clever seamen had filled her hull with 800 empty barrels.

Towed to Alameda, Brunswick had her hull lengthened by 20 feet. Restored to active service, she carried lumber in the coastal trade until the late 1930s. After serving Uncle Sam in World War II, she was back again hauling lumber. The oldest steam schooner in captivity. The moral: don’t give up the ship!”

Never give up looking for photos is my motto. This one of the Brunswick is a hand tinted postcard.

Steamship Brunswick

Steamship Brunswick

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