Monday, January 8, 2018

The USS Portland, the steamer that helps set off the Klondike Gold Rush, molders away on a lonely sand bar in Alaska.

On July 17, 1897, the steamship Portland arrived in Seattle from Alaska with 68 miners and a cargo of “more than a ton of solid gold” from the banks of the Klondike River in Canada’s Yukon Territory.

The news spread fast and by 6 a.m. a crowd of more than 5,000 greeted the Portland when she tied up to Schwabacher Wharf.

Among the Portland’s passengers were:
William Stanley, a former Seattle bookseller, and his son, who went to the Yukon valley in 1896 and returned with from $90,000 to $112,000 in gold dust and nuggets;
Frank Phiscator from Baroda, Michigan, who spent just three months in Alaska and disembarked the Portland with from $96,000 to $120,000 in gold;
T. J. Kelly, a Tacoma resident, who returned from the Klondike with $10,000 in gold;
Clarence Berry, a Fresno, California, fruit farmer and his wife, who unloaded off the Portland about $135,000 in gold dust and nuggets.
The actual amount unloaded from the Portland was two tons of the golden metal.
Thirteen years later, on Nov. 12, 1910, the Portland struck an uncharted reef near Katalla, AK. Water poured through a large hole in her hull and she began to settle. In an attempt to save her Captain Franz Moore ran her full speed onto the beach, and she settled to the bottom in shallow water. The passengers and mail were taken ashore safely. Moore exonerated but the Portland was a total loss. Wreckers removed all items of value and the vessel was left to break up and disappear in the sand. The insurance company paid $41,500 to owners

The double Scotch boilers that powered the ship are still there, rusting happily away.

The site where the ship rests

1 comment:

  1. will happen to us as well. Sic transit gloria mundi.

    Written on Warrior's tombstones in the middle ages:

    Tu fui, ego eris - What you are, I was. What I am, you will be.
    Quod sumus hoc eritis - Such as we are, you will be.