Historic Oregon Fishing Boat Broken Up

Tradewinds Kingfisher
Tradewinds Kingfisher on her maiden voyage in 1941. Photo courtesy Lincoln County Historical Society
The Oregon-based Lincoln County Historical Society has demolished a boat listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 50-foot Tradewinds Kingfisher, a charter fishing boat long associated with Depoe Bay, Ore., was deteriorating quickly and may have posed an environmental hazard, if it had sunk. “It had to be scuttled,” said Historical Society Director Steve Wyatt in a news release. “As a museum professional, my job is the preservation of objects; this was a difficult decision.”

Tradewinds Kingfisher was built in 1941 by Westerlund Boat and Machine Works of Jantzen Beach, Ore. After the Kingfisher owner and skipper, Stan Allyn (1913-1992) took possession of the boat, the U.S. entered World War II. The Kingfisher served as a boarding and patrol craft from Astoria to Coos Bay. At war’s end, the Kingfisher returned to Depoe Bay to serve as Allyn’s flagship charter boat. Many charter boats built in the 1950s copied the Kingfisher’s then innovative styling. The Kingfisher was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 and retired from service in 2000.

In 2001 the Historical Society accepted the Kingfisher as a donation, and worked to drum up essential public support for proper curation of the boat. A shipwright’s survey in 2012 concluded the Kingfisher needed more than $70,000 in renovations and repairs. To date, LCHS has invested more than $54,000 in the Kingfisher. Donations from a small, dedicated group of individuals and businesses of time and materials totaled an estimated $81,000. “Efforts aimed at generating awareness of the Kingfisher’s plight received virtually no public response,” according to the news release. “For the Society and a small band of Kingfisher aficionados, it was not unlike pulling the plug on a terminally ill family member.”

Salvaged pieces of Tradewinds Kingfisher will be displayed at Pacific Maritime & Heritage Center in Newport, Ore. Prior to demolition, the exterior of the boat was scanned using 3D laser technology, which created an exact record that can be utilized by researchers, model builders, and boat builders.

Numerous historic wooden-hulled vessels have been demolished in recent years, including the fishing vessel Kula Kai in 2012, the steam schooner Wapama in 2013, and the schooner Wawona in 2009.

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