Earlier this year, I was contacted by Kari Berger of the Seattle Metals Guild, a non-profit arts group with a focus on metalworking. The group was working on an exhibit of jewelry and sculpture made from wood salvaged from the historic schooner Wawona. I published a history of the ship in 2006, three years before … More Repurposing Wawona: Pieces at new exhibit made from ship’s salvaged wood
It’s been years since I’ve made a public appearance, but my friend Wes Wenhardt, the executive director of Foss Waterway Seaport in Tacoma, asked me to give a talk. I’ll be at FWS 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, December 10. I’ll be speaking about some of my favorite Puget Sound maritime heritage attractions listed … More Hey, Tacoma. I’m making a rare appearance at Foss Waterway Seaport!
Getting into the local library is one of the biggest challenges for the self-published author. I’ve leapt that hurdle with my one self-published novel, Bet: Stowaway Daughter, which I released as an e-book in 2009. It’s now available for checkout at the Seattle Public Library and the King County Public Library. Download it to your … More ‘Bet’ now at Seattle Public Library; Poll: Change Joe’s name
The news I dreaded for years arrived this week. The 1935 Kalakala, the only art-deco ferry ever built, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is headed for the breakers. Its death was slow, painful, and probably inevitable. It’s passing should not be a surprise. I listed it as endangered in 2011 and 2012 … More Why is it so hard to save our maritime heritage?
I’ve been monitoring efforts to create a maritime heritage area in Washington State that would cover Puget Sound (including Seattle), the Strait of Juan de Fuca between the U.S. and Canada, and the Pacific Coast of Washington State. This week, two Washington State congressmen, Derek Kilmer of the 6th district and Denny Heck of the … More A New Heritage Area in Washington State?
The Pacific Northwest lost a piece of its irreplaceable history last week, and I lost a friend. Dave Wright, the last surviving fisherman who sailed on the schooner Wawona, died on February 11 in Anacortes at the age of 94. Dave was the single most important source for my book, Shipbuilders, Sea Captains and Fishermen: … More Remembering the last man of a ship’s final crew
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 … More Historic Oregon Fishing Boat Broken Up
Museums, historic ship owners, and preservationists in Washington State have called on the state’s congressional delegation to support a bill that could lead to a special maritime heritage area covering the coast and Puget Sound. Thirty-two members of the House–21 Democrats and 11 Republicans–are co-sponsoring HR 445, the National Heritage Area Act of 2013. The bill … More 2nd Call from Heritage Groups for New Law
Congratulations to the 143-foot, former US Coast Guard tug Comanche, which is settling into a new berth on the waterfront in Bremerton, Wash. The boat is owned by the Tacoma-based Comanche 202 Foundation, a non-profit supported primarily by veterans of her service as a Coast Guard vessel. Launched in 1944 as a U.S. Navy tug … More WWII-era tug Comanche finds new home
The 1904 Lightship No. 83, also known as “Swiftsure,” has returned to her berth at Lake Union Park in Seattle, and I finally had a chance to visit and take a few pictures. I love her bright red paint and the “new” feel to her. I bet she has that “new car smell” on the … More Seattle Lightship Back Home
A Seattle preservation group plans to re-launch a historic lightship after three months of restoration work. Lightship No. 83, also known as Lightship Swiftsure, is nearing completion of the second phase of Northwest Seaport’s $1 million project to replace the deck, rigging, remove hazardous materials, and restore the Swiftsure’s primary electrical systems. When finished, the … More Seattle Lightship Nearly Ready for Re-Launch
The Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle has unveiled its plans for a $6.6 million education center next to its 37-year-old facility at Lake Union Park. In a statement released today, CWB says the wood, steel and glass education facility, designed by award winning Seattle architect Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects, recalls historic Northwest … More Design for Seattle Maritime Education Center Unveiled
Many maritime museums and heritage organizations are celebrating the Fourth of July next week with fireworks and other activities, and I’d like to make note of two. In the New York area, for the fifth year in a row, the North River Historic Ship Society will host an exclusive benefit party on the rooftop of … More Big 4th Celebrations on Both Coasts
Metropologie is a new tour company in Seattle that presents curated, personalized walking tours focused on local history, arts, music, and culture. I’m one of about two dozen guides, and my tour takes place on Seattle’s central waterfront. We start at the foot of Yesler Way, the second birthplace of Seattle (after Alki) and tell … More New Metropologie Curated Tours
Preservationists in Hawaii have lost a battle to save Kula Kai, the last wooden fishing sampan in the state. The 80-foot vessel, launched in 1949, was a locally designed and constructed fishing vessel that was the backbone of the state’s aku fishing fleet. Sampans caught tuna for canneries and fresh fish for local consumption. The … More Historic Hawaii Boat Broken Up
Norfolk, Va. — An inspection by volunteers from the U.S. Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) found a number of “manageable surprises” during a recent visit to the USS Wisconsin, a World War II-era battleship under the care of the Nauticus museum. “The best thing about the results was there were no big surprises, … More Navy Inspection of USS Wisconsin
Sea Travels: Memoirs of a 20th Century Master Mariner. J. Holger Christensen, as told to Vaughn Sherman. Patos Island Press, 189 pages, softcover, $15.95. All families share stories around the kitchen table about relatives who experienced adventure or misadventure. Few lives, however, are as packed with tales as Capt. J. Holger Christensen, the son of … More Seattle Sea Captain’s Memoir
Tillamook Passage: Far Side of the Pacific, by Brian D. Ratty. Published by AuthorHouse, 331 pages, hardcover, $29.95. Native Americans rarely take center stage in historical fiction with strong maritime themes, but Tillamook Passage: The Far Side of the Pacific is an exception. And the author, Brian Ratty, adds an even rarer element, the unique … More Rare View of Oregon Coast
Titans of the Rising Sun: The Rise and Fall of Japan’s Yamato Class Battleships, by Raymond A. Bawal, Jr. Published by Inland Expressions, 194 pages, softcover, $19.95. One of my earliest maritime history experiences was visiting the USS Missouri at the age of eight or nine. The battleship was tied up with other World War … More Yamato: A Doomed Battleship