That is an awfully big boat (ship?) for Humboldt Bay (keep clicking on the photo to magnify–and notice the water tower behind it). The ship’s flag says “Ethel Zane” and it seems a crowd has gathered ’round it…
Below is more information on this ship generously provided by our friend Skippy. Much appreciated, Skippy.
The beautiful and graceful lady Ethel Zane was launched May 11, 1891. She stayed true to her calling; her name stayed with her throughout. To my knowledge, not a single crew member lost their life during her tenure, although in the end, she sacrificed her own. Lynette’s Nor-Cal History site may comprise the best compiled information of her existence, here.
Lewis and Dryden’s Marine History of the Northwest (1895) noted her beginnings after construction in Eureka:
“Captain George Paton is interested in the steamer National City, running to Humboldt Bay, and is also an owner in the four-masted schooners Salvator, Ethel Zane and Bangor, in the lumber trade. Captain Christian Petersen purchased an interest in and superintended the building of the four-masted schooner Ethel Zane, which he has since commanded.”
Another owner of the Ethel Zane was C. A. Hooper, of San Francisco. She was sold by the San Francisco Pacific Shipping Co. to B. H. Tietjen about 1912, and resold again to Atkins & Kroll, importers of copra, in 1916. She faithfully sailed the Pacific Northwest from San Pedro to Washington; East and West across the South Pacific from Australia to the Hawaii Territory. She saw service during WW I transporting cargo.
The Port Townsend Daily Leader reported on February 10, 1910:
“SCHOONER ETHEL ZANE TO BE LAID UP FOR AWHILE”
“The schooner Ethel Zane which arrived Tuesday from San Pedro paid off her crew and will be laid up for a time. Her owners claim that at the present rate of charter for lumber it is cheaper to lay the vessel up and await until rates advance to a figure until the owners can at least realize interest on their investment. The Zane will remain at anchor in Port Townsend Bay.”
Despite the respite, the graceful old lady was starting to show her increasing age. The advancing infirmities of her 20 years at sea were taking their toll. She started slipping, experiencing her first mishap.
Honolulu’s Hawaiian Gazette reported from the Hawaiian Territory 8 months later:
Tuesday, October 18, 1910
CREW BATTLED FOR THEIR LIVES
–The Schooner Ethel Zane Almost Lost– 155 Ties Jettisoned–
“Taking in water at the rate of thirteen inches per hour, with the pumps barely equal to keeping down this alarming rise, and with the crew almost exhausted to save their own lives, the American schooner put into port Thursday night and is at present being kept afloat by an electric pump which was installed last night. The Ethel Zane left Hilo for Redondo, California, with a cargo of ohia railroad ties for the Santa Fe railroad, and after nine days ran into a gale which nearly sent her to the bottom.
“After battling with the gale it was discovered she had sprung a leak and was filling rapidly. When the gale began to subside the captain put her about and sailed for Honolulu. The crew worked night and day at the pumps, but the water continued to rise and grave fears were felt then that she would not keep afloat long enough to get in sight of Oahu. It was believed aboard than not only one leak was responsible for the inpour of water, but that her seams had opened up in many places. The heavy ties, like lead, seemed to menace the boat itself as had the ties on the Prosper and Aloha before, both of which had to put back to Honolulu for repairs.
“During the height of the gale the captain order(ed) the crew to jettison the cargo and about fifteen hundred ties were thrown into the sea. Finally late on Thursday the Ethel Zane arrived off port with signals of distress set and she was towed into port and moored at a wharf. The pumps however had to be kept going. A survey board… was appointed to inspect the vessel. They have recommended the vessel be unloaded and repaired here. This will probably take some time as the board discovered that there is a leak all over the hull; the butts are loose, the garboard streak letting water in by the ton and wooden pegs all over are loosened, and a part of her rigging has been broken.”
Repairs finished at Honolulu, she and her crew once again set sail under the tropical trade winds. Over the next 8 years she would eventually finish her final and remaining trans-Pacific voyage– entering the course of what would be known as the Great World War. By then she would become a crippled and infirmed vessel, a shadow of her former self, 27 years after her glorious launch from the Eureka shipyard where she was born.
On July 18, 1918, the grand four masted lady, the Ethel Zane, now the aging clipper of advanced years, served her last, loyal, and fateful trip on the high seas. Breaking her masts into pieces during a typhoon in the South Pacific, she was lost at sea and abandoned; but not before waiting for her faithful crew of nine to be rescued and saved by the square rigger Arapahoe as she sank into the depths.
The sleek schooner Ethel Zane was no more. Only a dim memory of her younger days– when she was the happier girl of her prime plying the open seas, now remains.