Eureka Waterfront & the Ethel Zane, c. 1890

Eureka, foot of K Street, c. 1890

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…

Notice the Carson Mansion in the background and the Carson Mill  to the left of the Mansion.

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.

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6 Responses to Eureka Waterfront & the Ethel Zane, c. 1890

  1. skippy says:

    A beautiful picture.

    This is the graceful Ethel Zane schooner built by Eureka master shipbuilder Peter Matthews in 1891. A small to moderate sized ship, she had 4 masts, one deck, an elliptic stern with a ‘billet head’ design, a gross weight of 498 tons and a net tonnage weight of 478 tons. Her dimensions were approximately 165 feet by 36 feet by 12 feet. She was launched from the foot K Street, the site of Matthews’ shipyard, and in service at San Francisco. She was abandoned 27 years later from the taking of this photograph– scuttled in 1918.

    From the History and Business Directory Of Humboldt County, 1890-1 regarding the maritime prospects for Humboldt in the year the Ethel Zane was launched:

    “SHIP BUILDING”
    A Flourishing Industry

    “THE SHIP-BUILDING interest is a very important one. There are two regular shipyards, H. D. Bendixsen’s and Peter Matthews’, and a marine railway, the latter equipped with all the modern appliances of marine science and capable of taking out vessels of the largest class plying our waters, which has proved a great convenience to our ship-owners both in time and the matter of economy, and has proved a source of profitable investment to the owners. At this time there are three vessels under course of construction and a number more have been projected.

    “Over one hundred vessels have been built at the various ship-yards of Humboldt Bay, and they have won the name of being superior crafts. There is a lavish abundance of the very best character of ship timber within easy reach of the Bay, and this industry offers one of the most promising openings to master ship-builders. We confidently assert that the advantages for enlarging this interest are unexcelled anywhere.”

    From Mr. Matthews’ advertisement in the History and Business Directory the same year:

    “P. Matthews”
    “Foot of K Street, Eureka, California
    SHIP BUILDER AND REPAIRER
    –Orders Executed With Great Care and Caution–

    “Every Specific Contract Guaranteed
    Estimates of Cost Cheerfully Fur-
    nished upon Request, Plans and
    Specifications, with exact-
    ness on Shortest Pos-
    sible Notice”

    The Business Directory also noted our rural isolation and forthcoming improvements:

    “POSSESSING only communication with the outside world by steamship or the stage, the growth of the county has necessarily been retarded. Unless the iron rail binds communities with the centers of trade and commerce, the prospective immigrant feels as if he were about to locate in a wilderness, but as two railroads are bent on having their terminus at Eureka, population is being attracted.

    “The San Francisco and Northern Pacific Railway and the Santa Rosa and Carquinez Railroad are heading in this direction, and it will be but a matter of a short period of time when Humboldt county will be as favored in point of railroads as it is by great natural resources. This has been the great stumbling block in the county’s advance, for, while other counties with but few advantages to offer have “boomed,” so to speak, Humboldt, with its great resources and wealth, has progressed, comparatively, but slowly. The present population of the county may be set down at 30,000.”

    …Historical readers enjoy viewing the 1890-1 Humboldt History and Business Directory linked above for a unique sense of the times. The publication oddly noted this on preface page IV for readers’ complete awareness:

    HUMBOLDT COUNTY”
    DESCRIPTIVE OF THE
    NATURAL RESOURCES
    DELIGHTFUL CLIMATE
    PICTURESQUE SCENERY
    BEAUTIFUL HOMES

    THE ONLY COUNTY IN THE STATE CONTAINING NO CHINAMEN”

  2. skippy says:

    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.

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