Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The S.S. Santa Clara

Long Beach Mayor Ira Hatch is hoisted aboard the Santa Clara on a cargo hook,
March 12, 1912. The ship started the first passenger service from the Port of Long Beach.

In 1912, the North Pacific Steamship Company inaugurated the first passenger service at the Port of Long Beach, with its S.S. Santa Clara making weekly trips to San Francisco via Santa Barbara. A first-class voyage from Long Beach to San Francisco cost $7 (about $150 today).

The venture was not a success, writes Michael D. White in his excellent Images of America: The Port of Long Beach -- the line had been given free dockage at the port, but a lack of business ended the service after a few weeks.

The Santa Clara had an interesting history -- she was launched in Washington state in 1900 as the John S. Kimball, and was renamed the James Dollar before being christened the Santa Clara. On November 2, 1915, the ship hit a reef near Coos Bay, Oregon. At least 12 people died in the wreck and its aftermath, and looters pillaged the wreck for its cargo, even trying dynamiting the hull to make their job easier. Arsonists burned the wreck less than a week later.

To see photos of the wreck and read a full account of the tragedy, go to http://www.wholeshebang.com/WreckofSantaClara.htm

No comments: