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Northwest Seaport

northwest seaport alliance, northwest seaport maritime heritage center
The Northwest Seaport Maritime Heritage Center is a nonprofit organization in Seattle, Washington dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Puget Sound and Northwest Coast maritime heritage, expressed through educational programs and experiences available to the public The organization owns several large historic vessels moored at the Historic Ships' Wharf in Seattle's Lake Union Park

These vessels, especially the 1889 wooden tugboat Arthur Foss, are used as platforms for a variety of public programs, ranging from shows and festivals to restoration workshops

Northwest Seaport is adjacent to the Center for Wooden Boats on the shore of Lake Union in downtown Seattlecitation needed


  • 1 History of the organization
  • 2 Programs
  • 3 Historic fleet
    • 31 Tugboat Arthur Foss
    • 32 Lightboat Swiftsure, previously known as Relief
    • 33 Fishing troller Twilight
    • 34 Schooner Wawona
    • 35 Others
      • 351 Fireboat Duwamish
      • 352 "Mosquito Fleet" steamer Virginia V
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links

History of the organizationedit

Northwest Seaport was founded in the early 1960s as the Save Our Ships project to save the Wawona Save Our Ships bought the Wawona in 1964, followed by the light ship Relief


Northwest Seaport offers a variety of programs meant to reach a broad audience Some programs are conducted in partnership with the Center for Wooden Boats

Historic fleetedit

Several boats and ships moored in South Lake Union make up the collection of Northwest Seaport As of 2007 these vessels are on the National Register of Historic Places:

Tugboat Arthur Fossedit

Main article: Arthur Foss Arthur Foss

The tugboat Arthur Foss, built in 1889, is one of the oldest wooden-hulled tugboats afloat in the United States In 1898, in response to the Alaskan gold rush, she transported barges full of gold seeking miners and supplies up the Inside Passage There are no other Alaskan Gold Rush vessels still operating today She was cast by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie studio to play in its 1933 production Tugboat Annie12 In World War II, Arthur Foss journeyed south to join the war effort Before the Battle of Wake Island began in late 1941, she was the last vessel to get away After the war she was used in the timber industry1

The Arthur Foss has a six-cylinder, 700 horsepower 520 kW diesel engine Her top speed is 13 knots 24 km/h The vessel is 120 feet 37 m long with a beam of 25 feet 76 m and a draft of 16 feet 49 m When last operated the vessel was owned by Foss Launch and Tug now Foss Maritime who donated her to Northwest Seaport in 1970 Northwest Seaport renovated her in 20043 The vessel was declared a National Historic Landmark in 198945 and is a city landmark as well6 and a featured attraction at Seattle's new South Lake Union Park The vessel is open for public tours on most summer weekends, or by appointment

Lightboat Swiftsure, previously known as Reliefedit

Main article: Swiftsure Lightship No 83, aka Swiftsure, built in 1904, is one of Northwest Seaport's historic fleet

Lightship #83, now called Swiftsure, is a lightvessel launched in Camden, New Jersey, in 1904 and now moored in Seattle, Washington She steamed around the tip of South America to her first station at Blunts Reef in California, where she saved 150 people when their ship ran aground in dense fog Formerly known as Relief, Number 83 had numerous names on her sides, all of which indicated the location of her station Swiftsure refers to the Swiftsure Bank near the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which separates Washington from Vancouver Island She also guided ships near Umatilla Reef and the Columbia River Bar

Swiftsure is one of the oldest lightships in the country and the only one to have her original steam engines She is 129 feet long, with a beam of 28 feet, six inches and a draft of 12 feet, six inches Her displacement is 668 tons Her aids to navigation include a 1,000 watt primary light, a 140-decibel Diaphone horn, and a 1,000 pound foredeck fog bell

The ship was decommissioned in 1960, and purchased by Northwest Seaport in 1969 She is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989,45 and is on the Washington State Heritage Register She is moored on Lake Union, in Seattle, Washington, for restoration

Fishing troller Twilightedit

Twilight is a 36-foot 11 m fishing vessel Launched from Seattle's Fishermen's Terminal in 1933, she trolled in the Pacific until the 1980s, and came to Northwest Seaport in 20007

Schooner Wawonaedit

Main article: Wawona schooner Wawona

The three-masted, fore-and-aft schooner Wawona sailed from 1897 to 1947 as a lumber carrier and fishing vessel based in Puget Sound The schooner was built in California's Humboldt Bay by HD Bendixsen, one of the most important West Coast shipbuilders of the late 19th century From 1897 to 1913, she carried lumber from Grays Harbor and Puget Sound ports to California One of her captains, Ralph E "Matt" Peasley, inspired a series of popular novels

Wawona was 165 feet 50 m long with a 35-foot 11 m beam Her masts, before being cut down, were 110 feet 34 m tall

She was berthed at South Lake Union Park in Seattle adjacent to the Center for Wooden Boats She was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Washington State Heritage Register, and the vessel was an official city landmark8 However, after efforts to restore the decaying ship failed, she was dismantled in March 2009 After conferring with many experts in the maritime heritage field, locally and across the nation, Northwest Seaport created a plan to preserve key artifacts from the vessel Graduate Students from East Carolina University's graduate program in nautical archaeology documented the Wawona during the Wooden Boat Festival on 4–6 July 2008 In March 2009, the vessel was carefully deconstructed in a local shipyard and artifacts including wooden knees, beams, and paneling removed for storage and later display in on-land exhibits and memorials Some parts of the Wawona were donated to be used on the CA Thayer in San Francisco9


Northwest Seaport partners with a number of organizations responsible for the upkeep of other vessels moored at the Historic Ships Wharf

Fireboat Duwamishedit

Main article: Duwamish fireboat Duwamish

The Duwamish reigned as one of the most powerful fireboats in the United States several times over her 75-year working life Built in 1909 in Seattle for the Seattle Fire Department, she was equipped with three American LaFrance steam piston pumps rated at a capacity of 3,000 gallons per minute 11,000 lpm each After an upgrade in 1949, the pumps delivered a total of 22,800 gallons per minute 86,300 lpm This capacity was only exceeded in 2003 by the Los Angeles Fire Department’s Warner Lawrence, which delivers 38,000 gallons per minute 143,000 lpmcitation needed

Duwamish is 120 feet 64 m long with a 28-foot 85 m beam and a 96-foot 29 m draft Her registered gross tonnage is 322 tons 292 metric ton Retired in 1985, Duwamish was purchased by the Puget Sound Fireboat Foundation, which is maintaining and restoring the vesselcitation needed The Duwamish is active in the local Sea Scouts organization, a program of the Boy Scouts of America The vessel is moored at South Lake Union Park in Seattle Visitors may board the vessel when volunteer staff is availablecitation needed

"Mosquito Fleet" steamer Virginia Vedit

Main article: Virginia V Virginia V in 2007

The steamship Virginia V the "V" representing the Roman numeral five is the last operational example of a Puget Sound Mosquito Fleet steamer She was once part of a large fleet of small passenger and freight carrying ships that linked the islands and ports of Puget Sound in Washington State in the late 19th and early 20th centuries The Virginia V is a National Historic Landmark Vessel

Her original route was between the cities of Tacoma and Seattle, along the West Pass also known as “Colvos Passage” between Vashon Island and the Kitsap Peninsula The Virginia V is a "partner" vessel, and owned and operated by the Virginia V Foundation, is not part of NW Seaport's historic fleet

Today the steamer operates from Heritage Wharf at Lake Union Park in Seattle


  1. ^ a b The History of the Arthur Foss, Northwest Seaport Retrieved 01 March 2008
  2. ^ Filmography in Seattle, HistoryLink Retrieved 01 March 2008
  3. ^ Arthur Foss, Maritime Heritage Network Retrieved 01 March 2008
  4. ^ a b "ARTHUR FOSS Tugboat" National Historic Landmark summary listing National Park Service Retrieved 2008-03-01 
  5. ^ a b James P Delgado July 9, 1988, National Register of Historic Places Registration: Arthur Foss, ex-Wallowa / Tugboat Arthur Foss PDF, National Park Service  and Accompanying five photos, exterior and interior, from 1988 816 KB Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "nrhpinv2" defined multiple times with different content see the help page
  6. ^ Landmarks Alphabetical Listing for T, Individual Landmarks, Department of Neighborhoods, City of Seattle Retrieved 28 December 2007
  7. ^ "1933 Fishing Troller TWILIGHT" Northwest Seaport Retrieved 2014-08-13 
  8. ^ Landmarks Alphabetical Listing for S, Individual Landmarks, City of Seattle Retrieved 28 December 2007
  9. ^ "Partner Vessels" Northwest Seaport Retrieved 2014-08-13 

External linksedit

  • Northwest Seaport - official site
  • Maritime Heritage Network, a directory of maritime history resources, attractions, and organizations in the Puget Sound area
  • Photos
  • Slideshow of the Final Voyage of the Wawona

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