Photo Credit: Frank Kovalchek

Transportation: Steam Ships

Transportation: Steam Ships

RSBHS

RSBHS

Before air travel, steam ships were the connection between Alaskan ports and to the outside world. Steamships were responsible for bringing supplies, mail, and people to these most distant shores.  The trip from southern ports was lengthy, could encounter storms, and of course occasionally ended tragically.


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MOUNT MARATHON:  Steam Ship Travel

This is Now and That was Then: Episode 3
Relevance: ***

This episode uses Mt Marathon to spring board into the importance of steam ship travel during the territorial days of Alaska. Until telegraphs and planes took over, steamships were the only connection to the outside world.  So the arrival of the steam ship was a big event.  To announce the approach of ships, people would climb Mt Marathon, spot the ship coming into the bay, then race DOWN the mountain to ring the bell in front of the cigar store.


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WAITING FOR SANTA

The Spaces Between:  Pgs 123-127
Relevance: ***

Though steamships were the connection to the outside world, they were not always reliably on-time nor were they without tragedy. This article takes place in December 1920 and looks at the anxiety and anticipation as the Christmas steamer (the Santa Claus Boat as it was called) packed full of presents, is many days late.


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CRUISING THE PAST

Relevance: ***

Photos and Videos: Provides a history of the Alaska Steamship Company and includes primary source images, maps, artifacts, and videos of steamships in Alaska. Valuable site to get a broad feel of Alaska steam ship travel.

MARITIME TIMETABLES IMAGES

Relevance: ***

Provides primary source advertisements for the Alaska Steamship Company and schedules of ports of calls around the state of Alaska.

ALASKA DIGITAL ARCHIVES: Steam Ships

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Photos: Provides primary source images of the steamships from the Alaska Steamship Company in and around Seward.

SHIPWRECK OF SS YUKON IN ALASKA

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Travel by steamship sometimes ended in tragedy.  Such was the fate of the SS Yukon.  Shortly after it left the Seward port in February of 1946 it struck shallow water in the Gulf of Alaska.  This video is narrated by pioneer diver Yvon Van Driessche.

BITS OF HISTORY: Wreck of the SS Yukon

Relevance: ***

Information regarding the grounding and sinking of the SS Yukon.

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