Vessels in the Port of San Francisco


° Clippers ° Steamships ° Shipping Lines ° Ship Builders ° Vessels and Rigging ° Shipwrecks

The Wapama Steam Schooner, a wooden-hulled steamer, was built in 1915 for the coastal lumber trade, is unique to the West Coast.

Wapama is the last of 235 steam schooners built on the Coast and was built for the run between Oregon and California. The long shallow hulls of the steam schooners made for a weak structure, prone to sag at the bow and stern. As age and decay sapped the strength of Wapama's massive timbers, this "hogging" process became so bad that she could not remain afloat
Wapama.The Wapama, a wooden-hulled, steam-propelled vessel built for Charles R. McCormick's famed steamship company, remained in the West Coast fleet until 1947.

The last surviving example of more than 220 wooden steam schooners designed for the 19th and 20th-century Pacific Coast lumber trade and coastal service, Wapama's construction is unique in its use of sister frames and lack of steel strapping. Condition: The wooden hull of the Wapama is so badly deteriorated from dry rot that she has been place out of water on a barge with internal and external structural supports. Portions of the vessel are unsafe for public access.

She is severely distorted in both her proper vertical and mid-body planes. These distortions have significantly weakened the structural integrity of the vessel. There are no funds to address the advancing deterioration. The San Francisco Maritime park's General Management Plans call for minimal stabilization work for the vessel.

The Pacific Steam Schooner Foundation has had limited success in seeking financial support. Although the vessel has been moved to a new berth in Richmond, CA there are no funds to address the advancing deterioration. HAER documentation has been completed by the National Park Service. Recommendation/Change since last report: Wapama needs a permanent location and funding for stabilization and restoration.

In the late 19th Century, wooden steam schooners began to replace sailing ships for hauling lumber and passengers up and down the Pacific coast. Over two hundred of these ships were built between the 1880s and 1920s.

The Wapama is the only survivor. She is currently undergoing preservation efforts in Point Richmond, and a lack of funds jeopardizes her continued survival and return to Aquatic Park.


Ships at the seaport of San Francisco, California
From the hills looking north to Marin County over San Francisco Bay

From the Alta California: "From January 1, 1849 to April 11, 1849, there were a great many arrivals by sea, including at least 3,000 seamen who abandoned their ships upon reaching San Francisco.

Californians 13,000
Foreigners 18,500
TOTAL 94,000

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.






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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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