• A section of the bowsprint and figurehead on the bow of BALCLUTHA.

    San Francisco Maritime

    National Historical Park California

Cargo Is King! exhibit files

The majestic three-masted historic ship BALCLUTHA with a rainbow off her aft port quarter.

BALCLUTHA at Hyde Street Pier.


This exhibit is on the historic ship Balclutha. Step aboard the square-rigged sailing ship moored at Hyde Street Pier, and make your way below deck to the 'tweendeck. Here you can explore the lantern-lit, below-deck world crammed with sights, sounds, and smells of a past century. Balclutha sailed all over the world carrying a variety of cargo.

In case you might not be able to visit in person, we have provided a rich collection of PDF files that include many of the photographs, maps, illustrations, and text from the exhibit (Sorry, no smells.). It's not as good as the real thing, but we think you will enjoy them.

There is a lot of information, so the PDFs are in four groups.

introduction.pdf (2.8MB) Includes an overview of the exhibit.

grain.pdf (5.2MB) First Career 1886-1899 Cargo 'Round Cape Horn: Balclutha's cargo links Europe and San Francisco

lumber.pdf (3.3MB) Second Career 1899-1902 Balclutha delivers northwest timber to shore up Australian mines, and returns with coal to fuel San Francisco

salmon.pdf (5.8MB) Third Career 1902-1930 Seasons of Salmon: Balclutha, renamed Star of Alaska, serves the Alaskan canneries

Did You Know?

A white marking painted on the port side of Balclutha with letters and lines.

This "Plimsoll Mark" is painted on the port side of Balclutha and named for Samuel Plimsoll, an Englishman who fought to pass the Merchant Shipping Act of 1876. Before this law, many ships were dangerously overloaded and many sank. These “coffin ships” claimed the lives of many sailors. More...