Alma is the last of some 400 locally-built scow schooners. Designed to haul bulk products like hay, salt and bricks, scows were well suited for the shallow reaches of the Bay and Delta.
Alma was one of five scows owned by James Peterson. She was used in
a number of local trades, but most often carried salt from Alviso to San Francisco.
"The bay used to be full of them... They worked on the tide; they'd go up the cricks and rivers and lay on the flats until they got their cargo in, and then out they'd go... God, they were a busy outfit..."
F.H. Wade, Scow Schoonerman