This Day in Maritime History, August

This Day in Maritime History highlights the connections between SF Maritime NHP Collections and maritime historical events through the year.

January -- February -- March
April -- May -- June
July -- August -- September
October -- November -- December

Round photographic portrait of Melville on green background with typography at top and bottom

August 1, 1819

Herman Melville is born in New York City. He will later write what is considered by some to be the greatest English language sea novel, Moby Dick.
Drawing of the ship San Carlos under the title and volume text

August 5, 1775

The launch from the ship San Carlos becomes the first European vessel to enter San Francisco Bay, according to the articles in the summer 1975 issue of the Sea Letter.
Three red "Skipper" ribbons with black writing on the ribbons, two with "Driver" and one with "Mechanic"
Seattle Seafair 1950 "Skipper" ribbons (SAFR 22268)

(NPS photo)

August 11, 1950

The first Seattle Seafair celebration took place August 11-20, 1950. Boat racing, including hydroplaning, on Green Lake occurred on August 18-20 and proved to be a major crowd pleaser.
Newspaper article clipping with photographs of Horie's arrival in Mermaid at dock and portrait of Horie
Newspaper article announcing Horie's arrival from Research Center's Kenichi Horie pam file.

August 12, 1962

Kenichi Horie, the first person known to sail alone across the Pacific Ocean, arrives in San Francisco on board the Mermaid.
Decoratively printed form filled in with cursive handwriting, bound by a blue ribbon with a red wax seal
Stetson G. Hindes patent for Screw-Propellers (SAFR 18873, HDC 525)

(NPS photo)

August 14, 1894

Patent certificate No. 524,500 is granted to Stetson G. Hindes of San Francisco, California for "a new and useful improvement in Screw-Propellers."
Green typography on a cream background with a drawing of an overhead view of the ship in the canal in the middle

August 15, 1914

The Panama Canal opens.
Rectangular panel of brown-stained wood mounting a brass plaque with inscription: "PORT DIRECTOR'S / CHARTERED TRANSPORT AWARD / 12TH N.D. [i.e. Naval District] / S.S. MATSONIA / 8 - 16 -'44 / ARMED GUARD (PACIFIC)."
Port Directors award plaque (SAFR 20563)

(NPS photo)

August 16, 1944

The SS Matsonia earns the 1944 Port Director's Award for service in World War Two.
Title page with signature, date, and drawing of a sailboat with birds

(NPS photo)

August 19, 1964

Kenichi Horie signs the Research Center's rare copy of his book Kodoku about his solo sail across the Pacific.
Cover of book "California gold rush voyages, 1848-1849: three original narratives" showing black and white drawings of sailing ships surrounding the words.

August 27, 1849

John N. Stone, passenger bound for California around Cape Horn, writes in his diary, "… to our inexpressible joy, and in uncontrollable excitement, we quickly found that we had at last entered the "Golden Gate"…we all had reason to be joyful at this termination; and, moreover, thankful, that life itself had been preserved to us all during so long a voyage- not only from perils of the sea, but under a change of habits, and a regime of diet, to which few of us had ever before been subjected." (California gold rush voyages, 1848-1849: three original narratives, p. 164)

Last updated: September 28, 2017

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