This Day in Maritime History, December

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

Black and white cover of the book

December 1, 1852

From the diary of Benjamin Vicuna Mackenna, "We crossed the equator, twenty two days out of Valaparaiso…I escaped the Baptism of Neptune the sailors had planned for me. It was not because they respected me as an employeer--the laws of the sea are inexorable about that; it was the captain had bought them off with the promise of a double wine ration at Easter." (From, We were 49ers! : Chilean accounts of the California Gold Rush / translated and edited by Edwin A. Beilharz and Carlos U. Lopez. - Pasadena, Calif. : Ward Ritchie Press, c1976)
Mailer advertising the coastal service with picture of the vessels on the right and manuscript address, stamp, etc. on the left
Menu mailer advertising the Los Angeles Steamship Company's coastal service aboard the Harvard and Yale (SAFR 8887)

(NPS photo)

December 2, 1910

The steamer Yale arrives in San Francisco. The trip took under 18 hours, bringing an end her maiden voyage in a new coastal steamer service.
Color painted portrait of Alma Spreckels centered on a blue background surrounded by typography
Biography of Alma Spreckels

December 6, 1940

Mrs. Alma Spreckels establishes the Museum of Science and Industry as a non-profit vehicle for the collection known as the "Marine Exhibit." This exhibit eventually became the intial collection of the Museum of Science and Industry, a collection which, in 1951 and 1952, became the basis of what is now the SFMNHP object collection.
Black & white print (exact medium unknown) of a pencil or crayon original, on blue-gray art paper: starboard broadside view of 3M clipper "Ship Thermopylae under easy sail" (in pencil, bottom margin). Signed at lower right on print
Ship Thermopylae under easy sail, by Mark Myers, 1976 (SAFR 19844)

(NPS photo)

December 8, 1890

British tea clipper ship Thermopylae arrives in San Francisco with a cargo from Hong Kong on her first visit to San Francisco.
1580s map of the world with pictorial inset stamps of portraits of Sir Francis Drake, Elizabeth 1, and Golden Hind
British Virgin Islands postage stamps commemorating Drake's circumnavigation (SAFR 15571)

(NPS photo)

December 13, 1577

Sir Francis Drake sails from Plymouth, England with a squadron of five ships to circumnavigate the globe.
Black and white photo from the deck, looking towards the bow, with San Francisco in the background
(SAFR 21374, B09.28,378pl)

NPS photo

December 23, 1893

Union Iron Works launches the two-masted pilot schooner Gracie S. with all the fashion and ceremony of a modern cruiser. Built to replace the George Peabody, the Gracie S. cost $17,000 and is considered the best of the pilot schooner fleet. She is named for the eldest daughter of John D. Spreckels.
Color illustration of tugboat Eppleton Hall on the water with green hill behind
Cover of The Eppleton Hall: being a true and faithful narrative of the remarkable voyage of the last Tyne River steam sidewheel paddle tug afloat, Newcastle-upon-Tyne to San Francisco, 1969-1970, by Scott Newhall

December 25, 1969

The Eppleton Hall begins her voyage from England to San Francisco to begin her career as a museum ship.
Black and white photo of the ship sliding down the ways
Klamath (built 1924; ferry) launching at Bethlehem Shipbuilding Co. yard, San Francisco, CA, 1924 Dec 29

December 29, 1924

The ferry Klamath launches at Bethlehem Shipyard, San Francisco, California.

Last updated: September 28, 2017

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