This Day in Maritime History, February

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

Line drawing of the collision
San Francisco Call, Volume 83, Number 66, 4 February 1898.

(Public domain)

February 3, 1898

The ferryboats Piedmont and Garden City collide in a dense early morning fog on the San Francisco Bay between San Francisco and Goat Island. The ferries collide end-on and both received significant damage. One passenger is injured. The San Francisco Call reports on it the next day.

Cover of book "California gold rush voyages, 1848-1849: three original narratives" showing black and white drawings of sailing ships surrounding the words.

February 6, 1849

On page 266 of the book, California gold rush voyages, 1848-1849: three original narratives, Captain Forbes, relieved of his duty due to illness, writes in his diary on the way to San Francisco, "I am heartily sick and tired of this life of vulgar deportment and if the present is a sample of passengers in general bound to California, I would not command this ship for $10,000 a year, for one cannot handle pitch without soiling his hands."
Black and white photo of the steamship President Hoover passing under the Golden Gate Bridge
SAFR 21374, B07.14,850n

(Digital image by NPS)

February 7, 1937

Captain George W. Yardley is Master of the Dollar Line's President Hoover, an $8 million dollar luxury liner which is the first ship to leave the Port of San Francisco after the marine strike of 1937.
Black and white photograph of shipbuilder Matthew Turner
Matthew Turner, P.9,168n

(Digital image by NPS)

February 10, 1909

Noted shipbuilder and businessman Matthew Turner dies after a short illness due to gangrene of the foot. Known for building the most vessels on the West Coast, Turner also designed and built yachts for members of the San Francisco Yacht Club. An elementary school in Benicia will be named for him.
Color lithograph of Great Republic
Lithograph of starboard view of Pacific Mail Steamship Company's Great Republic, underway with passengers on deck, published by Currier & Ives. (SAFR 63)

(NPS photo)

February 16, 1871

Pacific Mail steamer Great Republic arrives in San Francisco from Hong Kong and Yokohama with a cargo of 20,000 packages of tea and 400 bales of silk as well as 54 cabin passengers and 30 European and 145 Chinese steerage passengers. Several mild cases of small pox, contracted in Yokohama, occurred during the voyage but no new cases have been reported for over two weeks. Customs House Inspectors search all the Chinese baggage and find and confiscate serveral hundreds of dollars worth of opium.
Black and white cover of the book

February 17, 1849

Vincente Perez Rosales arrives in San Francisco and writes in his journal that "the bay of San Francisco is without a doubt the loveliest in the world next to Rio de Janeiro…The coastline of this handsome body of water is very irregular and forms a series of lagoons and lesser bays…a ship could anchor in perfect safety anywhere along the shore." --p. 16 of We were 49ers! : Chilean accounts of the California Gold Rush by Edwin A. Beilharz and Carlos U. Lopez.
Yellow sheet of paper with black printing, under black and white image of hotel
Cover of Hotel Vance menu for the launching of barkentine Conqueror (SAFR 112)

(NPS photo)

February 21, 1918

A large number of Sausalito citizens give San Francisco Mayor, James Rolph, an unexpected ovation as he and his guests cross from the ferryboat to his special train on their way to Eureka for the launching of Rolph’s new 4-masted barkentine, Conqueror, at the Rolph Shipbuilding Company. Rolph is accompanied by more than one hundred invited guests.
Small photograph of the stern of the Pelican boat Chloe Maru
Stern of the Chloe Maru (SAFR 20410)

(NPS photo)

February 25, 1961

Marin Magazine features the locally built and designed Pelican boat Chloe Maru, introducing her to the SF Bay Area sailing community. William Short began designing the Pelican class one-design boat in 1956 and completed the Chloe Maru, the first Pelican to be launched and sailed, in 1959.
Cover of Steinbeck's The Log from the Sea of Cortez depicting a color illustration of the coast with a boat near shore
Cover of Penguin paperback edition

February 27, 1902

John Steinbeck is born in Salinas, California. In the spring of 1940 he would set sail for the Sea of Cortez with his friend Edward Ricketts (the model for "Doc" in Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday, among other characters) and write about the trip in Sea of Cortez: A Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research, which was published a year later. A portion of this book would later be published in The log from the Sea of Cortez : the narrative portion of the book, Sea of Cortez, by John Steinbeck and E.F. Ricketts, 1941, here reissued with a profile "About Ed Ricketts."
Textual title page inside decorative border
Title page of the Research Center's copy

(Digital image by NPS)

February 29, "Leap Day"

The fictional character Frederic the pirate apprentice in Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance is born on this day, and must serve his apprenticeship until his "21st birthday" (that is, when he's 84 years old) rather than his "21st year" when he would be age 21.

Last updated: February 22, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

2 Marina Boulevard, Building E, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94123


(415) 561-7000
The public information office is open from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. PST during weekdays and we will respond to all messages within two business days.

Contact Us