SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Maritime History
By John Stewart


April 2, 2007

Editor, SitNews,

Thank you for this fine public service.

I liked seeing Terri Jirschele's photo of the Bee, thanks for publishing it.

It also got me thinking this might be a good forum to get a feel for any interest within the community for a maritime museum. I took on the Bee in addition to my other boats with the notion that she should be shared with others.

I have long wanted to see a venue commemorating our ties to marine transportation in this state. There is more coastline in Alaska than the rest of the country put together and we are still completely dependent upon our weekly tug and barge and ferry traffic here in southeast and container ships farther north.

It seems to me that there is a fine opportunity to establish such a facility in Ketchikan with its large visitor population.

I've talked to other owners of antique and classic boats who express an interest, but we are aware of the need for public support in the form of a place in the downtown harbors. The boats would continue to pay moorage.
Over the years, I've revived a number of old beauties and sent them on their way. Sometimes they were too far gone for one man's pocket and I had to scrap them. In those sad cases there was always some bits of jewelry to be saved.

Others have done the same, and the result is that there are many smaller items that can be shared as well. There are engines powered by steam, gas, diesel, deck hardware and navigation lights, helms, Compasses and whistles from sailing ships, steam ships, trap tenders, Pile drivers, tugs, gillnetters, sieners and trollers.

There are also skills, a complete complement of tools and machinery, and a library of around the world charts including near coastal, harbor, and mid-ocean prevailing conditions.

Does anyone in this island community care about such a concept? Really?

John Stewart
Ketchikan, AK

Received April 01, 2007 - Published April 02, 2007

About: "Sucker for old wooden boats; raised in a boat yard."


Related Front Page Photograph:

The Bee - The Bee is a 106 year old wooden tug, owned by John Stewart. She is powered with one of the few functioning 120hp Atlas Imperial Direct Drive Engines. Front Page Photo by Terri Jirschele
Friday - March 30, 2007


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska