Daily Event for September 13, 2010

On September 13, 1906 the Oregon ran on the rocks at Cape Hinchinbrook, Alaska. Oregon was built in 1878 at John Roach & Sons in Chester, Pennsylvania, she was 283' long and 37' at the beam, and registered at 2,335 tons. The ship had been used on the Portland to San Francisco route for many years, but a number of incidents caused her hull to be holed and she was filled with concrete to the point that she had been taken out of passenger service as being unseaworthy. She was used as a freighter, but around 1899 she somehow got approved to carry passengers again, much to the dismay of many captains who considered her to be an unlucky ship.

The wreck came late at night, some reports say there was fog and others say the ship was off course by several miles, one thing is for sure it was dark and the entrance to Prince William Sound had no light, one was being built, but it would be some time before it was finished. When the Oregon ran up on the rocks the damage was immediate, her bottom was torn out and as soon as the tide came in she began to fill with water, she was stuck fast and had no barrier between her and the open sea and it was feared that if a storm or even a heavy sea came in that the ship would break up rapidly.

At first some of the startled crew attempted to take to the boats, however the captain, Horace E. Soule, is reported to have threatened to shoot any man who tried to take a boat, needless to say after this the crew obeyed all further orders. Several of the men were sent off in a lifeboat to Valdez to report the incident and get help for the 110 passengers and crew that remained on the ship.

When word of what had happened to the Oregon reached Valdez several revenue cutters were dispatched to the scene and the Columbine removed all the passengers and crew and left the ship to her fate. A disaster was averted and no lives were lost, the Oregon however was a total loss.
© 2010 Michael W. Pocock

Oregon, date and location unknown.

2008 Daily Event