Daily Event for February 5

In a storm off Haines, Alaska, Eldred rock caused the loss of the steamer Clara Nevada. She had been built in
1871 in Camden, New Jersey as Hassler for the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, the forerunner of the modern
day USGS. Having been involved in several famous expeditions along the Alaska coast she was sold in 1897
to the McGuire Brothers and renamed Clara Nevada.

They had bought her to cash in on the expected Alaska gold rush and planned to charter the ship to prospectors
hoping to find the mother load. She made one voyage from Seattle to Skagway which could best be described
as a small disaster, collided with a ship before leaving port, ramming the dock at Port Townsend and two
breakdowns, but she made it.

Her return voyage from Skagway would be her last. On Feb. 5, 1898 during a terrible gale she hit Eldred rock
in the Lynn Canal and went down with all on board. The total number of lives lost is unknown, but is thought
to be about 104.

Stories about the ship being destroyed by a cargo of dynamite or even sabotage seem to be unfounded and
not supported by an examination of the wreck. The only good thing that came from the loss was the construction
of the Eldred Rock lighthouse, which was constructed in 1902-06.

© 2009 Michael W. Pocock

2005 Daily Event
2007 Daily Event