Alice Gertrude

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Alice Gertrude (steamship).jpg
(above) Alice Gertrude
(below) April, 1904 timecard for Alice Gertrude.
Name: Alice Gertrude
Owner: Thompson Steamboat Co. (initial)
Route: Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound
In service: 1898[1]
Out of service: January 11, 1907
Fate: Wrecked at Clallam Bay
General characteristics
Type: coastal steamship
Tonnage: 413 gross[2]
Length: 131 ft (39.93 m)[1]
Beam: 26 ft (7.92 m)[1]
Installed power: fore and aft compound steam engine, generating 500 hp (370 kW).[1]
Propulsion: propeller

Alice Gertrude was a wooden steamship which operated on the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound from 1898 to January 1907, when the vessel was wrecked at Clallam Bay.


Alice Gertrude was a freight and passenger steamship built in 1898, either at Seattle, Washington according to one source,[1] or at Port Angeles, Washington according to another source.[3] The ship was built either by[3] or for[1] the brothers John Rex Thompson (1855-1926) and Fred Thompson, who were prominent citizens of early Port Angeles doing business as the Thompson Steamboat Company. The Thompsons ran steamboats to Neah Bay from Port Angeles, and Alice Gertrude was built for this route. The vessel was named for two cousins, Alice Thompson, the daughter of Fred Thompson, and Gertrude Thompson, the daughter of John Rex Thompson.[3]

On January 8, 1902, Capt J. Rex Thompson sold his interest in the Thompson Steamboat Company, which included the Alice Gertrude and five other steam vessels, to the La Conner Trading and Transportation Company. In 1903 La Conner Trading and Transportation Co. effectively merged with the Puget Sound Navigation Company, and Alice Gertrude became part of the PSN fleet.[1]

In 1904 Alice Gertrude and another PSN ship, Rosalie ran on alternate days, six days a week, from Pier 1 in Seattle, which was at the foot of Yesler Street, for Port Townsend and the ports on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Rosalie's route ended at Clallam, with Alice Gertrude proceeding further to Neah Bay.[1]


On January 11, 1907, under the command of Capt. Charles Kalstrom (d.1917), a well-known and popular captain,Alice Gertrude was wrecked while trying to enter Clallam Bay. Kalstrom, who had been on the route for 16 years, encountered a severe snowstorm at about 9:00 pm. With visibility blocked, Kalstrom was putting the ship about, when at 10:15 pm, the vessel struck ground on Clallam Reef. The passengers and crew remained on board until the morning, when, with the assistance of the steam tugs Lorne[disambiguation needed] and Wyadda, they were all taken off. The steamer Rosalie took the passengers back to Port Angeles.[1] The financial loss was valued at $40,000.[2]

Alice Gertrude fell apart quickly and the only salvageable parts were the boiler and the engine, which were removed from the wreck by the steam freighter Rapid Transit. These components belonged to the insurance underwriter, but they were repurchasd by PSN and were later installed in the steam fishing vessel Independent.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Newell, ed., H.W. McCurdy Marine History, at 33, 76, 87, 99-100, 134, and 294.
  2. ^ a b United States Congressional serial set, Issue 5491, at page 454.
  3. ^ a b c Clallam County Genealogical Society, Obituary Transcriptions for John Rex Thompson and Fred Thompson (accessed 04-30-11).