USC&GS Yukon (1873)
|Length:||84 ft (26 m)|
|Beam:||22 ft 2 in (6.76 m)|
|Draft:||9 ft (2.7 m)|
USC&GS Yukon was a schooner that served as a survey ship in the United States Coast Survey from 1873 to 1878 and in its successor agency the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey from 1878 to 1894. She was the pioneering Coast Survey ship in many of the waters of the Territory of Alaska, including the Bering Sea and the western Aleutian Islands.
Yukon was the first Coast Survey or Coast and Geodetic Survey ship to bear the name. She entered Coast Survey service in 1873, having been built and outfitted specifically for Alaska service . When the Coast Survey was reorganized in 1878 to form the Coast and Geodetic Survey, Yukon became part of the new service.
Yukon is most noted for cruises under Acting Assistant William Healey Dall in 1873, 1874 and 1880, leading to publication of the Pacific Coast Pilot - Alaska in 1883. The 1873 cruise surveyed the western half of the Aleutian Islands, the eastern half having been surveyed the previous year by the schooner USCS Humboldt. The 1874 cruise first proceeded to Sitka, and then west along the coast of the Gulf of Alaska as far as Unalaska and then visited Nunivak Island and the Pribiloff Islands before returning to Sitka. In 1880, The Yukon initially followed much the same course as in 1874, but also included stops at Plover Bay (now Provideniya Bay) on the Siberian coast, the Diomede Islands, and Point Belcher, Alaska. A particular focus of these trips was to correct the position of the various bays and islands, which were often misplaced by as much as twenty miles on the charts of the era, and to document compass variation. These activities depended on astronomical observation to determine location and direction, observations which were notoriously difficult in the cloudy and variable weather of the Bering Sea. The Plover Bay visits of 1880 served to recalibrate the chronometers against the known longitude of that location. Marcus Baker was the astronomical observer for all three trips. Another focus was collection of biological specimens. The 1880 cruise carried Tarleton Bean as biological observer in addition to Dall. Bean's focus was to document the fish and other marine resources of the region from both a scientific and a practical perspective. Edward Perry Herendeen, a former whaling captain who later went to Point Barrow with the Ray expedition, was Sailing Master for all three trips.
In 1877 and 1878, Yukon carried out a hydrographic survey of upper Puget Sound under Lieutenant Richard M. Cutts, USN, assisted by Lieutenants Ambrose B. Wyckoff, and U. Harris. Wyckoff's observations convinced him that Puget Sound held the ideal location for a Navy Yard. His reports and enthusiastic promotion over the subsequent 13 years led to establishment of the Puget Sound Naval Station at Bremerton, of which he became the first commander 1891-93.
Yukon was retired from service and sold at Tacoma, WA in 1894. She was probably broken up at that time since she does not appear in the Annual List of Merchant Vessels for 1894, 1895, or 1902. Newspaper references to a halibut schooner Yukon may be to a smaller vessel built in Ballard WA, 1894.
- NOAA History, A Science Odyssey: Tools of the Trade: Ships: Coast and Geodetic Survey Ships: Yukon
- E. W. Eickelberg, Lituya Bay, Gulf of Alaska. U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey FIELD ENGINEERS BULLETIN no. 10, December 1936
- Lewis Publishing Company (1903) A volume of memoirs and genealogy of representative citizens of the city of Seattle and county of King, Washington, including biographies of many of those who have passed away "Ambrose B. Wyckoff" pp 385–388. Lewis Publishing Company, New York, Chicago.
- Baker, Marcus (1906) Geographic dictionary of Alaska, ed 2 United States Geological Survey Bulletin 299 p 27
- Rathbun, Richard (1884) "Fisheries of the United States" United States National Museum, Bulletin, Issue 27, Part 1 pp 527–8
- Puget Sound Naval Shipyard HistoryLink.org Essay 5579.
- United States Coast Survey work. Overland Monthly v 11 p573 1873.
- Bureau of Navigation, US Dept. of Commerce. Annual list of merchant vessels of the United States . Government Printing Office, Washington.
- United States Coast and Geodetic Survey. REPORT OF THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE US COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY SHOWING THE PROGRESS OF THE WORK 1873, 1874, 1875, fiscal years 1877, 1878, 1879, 1886. Google Books shows these as publication years 1875, 1877, 1878, 1880, 1881, 1881, 1887.
Accounts of the Yukon cruise of 1880
- New York Times (1880) Ililuliuk on Unalashka; A graphic picture of a village in Alaska. September 17, Page 2
- New York Times (1880) Cruising in the arctic; The Yukon at St. Paul and at Plover Bay. November 21, Page 8
- New York Times (1880) Ten days in the arctic; The Yukon cruising on the Alaskan coast. December 6, Page 2
- Baker, Marcus (1881). "Boundary line between Alaska and Siberia". Bulletin of the Philosophical Society of Washington. 4: 123–133.
- Dall, W.H. (1881). "Notes on Alaska and the vicinity of Bering Strait". American Journal of Science. 21: 104–111.
- Dall, William Healey (1917). "Reminiscences of Alaskan volcanos". Scientific Monthly. 7: 80–90.
- Bean, Tarleton H. "A NATURALIST'S ADVENTURES" in Rudolf Kersting (ed) The white world: life and adventures within the arctic circle portrayed by famous living explorers Lewis, Scribner & co., New York pp 249–266 1902