Wawona (schooner)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wawona 39.jpg
Wawona, 2009
United States
BuilderHans Ditlev Bendixsen, near Eureka, California
Out of service1948
FateDismantled, 2009
General characteristics
Class and typeFore-and-aft schooner
Length165 feet (50 m)
Beam35 feet (11 m)
Draft12 feet (3.7 m)
Wawona (schooner)
Wawona 21.jpg
Wawona, 2007, needing major restoration
LocationSeattle, Washington
Coordinates47°37′37″N 122°20′10″W / 47.62694°N 122.33611°W / 47.62694; -122.33611Coordinates: 47°37′37″N 122°20′10″W / 47.62694°N 122.33611°W / 47.62694; -122.33611
ArchitectHans Bendixsen
NRHP reference No.70000643[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP1 July 1970
Designated SEATL14 March 1977[2]

Wawona was an American three-masted, fore-and-aft schooner that sailed from 1897 to 1947 as a lumber carrier and fishing vessel based in Puget Sound. She was one of the last survivors of the sailing schooners in the West Coast lumber trade to San Francisco from Washington, Oregon, and Northern California.

Wawona was built near Eureka, California on Humboldt Bay by Hans Ditlev Bendixsen, who was one of the most important West Coast shipbuilders of the late 19th century. The vessel was 165 feet (50 m) long with a 35-foot (11 m) beam. Her masts were 110 feet (34 m) tall.

She was berthed at South Lake Union Park in Seattle adjacent to the Center for Wooden Boats. She was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Washington State Heritage Register, and was an official city landmark.[3] However, after efforts to restore the decaying ship failed, she was dismantled in March 2009. In 2012 artist John Grade used parts from the ship in a massive 65-foot sculpture called Wawona in the Grand Atrium of Seattle's Museum of History & Industry. Wood from the ship was also used to create the museum's front desk and the bar at the museum's Compass Cafe.



From 1897 to 1913, the schooner carried lumber from Grays Harbor and Puget Sound ports to California. One of her captains, Ralph E. "Matt" Peasley, inspired a series of popular novels.[4][5][6][7]


From 1914 until 1947, except during World War II, Wawona sailed to the Bering Sea with a crew of 36 to fish for cod. In 1935, her captain, Charles Foss, died at the wheel during a storm in the Aleutian Islands.

Restoration and dismantling[edit]

In 1964, sixteen years after the vessel's retirement, a group of Seattle citizens, headed by Kay Bullitt, formed Northwest Seaport and purchased Wawona as a museum ship. The schooner was made available for public visits during her ongoing restoration.[8][failed verification]

In 2006 her masts were removed for safety reasons.[citation needed]

In early 2009, it was announced that Wawona would be towed to a dry dock to be dismantled on March 2. Some of the vessel's features were preserved as museum pieces.[9]

Wawona was hauled to the Lake Union Drydock on 4 March 2009 and was dismantled. The only remaining West Coast lumber transport sailing ship is C.A. Thayer, which is in San Francisco, as of 2018 completing a multimillion-dollar, multi-year restoration by the National Park Service.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ "Landmarks and Designation". City of Seattle. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
  3. ^ "Landmarks Alphabetical Listing for S". City of Seattle. Retrieved 2007-12-28.
  4. ^ Maine State Library. Maine Library Bulletin (Maine Library Commission Augusta, Maine) Vol 8-13
  5. ^ Follansbee, Joe. Celebrity Sea Captain (http://www.washingtonhistory.org : accessed 25 Feb 2020) COLUMBIA The Magazine of Northwest History, Summer 2006: Vol. 20, No. 2
  6. ^ "United States Census, 1900," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MMGQ-JYS : accessed 25 February 2020), Ralph E Peasley in household of Henry Peasley, Jonesport town, Washington, Maine, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 209, sheet 8B, family 180, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,601.
  7. ^ Follansbee, Joe. Shipbuilders, Sea Captains, and Fishermen: The Story of the Schooner Wawona iUniverse, 2006
  8. ^ "Historic Naval Ships Association profile of Wawona". Retrieved 2009-02-25.
  9. ^ "Last voyage near for Wawona". The Seattle Times. 25 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-25.
  10. ^ "Fate of the Lumber Schooner Wawona". Puget Sound Magazine. Retrieved 2012-08-09.

External links[edit]