Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Photo Archives Spotlight: From Wooden Boats to Steel Hulls

(by Amy Croft and M. Crawford, Project Archivists)

Two newly processed collections at San Francisco Maritime represent the diverse talents of Northern California residents. From designing commercial vessels to building wooden boats by hand, these creators reflect the difference in the scale of maritime craft and the different processes of building boats and ships.

Online Archives of California link to the William H. Grunwald photographs collection guide.
Click for Collection Guide

William H. Grunwald photographs, circa 1960-1997. Collection No. P99-007 (SAFR 19671)

Image: black-and-white photographic print. Detail of photograph of Aeolus Boats logo burned into wood.
Aeolus Boats logo burned into wood.
(P99-007, Ser. 1, File 1, Item 1.1)
If your interests are in wooden boats and small craft and you don't know about Aeolus Boats in Davenport, California, you'll probably want to. The William H. Grunwald photographs (SAFR 19671, P99-007) come from the owner of Aeolus Boats and  builder of fine craft himself, and were recently processed and made available for research by the Historic Documents Department.
Image: 3.5 x 5 inch, color photographic print. Grunwald is standing next to a boat he is framing. He has a saw in his hand and is looking at the camera.
Bill at work in his boatshop.
(P99-007, Ser. 1, File 2, Item 18.3)

Over the course of his 40 year career building boats, Bill Grunwald, became a prominent and established boat builder in Northern California. Born in Seattle and raised in Alameda, Grunwald bought a barn in Davenport and began Aeolus Boats in the 1950s. He first built sailboats; later concentrating his efforts on custom boats. He used about 26 designs for rowing boats, punts, dories, and yacht tenders.

The photos date from around 1960 to 1997 and depict mainly boats built by Grunwald. They are shown being constructed, out and about on various San Francisco Bay Area waters, and they are often occupied or surrounded by people enjoying themselves. Awaiting your discovery are photographs from photo essays, prospective and satisfied customers, as well as Grunwald's personal collection, making up three photo albums and 124 loose photoprints. Take a look to view the construction of the boat hulls, the boat shop itself, and a master at work (and sometimes at leisure.)


Image: 3.5 x 5 inch, color photographic print. Keel and hull view of a boat on blocks, under construction, at Grunwald's Aeolus Boat Shop.
Grunwald’s shop with his boats under construction. (P99-007, Ser. 1, File 3, Item 3.2)

Online Archives of California link to the L. Christian Norgaard photographs collection guide.
Click for Collection Guide

L. Christian Norgaard photographs, circa 1954-1985. Collection No. P95-035 (SAFR 22581) 


Black-and-white photographic print, 8 x 10 inches. Norgaard is standing on gangplank of the vessel. He is on the left. There is one woman and a man next to him on the stairs. Three men are standing below on the dock. The men are all wearing suits, some wearing hats. The Mokuhana name is seen painted on the vessel in the background.
Norgaard, upper left, celebrates
delivery of Mokuhana.
(P95-035, Ser 1, File 1, Item 4.1)
These photographs are from the prodigious work of local naval architect and marine engineer, "Chris" Norgaard. Chris was a longtime resident of the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento, California. His career spanned from the design of small craft and large cargo vessels to the design of replicas and historic ship renovations. He was responsible for the design of over 400 vessels seen from Los Angeles, California, to the fisheries and canneries of Alaska. He designed the cargo vessels Mokuhana and Komoku for Bay and River Navigation Company to transport sugar from the C & H Sugar Refinery at Crockett, California, to distribution points across San Francisco Bay including C & H’s headquarters at the city’s now historic landmark Pier One. Norgaard is perhaps best known for his designs of the replica of Sir Francis Drake's flagship Golden Hinde, Western Pacific's train ferry Las Plumas and the Red and White Fleet of sightseeing boats on San Francisco Bay during the fifties, sixties and seventies. He also worked on restorations of famous vessels, such as President Roosevelt's yacht Potomac.

Black-and-white photographic print, 8 x 10 inches. A young blonde girl in shorts and long sleeves stands in front of the Kort Nozzle propeller of an unidentified tug as it sits in dry dock. This photograph is from the album, Tugs--Designs by L. Chris Norgaard--Vol. 1.
Girl inside of kort nozzle on unidentified tug.
(P95-035, Ser 1, File 3, Item 2.26)
Notably, Norgaard was responsible for numerous maritime engineering innovations, such as the adoption, development and design of the "Kort Nozzle" on U.S. West Coast vessels.  He also authored and compiled a number of technical papers and books, including Golden Hinde II: A Galleon, c1570 (1974).

The collection holds 15 photo albums, loose photographs, and loose album pages (2.4 linear feet) documenting tugboats, cargo, passenger, public, and fishing vessels that he worked on from the 1950s to the 1970s. Many photographs depict the construction and christening of new vessels as well as exterior views of vessels at work. In addition, you will find Norgaard’s personal papers and over 1,300 vessel plans in the Loring Christian Norgaard historic documents collection, HDC 1294.


Black-and-white photographic print mounted on paper, 8 x 10 inches. The vessel is underway with full sail. Norgaard designed and oversaw the construction of this replica of the original GOLDEN HINDE, from 1971-1973.
Golden Hinde II
(P95-035, Ser 1, File 4, Item 1.2)
Make an appointment to take a closer look at the art of wooden boat building and ship design through these photographs -- some of them may document some vessels you may have seen with your own eyes cruising San Francisco Bay waters. Peruse the collection guides on the Online Archive of California to explore more on your own or contact our reference staff to guide you.

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