Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Photo Archives Spotlight: Definitive Men of the San Francisco Bay

(M. Crawford, Processing Archivist)
The waters of the San Francisco Bay have made many sea captains; men and women have begun their careers traversing the Bay, up and down the coast, and up into the rivers and deltas inland. Some of the recently processed collections in the Historic Documents Department tell the stories of some of these men--at the helm of tugboats, Monterey clippers, and sailboats. Although the collections may not seem to have much in common upon first glance, when you take a closer look at the lives they document, you will find that these men lived by the sea, made a living from the sea, and in the case of one captain, died at sea.


A web link to the Jack Ehrhorn collection of Stone Boat Yard photographs guide with more information about this collection including content, arrangement, histories and access.
Click for Collection Guide
Jack Ehrhorn collection of Stone Boat Yard photographs, circa 1885-2005. P05-081 (SAFR 23147)

Original black-and-white photographic print, 8 x 10 inches. Close-up of Jack Ehrhorn taken from a group photograph. He is standing next to an unidentified wooden-hulled boat under construction (likely St. Francis V (built 1973; sloop: yacht: 6 meter)). His right arm is up on the vessel; he is wearing white and a dark skully stocking cap. He is smiling, facing the camera. The photograph was taken at Stone Boat Yard, Alameda, California, circa 1973.
Decorated U.S. Army Platoon Sergeant, Jack Ehrhorn, was
entrusted with the photographs and textual materials from
the Stone Boat Yard. (P05-081, Ser.7.3, File 1, Item 923) 
Jack Ehrhorn was a life-long yachtsman, master shipwright, designer, draftsman and operations foreman. He started working for Lester Stone at the W.F. Stone & Son boatyard in 1941, where he helped build minesweepers for WWII. The Stone Boat Yard was a San Francisco Bay Area boat building company that was located in Alameda, California, from 1971-2004. The business had three previous names, and has been in four other locations in the San Francisco Bay Area since its establishment in San Francisco by W.I. Stone in 1853. It was run by three generations of Stones from 1853 until 1970 (W.I. Stone, W.F. Stone, and Lester Stone). It was one of the oldest and longest running businesses on the Pacific Coast and its boats and designs were very influential in Pacific Coast maritime history.

Black-and-white photographic print, 8 x 10 inches. The hull of St. Francis V (built 1973; sloop: yacht: 6 meter) is seen under construction, propped on blocks in a boat shop at Stone Boat Yard, Alameda, California, circa 1972-1973. View off port bow, three men are standing off port quarter with their backs to the camera. One of the men is wearing white overalls, which was characteristic of Jack Ehrhorn. Eight strips of planking are stem to stern over the ribs of the frame; planks are extending above the hull as well.
Ehrhorn helped build fast boats that won races, whether it was
his Yankee One Design  Flame, or the 6 Meter St. Francis V,
seen here in 1972. (P05-081, Ser. 6, File 5, Item 379)
One of Stone Boat Yard's specialties was producing first class yachts--the fastest on the bay some say. Ehrhorn worked on the constructing many of these beauties. In 1949, Lester even gave him a corner to build a yacht for himself, a Starling Burgess Yankee One Design, Number 34. Even in the 1970s, he was working on a 6 Metre St. Francis V designed by Gary Mull that won the 1973 World Cup in Seattle. Ehrhorn came to be the custodian of documents, photographs, photo albums and marine architecture drawings from the boat yard, all of which his estate donated to San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park in 2005. In this collection, there are over nine hundred photographs depicting vessels being built from start to finish, the details of construction, the tools and shop that they were built in, and the people that crafted these vessels. Combined with his collection of Stone Boat Yard records and marine architectural drawings (SAFR 21341, HDC 1288), we are able to see some of these boats come alive from their original drawings to yachts under sail.

A web link to the Captain Curt Hasenpusch photograph collection guide with more information about this collection including content, arrangement, histories and access.
Click for Collection Guide
Original black-and-white photographic print, 3.5 x 5.75 inches. Close-up of Vici Hasenpusch (left) standing on board an unidentified vessel, eating a cookie. Her forehead is bandaged after falling off a horse at Golden Gate Park. Her father, Captain Curt Hasenpusch stands to her left, with a plate in his hands. There is an unidentified woman in the background. What appears to be the Golden Gate Bridge is visible in the background. The occasion for being onboard was a picnic for crew and families. 1951-04-22
Domestic life was not
limited to land. The
captain and daughter,
Vici, on the bay.
P07-005 Ser. 4 File 3
Item 211.
Captain Curt Hasenpusch photograph collection, circa 1900-1960s. P07-005 (SAFR 23352)

Captain Curt August Hasenpusch (1910-1962), a first generation San Franciscan, was a boatman on the San Francisco Bay from the early 1930s until his death. His employers included Anderson's Shipyard and Crowley's Red Stack tugs, both eminent companies in Bay Area maritime history. He worked on everything from the pilot boat California to the tugboats Crowley No. 23 and Frank G. White during his career. Born in San Francisco on March 12, 1910, he was the second son of German immigrants who arrived just before the Great Earthquake and Fire. He was a collector of maritime photographs and memorabilia, as well as a model boat builder, one of which, the 1893 pilot boat Gracie S (SAFR 22765) is in our museum collection.

Black-and-white photographic print, 3.5 x 4.25 inches. Looking fore to aft along the deck of one tug, the photograph is of another tugboat alongside a listing vessel that has smoke rolling off the starboard deck. The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is in the background. Circa 1940s-1950s
Hasenpusch spent his life working the Bay
with many photos taken from those decks.
(P05-007, Ser.1.1, File 1, Item 52) 


His collection consists of mostly photographic prints, some of which hung in his family's home. Within the boxes, folders, and envelopes you will find photographs of tugboats, pilot boats and other vessels, all predominantly in the San Francisco Bay, from the 1900s to the 1960s. There are photographs of vessels under construction, being launched, at dock and underway; shipwrecks; and maritime activity, events and people in the San Francisco Bay.

The collection includes images of the tugboat Crowley No. 23 which Hasenpusch was a captain on from 1945-1951; the pilot schooner California on which Hasenpusch worked as an engineer; and the tugboat and auxiliary fireboat Frank G. White.

This deck's-eye view giving witness to an account of life on the Bay waters is a compelling perspective for landlubbers and mariners alike. The auxiliary fireboat was the last vessel that Captain Hasenpusch worked on, for on June 12, 1962, the captain suffered a fatal heart attack while on duty in her wheelhouse and died at the calling he so dearly loved.

A web link to the James L. Douthit photographs and oral histories guide with more information about this collection including content, arrangement, histories and access.
Click for Collection Guide
James L. Douthit photographs and oral histories, circa 1965-1975, 1989. P91-058 (SAFR 22588)


Black-and-white photographic print. An unidentified man is standing and looking down, baiting lines on the foredeck of a boat which appears to be at dock. He is wearing overalls, a shirt, and a longshoreman's or flat-type cap. There is a pile of lines in front of him, baited and ready, the lines wrapped in a circle and the fish hanging off the hooks at the edge of the circle. Circa 1965-1975.
Hours fishermen spent were
not all out on open water.
The preparation and dedication
of those that chose this trade
are evident above.
(P91-058 Ser 1.1 Vol 2 Item 74)
James L. Douthit was a photographer and a reporter from the Pacific Northwest and spent many years writing for the Oakland Tribune. He was also a maritime historian; he wrote articles on whaling and conducted oral histories of people involved with fishing vessels and steam schooners in California and Oregon.

This collection contains photographs of Monterey clipper fishing boats, fishermen and the fishing trade, and boat shops, taken circa 1965-1975 as a part of Douthit’s research. The majority of the photographs are of vessels, some with operators on board. Some photographs depict on-deck scenes of fishing or fishing equipment: portraits of fishermen, views of preparing lines, hauling in fish, and weighing fish on the dock. Photographs include the “Yukon Gang,” a notorious group of fishermen that worked together from the 1950s-1970s. The collection also includes transcripts of interviews with Monterey clipper boat builders and fishermen, as well as portraits of some of the interviewees. These men are important figures in maritime history, captaining vessels which defined the fishing industry in the San Francisco Bay for decades and characterized Fisherman’s Wharf.

Small in stature, these Monterey clippers were a big presence in the San Francisco Bay. They were introduced to the San Francisco Bay around 1925. The boats and their captains played a key role in the local 1930s sardine industry. It wasn’t until the 1950s, as the fishing industry hit its peak and began to decline, that the Monterey clippers began to disappear (P91-058, Ser.1.1, Vol. 2, Item 14)
Surely, these men lived very different lives, but the waters of the San Francisco Bay kept them closely connected. Perhaps they knew one another, if even in passing. Perhaps they crossed paths on the waters of the San Francisco Bay. I will most likely never know but I will spend a good amount of time in speculation... If you would like to find out more about these men, their livelihoods, and their accomplishments, peruse the collection guides on the Online Archive of California or make an appointment with our resourceful reference staff to assist you in your quest for more.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment