Friday, 13 December 2019

San Francisco maritime museum

Back to the holiday snaps this week. Along with the JOB and Pampanito, San Francisco boasts a maritime museum which hilariously is treated as a State Park so is run by the Ranger service. Yet another set of uniforms to deal with.

You can get a fairly good view of the ships from outside the museum. This was a slightly foggy SF morning. I'd had a pleasant walk up through North Beach, fortified by a hand made Canoli.

This is the paddle ferryboat 'Eureka'. It was fairly huge.

Wheelhouse and view from the bridge. You can see the fog around the sky scrapers. Telegraph Hill is in the near distance.

The cavernous seating decks.

It has a bridge at both ends. It also boasts a large collection of vintage vehicles, representative of car/truck passengers.

A lovely Ford truck aka Gaz AA.

The ship was powered by a single cylinder steam beam engine, very similar to those used back in the late eighteenth century for mine pumps, but much, much bigger.

This is one of the actual paddlewheels, suitably enormous. Strangely given its primitive engine the ship was oil fired (converted from coal).

Another steam paddlewheeler, this one was built on the Clyde. Unfortunately it wasn't open to the public.

This rather super tug boat was though. Steam Tug 'Hercules'.

Unsurprisingly it has a big deck winch.

And a beautiful range in the galley.

The boiler was immense, it filled half the ship. Like the Eureka, the tug was also oil fired.

Strangely the engine wasn't that large, but relative to the displacement of the ship it was pretty powerful. 

The winch for the tow cable.

There was a rather nice wooden schooner, but although the decks were open, the cabins and hold were closed off.

The upperworks had been recenlty renovated and the deck freshly waxed, so the deck was rather sticky to walk on!

Next up was a super iron clipper, the Balcutha, very similar to the Cutty Sark in construction being an all metal square rigger. I spent a lot of time on here.

I'm not quite sure why they painted gun ports on the outside.

The ship was in beautiful condition.

Deck house.

Bilge pump (water ingress was still an issue, even on iron ships).

Captains cabin.

And a very modern looking galley, straight out of a kitchen catalogue.

The rear upper hold showing the timber loading hatches and the way the iron construction mirrors that of older wooden ships.

The hold was stacked up with representative cargo, including these boxes of Colmans Mustard.

Ballast blocks in the bilges.

Cabins for the unfortunate below decks passengers.

There were also a few veteran motorboats of various types which weren't open to the public.

This one was used as an unlicenced fishing boat.

While I was at the museum this massive car transporter came into the bay, it was so big it even made the Golden Gate Bridge look quite small. I imagine it was off to join all other big ships docked the other side of the Bay Bridge.

So, another great vaue museum, and this one was only 15 USD for a week pass.


  1. Thanks for the photos. Next time I am in San Francisco, this museum is on my list of places to visit.

    1. What is really God is that the ticket is a multi day pass, so you can dip in an out.

  2. Excellent gazetteer, Martin. Thanks for posting.

    Regards, Chris.