An airboat with… wheels?

March 20, 2020

I’ve been meaning to put wheels on this silly thing ever since I started building it back in 2011 (has it really been that long?). I never could figure out a way to steer the wheels that was both efficient, effective, and lightweight enough to be removable. After a few different tries I ended up just sticking casters under there and steering with the fan and rudder. This actually works surprisingly well until it’s time to stop…

And here’s the prior video of the wheel system build process:

Aaaand the video of my last ice-based test run when I managed to crash the airboat!

 


The Mini Airboat Lives Again!

March 2, 2020

I’ve finally been getting the airboat out on the water (well, frozen water) after years of it just sitting around in my garage! Here’s a recent test run video, I should have more videos up soon! Check out my Youtube Channel for more of this nonsense.


Funter Bay History: Pulling the Trap

June 28, 2018

Fish Traps were a major part of Southeast Alaska industry in the first half of the 20th century. I’ve mentioned the traps around Funter Bay in many previous entries, including some photos of trap operations here and some of the designs and technology here.

As noted on many of the Thlinket Packing Co’s labels, they claimed to be “The only cannery in Alaska fishing with traps exclusively”. This was said to make for “fresh, wholesome, and delicious” canned salmon. Collector George Freddora was kind enough to share a label for “Tepee Brand” Coho salmon that I had not seen before:

Tepee Brand Salmon Label, courtesy of George Freddora.

 

Below are a few photos of trap operations, including “pulling” or “brailing” the fish out of the trap. This was a popular scene to photograph, as the wriggling, splashing fish made for an exciting display. As such, there are a lot of duplicates and variants of these photos for Funter Bay! My apologies if I have posted some of these particular images before.

“Brailing Salmon into Scow”, Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Case & Draper Photograph Collection, PCA 39

 

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Case & Draper Photograph Collection, PCA 39

 

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Case & Draper Photograph Collection, PCA 39

 

“T.P. Co Salmon Trap”, Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Case & Draper Photograph Collection, PCA 39

The next image and variants of it became a popular Alaska postcard, both in original and colorized versions:

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Case & Draper Photograph Collection, PCA 39

Photographer William Case took a number of back-to-back exposures  of the brailing process seen above. So far I’ve found 5 of these, and stacked them together into a quick animation:

(Various sources including Alaska State Library and University of Washington Digital Archives).

And finally, a look back at the trap (center-right) and the Kitten Islands, on the way back to the cannery.

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Case & Draper Photograph Collection, PCA 39

 


Funter Bay History: Tugboat “Nimrod”

June 15, 2018

I’ve mentioned this boat in a few prior posts (here, and more detail here). Most of my photos have shown the boat in various stages of decay as an abandoned derelict on the beach. When I was in Juneau researching Alaska history last summer, I found a photo of the boat in better days.

‘ Nimrod, Waterman T.B. Co. Small diesel tug. Port bow, speed, racing “Ben Hur” ‘. From Lloyd Bayers collection, album 9, MS 10, Alaska State Library Historical Collection.

Close-up of the above photo.

As mentioned before, the Nimrod was built in 1903 and served a variety of towing companies in Washington State, including the Waterman Co. It showed up in Funter Bay sometime in the 1960s as a fishing boat owned by local resident Elmer P. Loose. It’s been pulled up on the beach since approximately 1965, evolving from a boat shape into a more relaxed pile of wood and metal, slowly returning to the soil.

It’s always nice to see the “before” photos for something that’s well into the “after” stages! Plus it adds a special extra dimension to a familiar object or site from childhood.


Funter Bay History: Captain George Whitney Photos

August 24, 2017

Captain George H. Whitney was an agent of the government’s Steamboat Inspection Service between 1898 and 1928. His career saw him traveling to many Alaskan ports for safety inspections on steam powered merchant vessels. The agency was later merged with the Bureau of Navigation and then superseded by the US Coast Guard.

A photo album in the Alaska State Library & Archives has a few of Captain Whitney’s photos from Funter Bay in 1907. He seems to have been traveling on the steam liner Georgia, possibly to inspect vessels of the Thlinket Packing Co.

View from a steamship (possibly the Georgia) approaching the Funter Bay wharf. Courtesy of Alaska State Library, Captain George H Whitney Photo Collection, PCA 300-82

In the photo above we see the Thlinket Packing Co’s steamer Anna Barron at the wharf. The smokestack from a steam engine is also seen sitting on the wharf, possibly a steam donkey or pile driver engine.

Three friends on the steamship Georgia near Funter Bay. Courtesy of Alaska State Library, Captain George H Whitney Photo Collection, PCA 300-83

SONY DSC

Funter Bay cannery residence. Courtesy of Alaska State Library, Captain George H Whitney Photo Collection, PCA 300-92

The above photo is likely the cannery superintendent’s house, which had a large covered porch.

 


Funter Bay History: A 1919 Honeymoon Trip

July 20, 2017

One fascinating source of historic Alaska photos are the vacation albums created by past visitors. The Alaska State Library & Archives has several such albums donated by collectors and families of the original photographers. These provide a great cross section of historic Alaskan tourism, as well as a glimpse into the interests of the tourists (some photographed glaciers while others focused on wildlife and still others on industry).

An album from July of 1919 follows the journey of some newlyweds from Seattle to Southeast Alaska. Unfortunately the names of the couple is not known. They sailed on the steamship Admiral Evans, which made stops at the canneries in Funter Bay and nearby Hawk Inlet.

1919 Album 1

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Alaska Travel Photograph Album,1919, PCA 425-09

It’s not clear if the following photo of salmon on a cannery floor was taken at Funter or Hawk Inlet. Both canneries would have looked similar inside.

1919 Album 2

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Alaska Travel Photograph Album,1919, PCA 425-09

 

1919 Album 3

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Alaska Travel Photograph Album,1919, PCA 425-09

The next photo of the USS Marblehead is quite interesting. I mentioned the Marblehead’s anti-piracy visit and showed a postcard photo from a different angle in this post.

1919 Album 4

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Alaska Travel Photograph Album,1919, PCA 425-09

A newspaper article from Juneau mentioned the Marblehead that same month:

Marblehead article

Getting back to the photo album, a wider view shows the cannery with native worker village on the right, and a denuded small island in the foreground (probably Gauge Is.)

1919 Album 5

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Alaska Travel Photograph Album,1919, PCA 425-09

A pair of photos show the young couple taking turns posing in the woods at Funter Bay:

1919 Album 6

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Alaska Travel Photograph Album,1919, PCA 425-09

 

1919 Album 7

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Alaska Travel Photograph Album,1919, PCA 425-09

And finally, a shipboard photo as the steamer left Funter Bay:

1919 Album 8

Courtesy of Alaska State Archives, Alaska Travel Photograph Album,1919, PCA 425-09

If anyone happens to recognize these people, I would love to hear about it!


Funter Bay History: Cannery Shipping and Maintenance

June 30, 2016

I recently received a few Funter Bay images from Michael and Carolyn Nore, collectors of historic Alaska postcards and photos. These show some of the Thlinket Packing Co’s operations between about 1914 and 1920. Most are prior to 1918 (based on the cards used), but some are from the same summer as the photos seen previously in this post.

The first photo is a great shot of the Cannery wharf and main buildings, marked “Front View of Cannery”. The large “Thlinket Packing Co” sign is visible above the warehouse. The mess hall and store is barely visible in the rear right, and the Superintendent’s house with its large porch is seen on the left.

funter bay2 5-18-16 copy

Moving inland, a set of two images show the rear of the cannery buildings. The large chimneys were from the main boiler house.

funter bay6 5-18-16 copy funter bay4 back view of cannery 5-18-16 copy

The previous photo shows a number of handprints marking the foreground building. I am not sure what this building is, as it does not appear on either the 1964 or 1942 property maps.

Another set shows one of the cannery’s steam-powered pile drivers. I am not sure how many of these units the Thlinket Packing co owned, the remains of a smaller one is on the beach at Funter Bay. A large unit nearly identical to the one in these pictures appears in a 1926 photo at the mine wharf (seen on this page).

funter bay8 5-18-16 copy funter bay1 5-18-16 copy

Some scows, rowboats, and a gas boat are seen at the dock and wharf in the next photo. This is a little later than the others, dated May 21 1920:

funter bay11 6-29-16 copy

The photo below shows a gas boat or launch under the pipeline from the cannery’s oil tank, in June 1920.

funter bay9 6-29-16 copy

The next photo is labeled “One of the company tugs with a diver repairing her rudder”. It shows a sailing vessel alongside the cannery’s steam tug Anna Barron and a variety of smaller boats. Men on the sailboat are operating an air compressor and have lowered a ladder and several pipes and ropes over the side. What appears to be a diving suit is draped over the sailboat’s boom.

funter bay3 tug repair by diver 5-18-16 copy

Moving up in vessel sizes, the next photo shows the Pacific Coast Steamship Co’s City of Seattle at the cannery wharf. The appearance of the ship dates this to 1914 or later, as the City of Seattle was completely rebuilt that year and converted from coal to oil fuel. Prior to 1914 the ship had a different superstructure and the foremast was aft of the wheelhouse, as seen here. The re-built ship can also be seen here and a description of the refit is here. Like other commercial steamers, the ship would call at canneries as needed to transport supplies, products, and workers.

funter bay5 steamer city of seattle 5-18-16 copy

Next is a photo of the “Indian Village” located Northeast of the cannery. While postcards tend to call this a village, most accounts state it was not occupied year round. The area was more of a seasonal camp for native employees of the cannery who lived there in the summer.

funter bay7 indian village near cannery 5-18-16 copy

And the last photo shows an interesting gazebo on the hill behind the cannery, with some Tlingit employees relaxing on benches. What appear to be a number of halibut can be seen hanging from the boardwalk below. The date is not given but is probably between 1914-1918.

funter bay10 6-29-16 copy

Thanks again to the Nores for sharing these great images!