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Shipwreck of the Reporter
March 13, 1902
4.5" x 2.75"
The 351-ton, three-masted schooner "Reporter" was built at Port Ludlow,
Washington by the Hall Brothers, noted Pacific Coast shipbuilders, in 1876.
"Reporter" spent its years sailing in the Pacific Coast lumber trade,
bringing milled lumber, shingles, and pilings from small coastal logging
ports to San Francisco.  When lost, "Reporter's" managing owner was the
E.K. Wood Lumber Company of San Francisco. After loading a cargo of four
hundred thousand board feet of pine lumber, shingles, and shakes at Gray's
Harbor, Washington, "Reporter" sailed for San Francisco in early March
1902.  The crew grumbled about two bad omens: the ship sailed on a Friday,
traditionally considered bad luck, and the ship's cat--who happened to be
black--leaped overboard and drowned an hour before "Reporter" weighed
anchor.  The cook, a superstitious man, felt that "the poor thing committed
suicide" rather than sail on a doomed ship.

On the evening of March 13 "Reporter" neared the Golden Gate in a thick
fog.  In the dark, Capt. Adolph Hansen saw a strong light to starboard,
which he took to be the lighthouse at Point Bonita.  Allowing the vessel to
drive ahead and pass the light to enter the Gate, Hansen found himself
caught in the surf; "not until the schooner was in the breakers did he know
he was trying to hurdle her over the peninsula instead of going in orderly
through the harbor entrance."  Hansen mistook a light at the Cliff House
for Point Bonita Light, and "Reporter" struck Ocean Beach about three miles
south of Point Lobos, beaching where the bark "King Philip" had gone ashore
in 1878.

Heavy seas swept the decks, forcing the crew up into the rigging.  The
mizzen-mast fell, injuring one man who fell to the deck.  Capt. Hansen had
meanwhile flashed a light as a distress signal, alerting a surfman from the
Golden Gate Life-Saving Station who was patrolling the beach.  Rescuers
soon arrived and launched a surfboat to retrieve "Reporter's" crew.  The
surfboat swamped on the first attempt, but on the second try the crew was
saved.  Waves gradually pushed "Reporter" up on the beach, and by daylight
the ship lay on its starboard side a hundred yards from shore.  "During the
day she heaved and lurched until she was lying almost stern on."  According
to the San Francisco "Examiner":

There is no hope for "Reporter."  Her cargo of lumber, worth $14,000, is
likely to drift to the beach in parcels.  It can be stacked and carted away
into the city and so saved.  The schooner can only fight till her tendons
give.  Her ribs and sheathing, masts and rails will wash ashore, to be
carried away by thrifty seaside dwellers and be used as firewood.

The schooner was visited by Capt. Hansen and the life-savers the day after
the wreck, and the chronometer and a few personal effects were saved.
Thousands of San Francisco residents visited the wreck, "and not even the
biting wind and sudden squalls could keep them away."  Enterprising
businessmen posted broadsides on the hulk, "Boise Liniment" for rheumatism.
The keel broken, "Reporter" began to fall apart and disappear beneath the
sand, "fast digging her own grave alongside the bones of the "King Philip",
whose ribs are still seen..."
"Shipwrecks at the Golden Gate" by James Delgado and Stephen Haller (1989)
 

 


"RUINS OF SCHOONER PARALLEL WHOSE DYNAMITE LOAD DESTROYED NORTH WING OF CLIFF HOUSE, 1887"
Source:  San Francisciana, Photographs of the Cliff House - Marilyn Blaisdell

NOTE:  The Daily Alta California from Jan 17 1887 (link) suggest that nothing this large survived.
Other researchers believe this is a photo of the Reporter, not the Parallel.

 

 

San Francisco Call, Friday, March 14, 1902
(click image for full page)
 

San Francisco Chronicle, Friday, March 14, 1902
(click image for full size)
 

San Francisco Call, Friday, March 15, 1902
(click image for full page)
 

San Francisco Call - 28 March 1902
 
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