The Northwest

passing the columbia river

On May 20th the fleet passed the mouth of the Columbia River the City of Astoria prepared.  Wednesday was declared a holiday and all of the business was suspended for the day.  Thousands of people went to the beach to see the Battleship Fleet.  Excursion steamers ferried views across the sand bar to get a closer look.  A mosquito fleet of boats set out to meet-up with the Fleet off Tillamook.  Further on the coast at Canby and North Head they had an excellent view from the higher ground.  Below is a diagram off the Columbia River.

As the battleship fleet moved up the coast from San Francisco to the Northwest, it moved closer towards the departure date for heading out into the Pacific.  Concerns and fears for the relations between Japan and America were common, particularly in the Japanese community.  In the May issue of the Pacific Monthly they were explored in two articles.  The first article, written by the Ambassador of Japan discussed the "unfortunate incidents" regarding immigration as a normal process of  two nations coming closer together and talked about commercial expansion in the Pacific that both nations could share in friendship.  The second article, "The Japanese and the Atlantic Fleet" portrayed the movement of the American Fleet to the west coast as part of our "inevitable march" to the Philippines, and a "coming of age" for America for activity in the Pacific including T. Takahashi, President of the Oriental Trading Company of Seattle and President of the Japanese Association of the Pacific Northwest, Member of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce and Coordinator for the Reception of the Officers and Crews of the Atlantic Fleet while in Seattle.


The Pacific monthly : a magazine of education and progress


"I have towards the people of this great republic at large - a sentiment of good will, of sincere friendship, and of genuine regard."

Kogoro Takamira, Imperial Japanese Ambassador

Let us pray that the man at the helm and the man of learning and board view on both sides of the Pacific exert all their wholesome influence in the effort of eradicating the unhappy feeling begotten of a sequence of unfortunate events which followed in the wake of the now historic school incident."





"Battleships" Columbia River  May 20, 08  (at left)  The Atlantic Fleet Passing the Columbia River, (Photographer Woodfield) Seaside, Oregon, July 1908 

On May 20th, 1908 the fleet passed the Columbia River heading north to Seattle.  This photograph taken by Frank W. Woodfield (1879-1955) an Oregon photographer based in Astoria.  The card was mailed from Portland, Oregon to Ilwaco, Washington with a receiving cancel of July 8th, 1908.



This is the second card I have found from Woodfield documenting the fleet passing Portland.  In for foreground is shows a small tour boat going out to see the fleet pass.  Woodfield was probably on a similar vessel when this photograph was taken.

This card was also mailed to Ilwaco, Washington.  Both address to different people from different people.  What are the odds?



This is a GREAT card!  The excursion boats of Battleship day as the fleet passed the Columbia River.  The Alliance is probably the ship seen in the foreground in the card above.

The SS Roanoke was built in Delaware and delivered to the Old Dominion Steamship Company in 1882.  Following the discovery of gold in Klondike, Yukon she was brought to the region in 1898 and was owned by the North Pacific Steamship Company.


SS Alliance, "The Friend of Coos Bay" sailed from Portland and was also owned by the North Pacific Steamship Company.  She was equipped with a wireless in 1908!

Steamer Tug Tatoosh was famous for the rescue of 49 lives in the mouth of the Columbia River in 1911.  Steam schooner Washington was all but lost until Capt. Charles T. "Buck" Bailey showed up on scene and fought overnight to successfully rescue the crew and ship from disaster.



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