(Please click to enlarge)
Judging from the posters tacked to the railing, the S. S. Suveric visited the Seattle waterfront sometime in the late spring of 1911. The broadsides for several popular Seattle venues: the Pantages Theatre, Dreamland, the Majestic Theatre, the Grand Opera House, the Orpheum, Luna Park (at Duwamish Head), and the Lois Theatre all promote programs that date sometime between June 10 and July 1 of that year.
Its unique “fingerprint” also easily identifies the place. The windows atop the pier peeking around the bow of the Suveric are five panes wide and three high. It is Pier 56, also long known as the Arlington Dock. From the time of the Alaska gold rush in the 1890s to the First World War, Frank Waterhouse, an English stenographer turned shipping magnate, ran steamships in every direction from this slip for himself and also for the United Sates Shipping Board.
The seemingly aimless “waterfront watchers” standing near the rail – especially on the far right – may wish to “go down to the sea again.” They are held above the tides on a wooden trestle. The concrete and steel seawall was not constructed here for another 24 years.
Probably the S.S. Suveric’s most famous journey came soon after it was launched at Glasgow in 1906. For 52 days the 460-foot steamship carried 1328 Portuguese immigrants – 459 men, 283 women and 582 children – from Madeira to Honolulu. Thirteen children died at sea and eight more were born. F.P. Sargent, the U.S. Immigration Inspector at Honolulu, noted, “They are a good, strong, clean and fine looking lot of people. I have seen many, many shiploads of immigrants, but must say these are the brightest and best appearing lot I have every helped inspect.” And many of the immigrants carried violins.
3 thoughts on “Seattle Now & Then: Pier 56 Visitor, 1911”
Your estimate for the date of the SS Suveric picture was very good. The Ancestry.com database of Seattle Crew and Passenger Lists shows that the Suveric arrived in Seattle 7 June 1911 from Vancouver BC. On board were 4 “Chinese Passengers”, 63 “Chinese Crew”, 8 British Officers and a Chinese Surgeon. The records show that the Suveric arrived at Seattle five times between 8 Nov 1910 and 12 Feb 1912.
Thanks so much for adding some mutton to this mostly English lunch – judging from the nationality of the officers. I found the Portugal-Hawaii story by the increasingly generous luck of the internet, but I uncovered nothing there about the Suveric timetables to Seattle. My lucky notion of a circa date for the snapshot was constructed entirely on those posters tacked to the flimsy fence along Railroad Avenue. More that one pedestrian was not prevented from falling into the bay by those timbers.