BG240: Ruthven Brothers TEXACO Gas Station in Phelps, NY – 1948.

BG240 Ruthven Bros Texaco Gas Station Phelps, NY

I love doing these old shots out of the 40’s even though, as this one proved, they are often the most damaged with color shift, scratches (many) and VERY dirty. But to me the reward when you get the all the chaff removed is a diamond like this that you won’t ever see today.

Ruthven Bros. Texaco at the corner of Main & Ontario street in Phelps, NY in 1948.  Both the station & building are gone now.


BG178: Megler Bridge & Union Fishermen’s Cooperative Packing Co. at Astoria, Oregon in August 1966.

BG178 Astoria OR Megler Bridge & Union Coop Cannery

This restoration is of the Astoria-Megler Bridge, spanning the Columbia River from Astoria, OR to Point Ellice (near Megler) Washington in August 1966. Work is being finished on the piers of the bridge which was opened to traffic on July 29, 1966. The view is looking north from Astoria to Washington.

Construction on the cantilever through truss bridge was started in November of 1962 and completed in August of 1966. At a little over four miles long (21,474 ft.) it is the longest continuous truss bridge in North America.

The cost of constructing the bridge was $24 million in 1966 dollars and was paid for by tolls assessed on cars crossing it until December 1993 when it was paid off and the toll booths were removed.

The red building at the bottom left was the Union Fishermen’s Cooperative Packing Co. cannery, formed & built in 1897 by local fishermen & gillnetters after years of disputes with local fish packers over unfair salmon prices & fishing practices.

The cannery was in operation for Union Fishermen’s Coop until declines in the canned salmon industry saw the dissolvement of the Cooperative & sale of the building to Seattle fishing magnate Nick Bez of Peter Pan Seafoods in 1950.

The cannery was closed for good in 1970 & with little maintenance done, the Port of Astoria had the structure demolished in 1980 leaving only the deteriorating pier & pilings.

In August 2005, the Cannery Pier Hotel, designed in the style of the Coop cannery, by Astoria native Robert Jacobs, opened on the site of the Union Fishermen’s Cooperative Cannery, built on the same 100+ year old pilings that the original cannery was built upon.

SS811: Wreck of the Passenger Steamship CATALA at Ocean Shores, WA – July 1976.

SS811  Wreck of CATALA at Ocean Shores WA 1976

This is the wreck of the former Union Steamship Line’s passenger ship CATALA at Ocean Shores, WA in July 1976.

The 229 foot ship was built by Coaster Construction Co. in Montrose, Scotland in 1925. She had a beam of 37 feet & drafted 18 feet. The top speed for the ship was 14 knots (16 mph) and she had a passenger capacity of 267, in 120 staterooms & 48 steerage bunks. CATALA also was licensed to carry a maximum of 300 tons of cargo on any trip.

The CATALA made her maiden voyage for Union on July 28, 1925 from Vancouver BC to Prince Rupert BC. Most of the ship’s years in operation (1925-1958) was along various ports along the British Columbia coastline.

In 1958, Union Steamship folded and the CATALA was sold to new BC owners who intended to turn the ship into a fish buying vessel. This particular use never materialized & the ship was subsequently towed to Seattle for use as a “boatel” for the World’s Fair in 1962. After the fair ended, the ship was towed to California to be used as a floating restaurant. This venture failed as well and the ship was towed back up north in 1963 and berthed at Ocean Shores, Washington to be again used as a boatel for charter fishermen & others.

On January 1, 1965, a severe storm drove the ship from her moorings hard aground on shore at Damon Point, WA with a starboard list. Efforts to refloat her proved futile and the ship settled deep into the sands as seen here. After her grounding & subsequent abandonment, the ship was vandalized & partially set on fire by vandals making the wreck a hazardous site.  In the late 1980’s, that fact was proven when a girl fell through a rusted area of the deck while exploring, breaking her back. After that, the State of Washington had the ship cut down to the water level & removed. What remained was buried under the sands until the late 1990’s when winter storms exposed portions of what had been buried.

In April 2006, a beachcomber discovered oil leaking from from one of CATALA’s tanks. After that, the hull was cordoned off, excavated & 34,500 gallons of fuel oil was removed. The rest of what was left of the CATALA was then completely cut up & removed, closing the book on one of the longest serving ships of the Union Steamship Line.

BG233: Seasider Motor Inn at Seaside, Oregon – September 1965.

BG233 Seasider Motor Inn at Seaside OR Sept 1965

This was the Seasider Motor Inn at the turnaround in Seaside, Oregon in September 1965. Banners in the restaurant window advertised that Calypso singer Don James was performing “three shows nitely.”

The building was originally built in 1897 by E.N. Grimes and operated as the “New Grimes Hotel.” Four years later it was sold to Dan Moore & became the “Hotel Moore.”

Nineteen years later, in 1920, Moore sold the hotel to a stock company which did extensive rebuilding which included a fountain & two ornate spires on the north wing. They again changed the name to “Seaside Hotel.”

1927 saw the building again sold, this time to Robert Beckman & his wife who retained the name of the hotel.
In 1940, Al Winters & Associates of Portland purchased the business only to have it sold again in 1945 to Hugo Paul & Robert Williamson.

They operated it until 1959 when it was sold to a group of local investors led by Lester Raw & Roy Smith. Raw’s brother Vern became a partner in 1962 and the Raw brothers were successful in modernizing the hotel, restaurant & lounge.
For the last time, in 1965, the hotel name was changed to the “Seasider Motor Inn.”

The hotel garnered it’s share of celebrities in the 1950 & 60s playing host to John F. Kennedy, Duke Ellington, Nelson Rockefeller amongst others.

The Raw brothers sold their controlling interest in 1976 to Elgon & Dallas Wilson, who only kept it for two years before a pair of Canadian investors took over.

The investors plans called for tearing the hotel down & building a six-story condo in its place. However, funding fell through & the Canadian investors looked to sell the business.
A deal with a potential buyer was put on hold when the fire department threatened to condemn the building if not brought up to meet fire safety standards. The Canadians installed fire doors & walls to keep the hotel running but the potential sale fell though.

The renovations were not enough to keep the business afloat and the Seasider was sold for the last time in 1983 to Shilo Inn founder Mark Hemstreet, who tore the hotel & restaurant down in the summer of 1983 & replacing it with the Shilo Oceanfront Inn & restaurant that is there today.

SS962: Carnival Cruise Ship ECSTASY after fire in July 1998.

SS962 CARNIVAL ECSTACY After Fire July 1998

Shown in this restoration in the Carnival Cruise Line’s ECSTASY as she is returning to the Port of Miami with tug assist after a fire broke out on July 20, 1998.

The 855 foot long ECSTASY was built in 1991 at Kværner Masa-Yards at its Helsinki New Shipyard in Helsinki, Finland. She has a beam of 103 feet & drafts 25 feet.

The twin-screw ship has a cruising speed of 21 knots (24 mph). 12 decks on the ship accommodate a maximum of 2,634 passengers and 920 crew.

Following from Wikipedia: “On the afternoon of July 20, 1998, Ecstasy departed the Port of Miami, Florida, en route to Key West, Florida, with 2,565 passengers and 916 crew members aboard. A fire started in the main laundry room and spread through the ventilation system to the aft mooring deck, where mooring lines ignited.

As Ecstasy was attempting to reach an anchorage north of the Miami sea buoy, the vessel lost power and began to drift. The master then radioed the U.S. Coast Guard for assistance. Six tugboats responded to help fight the fire and tow Ecstasy.
The fire was brought under control by onboard firefighters and was extinguished about 9:09 PM. Fourteen crew members and eight passengers suffered minor injuries. One passenger required medical treatment as a result of a pre-existing condition and was categorized as a serious injury victim because of the length of her hospital stay.
Losses from the fire and associated damages exceeded $17 million.”

The ship was repaired & returned to service. Since the fire she has undergone three refits, in 2007, 2014 & 2017 and still operates for Carnival out of Florida.

SSA1237: Columbia River Bar Pilots boat ASTORIA underway near Astoria, OR – 2018.

SSA1237 Columbia River Pilot Boat ASTORIA 2018

The Columbia River Bar Pilot’s ASTORIA is shown underway near Astoria, OR, on the Columbia River on October 9, 2018.

The 75 foot long self-righting vessel was built in 2013 by Kvichak Marine Industries in Seattle, WA and is all aluminum construction.

The powerplant for the ASTORIA is provided by twin MTU 16V2000 M70 marine diesel engines rated for 1410 BHP @ 2100 RPM and twin ZF 3050 electric shift transmissions.

The engines are coupled to a pair of Hamilton 651 waterjets. Top speed is 29 knots, (33 mph); cruise speed is 25 knots, (28.7 mph).

Pilots operate the vessel over the bar at the mouth of the Columbia River taking ships from the Pacific Ocean, across the Columbia River bar, then upriver 15 miles to Astoria, Oregon.