"Sunken Klondike Gold: How a Lost Fortune Inspired an Ambitious Effort to Raise the S.S. Islander"
Sunken Klondike Gold: How a Lost Fortune Inspired an Ambitious Effort to Raise the S.S. Islander
by Leonard H. Delano
About the book:
When the 240-foot "SS Islander "hit an iceberg in Alaska's inside waters just twelve miles from Juneau, Capt. Douglas H.R. Foote decided to make a desperate run for nearby Douglas Island. But it was too late. Water was pouring into a huge gash in the port bow. The stern was rising. The pride of the Canadian Pacific fleet quickly sank. Sixty-five of the 176 passengers and crew were lost, including Captain Foote, whose final words were: "Tell 'em I tried to beach her."The newspapers had a field day. Gold worth $3 million was rumored to have been put aboard in Skagway. There was talk of a salvage operation, but for thirty-three years the passenger vessel lay out of reach in 350 feet of water.
In 1933, Seattle and Portland house-mover Frank Curtis proposed a bold salvage plan using two lift vessels, giant winches, diving bells, tidal power, and a determined crew of thirty or so house-movers, loggers, and rigging mechanics. Curtis was backed by a group of businessmen including future Weyerhaeuser Timber Company president Norton Clapp, who later invested in construction of Seattle's Space Needle.This is a fascinating insider's story of a two-year struggle to raise the "Islander," a record-breaking salvage that focused on a single prize - an elusive fortune in gold.