Sidewheeler "Olympian" in Portland Harbor - c. 1905


Sidewheeler Olympian in Portland Harbor - Indahl

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The luxury steamship "Olympian" and her near-sistership "Alaskan" were known as "Henry Villard's White Elephants". Based on designs successful in Chesapeake Bay, they were never profitable in the Northwest. Built in Delaware in 1883, the Olympian was brought around the tip of South America and initially placed on the Seattle-Victoria run. Two years later she was moved to the Columbia, but because of her 8 foot draft was not much use upstream from Portland. A contemporary writer reported, "From her dining saloon, seating 130 passengers, her fancy chandeliers and her ebony trimmed grand staircase to her wide guards and arching paddleboxes she looked elegant and expensive, and she was." In 1890, unable to make money on any Northwest routes, the Olympian was laid up in Portland. In 1906, shortly after this photo was created, she was wrecked off the coast of South American during an attempt to take her back to the East Coast. -- This photo is restored and printed by Old Oregon.

Additional Information

Item Number AA0330
Photographer Olaf Indahl
Location Portland, Multnomah County
Subject No
Decade 1900s
Print Maker Old Oregon
Original Type Glass Negative
Size of Original 3.7 x 4.8 inches
Photographer's Number No

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