Gold Beach in Curry County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
Mary D. Hume
The long and unique history of the Mary D. Hume started on a rough and windy day in Gold Beach when Mr. Hume's small steamer "VARUNA" sank on the Rogue River bar in 1880. Mr. Hume salvaged the steam engine and began immediate plans to replace his lost freighter. Mr. Hume first located a 141 foot tall White Cedar tree 13 miles upriver on the north shore Rogue River shoreline. The tree was cut and floated downstream to what is now the Port of Gold Beach, within two hundred feet of where you are currently standing. This tree became the keel for the new vessel. White Cedar roots were cut for their natural curve to shape the ribs and Myrtlewood dowels were used to join ribs to keel. A severe flood January of 1881 almost destroyed the vessel during final construction. January, 21, 1881 the new vessel Mary Duncan Hume was launched. (named in honor of Mr. Hume's wife) This day was the start of her 97 years of active commercial sea service. This is the longest active sea service for any commercial vessel on the Pacific Coast. Also unique
The Mary D. Hume served her first ten years as a coastal freighter hauling wool, canned salmon and other goods from the Oregon Coast to San Francisco. 1890 was the peak of the Arctic whaling industry and small steam sailing vessels were selling at premium prices. On December 5, 1889 the Pacific Whaling Co. purchased the Mary D. Hume for $25,000 and the Mary D. Hume started her career as a Arctic Whaling vessel. The Mary D. Hume soon departed for the Bearing Sea and a 10 year career that made her famous in Arctic Whaling history.
The Mary D. Hume recorded the largest catch of whale baleen, valued at $400,000 after a 29 month voyage. She then made Arctic Whaling history with the longest recorded whaling voyage of six years. During her long Arctic voyage numerous sailors died from scurvy, cold and lunacy caused by privation. Their bodies were stored frozen in ice until the spring thaw allowed burial on nearby Herschel Island. Her last whaling voyage was recorded in 1889 and on her return trip she was caught in a horrible storm which tore whaling boats from the decks and washed two sailors overboard to their deaths in the frigid sea. The Mary D. was then retired to towing service on the Nushagak river in Alaska.
May 20, 1909 The American
August 1, 1979 The Mary D. Hume was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Built in Gold Beach in 1881 The Mary D. Hume is:
Length: 97.6 feet long
Tonnage: 158 tons
Width: 22.8 feet wide
Depth: 10 feet deep
Location. 42° 25.33′ N, 124° 25.056′ W. Marker is in Gold Beach, Oregon, in Curry County. Marker is on Harbor Way (U.S. 101), on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Turn west on Harbor Way from U.S. 101 just south of the bridge over the Rogue River. Marker is in this post office area: Gold Beach OR 97444, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Patterson Bridge (a few steps from this marker); Gold Beach (approx. Gold Beach Ranger Station (approx. 1.4 miles away); Cape San Sebastian (approx. 6.1 miles away); Conflict at Pistol River (approx. 9.9 miles away).
More about this marker. There are two informational markers here at a viewing area.
Regarding Mary D. Hume. The Mary D. Hume, built at this spot in 1881, had the longest active service of any commercial vessel on the Pacific coast, a total of 97 yrs as freighter, whaling vessel, to towboat service. She, broke after being docked here, and the wreck remains
Categories. • Disasters • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 23, 2014, by Larry Wilson of Wareham, Massachusetts. This page has been viewed 409 times since then and 38 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on April 24, 2014, by Larry Wilson of Wareham, Massachusetts. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.