“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
San Francisco in San Francisco City and County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

The Matson Line

The Matson Line Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, December 18, 2014
1. The Matson Line Marker
Inscription. From 1926 until 1970, Piers 30 and 32 were famous as the San Francisco base of operations of the Matson Line, founded by Captain William Matson, who in 1882 borrowed $4,000 from a scow schooner man to buy shares in the sailing schooner Emma Claudina, which he sailed to Hawaii to bring back a load of sugar. It was the beginning of the Maston Navigation Company, which profited greatly from its Hawaiian connections in sugar, pineapple, oil, and a belief that islands could become a paradise in the Pacific for cruise ships.

(photograph #1)
Built in 1926, the double piers 30 and 32 are seen above in 1945, when the Matson vessels were painted battleship gray and converted to carry thousands of troops and their supplies to the Pacific. Matsonia is in the center, the Lurline is on the left at Pier 32, and Monterey is on the right at Pier 30. The Key System ferry boat was renamed Ernie Pyle, in honor of everybody's favorite wartime correspondent; it brought many soldiers destined for the war in the Pacific to this Matson Pier, where they embarked on their dangerous trip west. Directly in back of the piers was the Santa Fe Railroad freight yard and the five-story Matson Line Company building, designed to stock all the ship's supplies.

(photograph 2)
The Matson Line Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, December 18, 2014
2. The Matson Line Marker
III past Diamond Head into Honolulu; her arrival always set off an island celebration. Her passengers could look forward to nostalgic music by the band, leis of flowers showers of streamers, and traditional dances of welcome.

(map of the Lurline South Seas and Orient cruise and photograph 3)
The dream of every movie-struck girl in the 1920s and 30s was to take a Matson cruise and find you deck-chair partner to be Douglas Fairbanks Jr., seen here in conversation with Miss California. Whether you travelled on the flagship Lurline to Hawaii, or on the sleek steamers Yale or Harvard on over-night between San Francisco and Los Angeles, shipboard romance sold tickets.

(photograph 4)
Piers 30-32 saw a dramatic confrontation on May 9, 1934, when members of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union burned union cards in front of Pier 32. They shut the port down, leaving more than sixty ships stranded. The National Guard was called out, as seen in the view above, and by July 5th - remembered as "Bloody Thursday" - mounted police threw tear tear gas to drive stickers back from Pier 34 to Piers 30-32. One thousand policeman (sic) battled with five thousand union men up the slopes of Rincon Hill. Two were killed, hundreds were injured. It became a long and bitter general strike in which union demands
The base of The Matson Line Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, December 18, 2014
3. The base of The Matson Line Marker
To sit together drinking the blue ocean, eating the sun like a fruit...
were met.

(on the back of the pylon)
Matson Line Passenger Vessels that Sailed from Piers 30-32

Lurline II, 6571-ton passenger steamer, 1908-1928 • Wilhelmina, 5974-ton passenger steamer, 1909-1940 • Manoa, 6806-ton passenger steamer, 1913-1942 • Matsonia, 9402-ton passenger steamer, 1913-1937 • Maui, 9801-ton passenger steamer, 1917-1941 • Malolo, renamed Mastsonia #2, 17,232-ton passenger liner, 1927-1948 • Lurline #3, 18,564-ton passenger liner, 1932-1963 • Yale, 3818-ton passenger liner, 1931-1941 • Harvard, 3825-ton passenger liner, 1931-1941 • City of Los Angeles. 12,641-ton passenger liner, 1899-1937 • Sierra, 6076-ton passenger liner, 1901-1934 • Sonoma, 6279-ton passenger liner, 1901-1934 • Ventura, 6282-ton passenger liner, 1900-1924 • Mariposa #2, 18,017-ton passenger liner, 1932-1953 • Monterey #2 18,170-ton passenger liner, 1832-1982
Erected by San Francisco Art Commission for the Waterfront Transportation Projects.
Location. 37° 47.199′ N, 122° 23.259′ W. Marker is in San Francisco, California, in San Francisco City and County. Marker is on The Embarcadero near Bryant
The Matson Line Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, December 18, 2014
4. The Matson Line Marker
Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 543 The Embarcadero, San Francisco CA 94105, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bryant Street (within shouting distance of this marker); Waterfront Railroad (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Bay Bridge (about 400 feet away); Spear Street (about 500 feet away); Beale Street (about 600 feet away); Beale Street Wharf (about 600 feet away); Brannan Street (about 700 feet away); Harrison Street (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Francisco.
More about this marker. This marker is on the San Francisco Bay Trail at Piers 30-32.
Also see . . .
1. About Us - Matson. In 1887, Captain Matson sold the Emma Claudina and acquired the brigantine Lurline, which more than doubled the former vessel's carrying capacity. As the Matson fleet expanded, new vessels introduced some dramatic maritime innovations. The bark Rhoderick Dhu was the first ship to have a cold storage plant and electric lights. The first Matson steamship, the Enterprise, was the first offshore ship in the Pacific to burn oil instead of coal. (Submitted on March 7, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
William Matson image. Click for full size.
5. William Matson

2. Matsin Shipping Lines – South Seas Dreams. Offering the promise of South Seas adventures and tropical paradises, the cruise line commissioned top artists and photographers to create advertising posters that would lure travelers to book passage on its ships traversing the Pacific Ocean. (Submitted on March 7, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 
Categories. Labor UnionsWar, World IIWaterways & Vessels
1963 Matson Line advertisement image. Click for full size.
By Matson Line
6. 1963 Matson Line advertisement
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 7, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 283 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on March 7, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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