Relic: An object surviving from an earlier time, esp. one of historical or sentimental interest.
A Bit of History
The three-masted, steel-hulled, square-rigged Balclutha is docked at San Francisco’s Hyde Street Pier. Launched in Scotland in 1886, the Balclutha rounded South America’s Cape Horn 17 times carrying coal, pottery, cutlery and whiskey to the growing city of San Francisco. It took a crew of 26 men to operate it’s 25 sails on a voyage that lasted 140 days.
The ship was also part of the Pacific Lumber Trade, carrying 1.5 million board feet at-a-time of timber for the Australian Mining industry for use underground. In 1901 a special act of Congress permitted the Balclutha to engage in trade between American ports, and so she began hauling canned salmon between Alaska and San Francisco. For a brief time in the 1930s, the Balclutha, renamed the Pacific Queen, appeared in various Hollywood movies—most notably in the film Mutiny on the Bounty (starring Clark Gable and Charles Laughton).
“In 1954 the San Francisco Maritime Museum purchased Pacific Queen for $25,000. Assisted by donations of cash, materials and labor from the local community, the Museum restored the vessel and returned her original name. The ship was transferred to the National Park Service in 1978, and Balclutha was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985.” —NPS website
When you visit San Francisco—it’s not a matter of if—and you find yourself on Fisherman’s Wharf, it will be worth your while to go to the Hyde Street Pier and view this relic of days-gone-by.