Revenue cutter and rescue vessel; explorer, humanitarian and war hero; floating museum and movie star — few vessels in the annals of maritime history can match the 70-year career of the steam barkentine Bear.
Packed to the gunwales with gold-seekers, the steamship Islander heads out of San Francisco, bound for Alaska, to one of the most remote regions in the Northern Hemisphere. Late in 1896, not long before this photo was taken, the steamships Excelsior and Portland had pulled into San Francisco packed with gold. George Carmack; his wife, Kate Carmack; her brother “Skookum” Jim; and their nephew Dawson Charlie had made a tremendous discovery near Skagway, up on Bonanza Creek. The first of the many early prospectors were bringing home their “poke.”
It was 1947, and by the time this photo of Maine’s Flying Santa passing Boston light was taken, the holiday flights started by Capt. William Wincapaw were delivering Christmas presents to some 176 lighthouses and Coast Guard stations in New England.
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