Monday, December 5, 2022

Today in MendoHistory: 12.6.1904- Albion Residents Gather to Launch the Sotoyome, a Three-Masted Schooner-Barge Made Entirely of MendoCoast Douglas Fir


In collaboration with Mendocino’s Kelley House Museum, MendoFever will be publishing their “This Day in Mendocino History” Facebook posts. The Kelley House Museum works hard to document and curate Mendocino County’s rich history and can be visited in the seaside town of Mendocino.

Photo: The Sotoyome ready for launching, 1904. The ship is moored directly in front of the South Side Hotel where the festivities and celebrations of the launch were centered. Just behind her on the left is a short drawbridge with a steel structure, which took the Coast Road over the Albion River. It would have to be raised for the ship to pass through to the ocean. (Dilling Photo Studio, Gift of Emery Escola, Emery Escola Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

On this day in Mendocino history…

December 6, 1904 – The Albion Lumber Company launched its new three masted schooner-barge, the Sotoyome. Andrew Peterson, an experienced ship builder, constructed the ship using Albion’s native Douglas Fir which he called “a superior timber for the purpose of ship building.” The ship was 170 feet long and 36 feet wide with three 86.5 feet masts, each with a diameter of 23 inches.

The Sotoyome was the first vessel in 15 years to be built and successfully launched at Albion. The Beacon reported on the large crowd that gathered. “Promptly at the appointed time amid the huzzas of the populace, the strains of martial music, the clang of the bells, and the shrieks of whistles, Mrs. H. B. Hickey, wife of the superintendent of the Albion Lumber Company, standing on the prow of the vessel, bathed its sides with the foam of champagne, exclaiming: ‘I christen thee Sotoyome!’ The Mendocino band discoursed sweet music which was highly appreciated by all, and the festivities ended by a grand ball and banquet at the famous South Side hotel.”

In February 1905, the lumber company added two 125-horse-power gas engines to supply auxiliary power, and in March, she made her maiden voyage to San Francisco with a cargo of lumber.

On December 7, 1907, disaster struck, eight miles from Eureka. A fire started by the gasoline engines was further fueled by a leak in the oil tanks. The crew was rescued by the steamer, Lakme. The abandoned ship drifted northward, burning fiercely from stem to stern. The vessel and its cargo of lumber were a total loss.


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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFever
I like to think of myself as a journalist for the everyman. Journalism has become a craft practiced largely by the urban elite. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at if you know a story that needs to be told.

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