Hidden in Plain Sight: The composite-hulled stern-wheel steamboats of Western Canada


In 1897, three composite-hulled stern-wheel steamboats were prefabricated to common specifications in Ontario for the Canadian Pacific Railway. The vessels were intended for the Stikine River route to the Klondike Gold fields, but only one vessel - Tyrrell - was assembled in BC and moved north before the route collapsed. That ship was redirected into the Yukon River drainage, and eventually abandoned near Dawson City in the Yukon Territory at the end of its career. The components of the other two vessels, now surplus, were shipped inland to southeastern BC, where they were lengthened and assembled for service on the great fjord-like lakes of the area. One vessel - Moyie - has been preserved as a National Historic Site in Kaslo, BC. The two surviving ships are case studies of the potential discoveries that can be made in heritage ships and hulks. They offer remarkable opportunities to study a rare 19th century steamboat design. In particular, Moyie contains a dramatic and unique engineering approach associated with the lengthening of the hull. What is most surprising is Moyie’s innovative alterations have remained unnoticed and unstudied to date.

Cite this Record

Hidden in Plain Sight: The composite-hulled stern-wheel steamboats of Western Canada. John Pollack, Sarah Moffatt, Robert Turner, Robyn Woodward, Sean Adams. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436986)

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Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-44,09