The Museum has many treasures in its collection – one of the largest and most impressive is the captain’s wheel from the steamboat the Black Prince.

Dating from 1901, the 8-foot radius wheel graced the all black boat named after a dream of Captain Charles Elwell.

The wheel was so large, in fact, that it did not actually fit in the wheelhouse and stuck out the doors. Later wheels made for the boat were much smaller. Built by the Snohomish and Skagit River Navigation Company of Everett and powered by two extremely large (10 by 48 foot) steam engines and a 100 horsepower brickyard boiler, the Black Prince worked towing logs for the prolific sawmills of Everett. The hull was 93 feet and rated for a tonnage measurement of 159 gross tons.

Decommissioned in 1935, it was offered for the token sum of one dollar to the Everett Yacht Club by then Captain Harry Ramwell, owner of the American Tug Boat Company, who had purchased it in 1922. The boat, after a remodel and being shored on timbers, became the Club’s official meeting room on July 3, 1936 and was utilized for community functions including Everett High School dances.

Loaned to the Museum in 2007 to celebrate their 100th anniversary, it took 5 men to move the approximately 600 pound solid oak wheel.

 

References:

Everett Yacht Club Centennial Book, 2007, p. 18

Snohomish County-An Illustrated History, 2005, p. 87