HELENE STURDIVANT MAYNE PHOTOGRAPHY GALLERY

Shipwrecked! Historic Shipwrecks of Coastal Marin

January 23 - March 27, 2016 / Curated by Elia Haworth & Peter Evans

Wreck of the Polaris, 1914, Photo by Gertrude Southworth. Bolinas Museum Southworth Collection.
Wreck of the Polaris, 1914. Photo by Gertrude Southworth.

Bolinas Museum Archives

Today we see great ships on the horizon traveling in tightly regulated shipping lanes, guided by sophisticated technology—a stark contrast to earlier days of ship traffic along our coast. As San Francisco grew as a hub of a booming new economy and major port, thousands of ships navigated our challenging waters. Many came to a terrible end on Marin County’s rugged coast, victims of dense fog, fierce winds, unpredictable ocean currents, powerful waves--or human error.

This exhibition presents  a selection of rarely seen historic images of a few ill-fated vessels that met their end between 1853 and 1931. Their dramatic stories touch upon accounts of survivors, courageous Life-Saving Station and Coast Guard men, as well as the daunting task of building lighthouses on treacherous rocky prominences to serve as navigational aides--and warning of the hazards beneath.


Long time resident of Bolinas, Peter Evans is a the author of "Shipwrecks and Strandings on the Coast of Point Reyes National Seashore" and is an avid boatman, writer and retired librarian.

 

Special thanks to Liz Robinson, Carola DeRooy, Point Reyes National Seashore Archives, San Francisco Maritime Museum, California Historical Society, John Page and Cricket Evans.