Eureka (No. 136740)

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Eureka (#136740) (1899-1937), 238-foot steel-hulled freighter built in Ohio and acquired by the Pacific Coast Steamship Company in 1907. She was the second vessel of this name known to service Santa Cruz Island. According to Santa Cruz Island Company records, Eureka ran large quantities of supplies to the island in 1914. She was sold to the Alaska Steamship Company in 1916 and renamed Nizina. She was scraped in 1937. Mrs. Ambrose Gherini remembered:

“In my childhood many were the trips we made on the Eureka... The Eureka was really a freight boat. On the way South, we would stop at Port Harford (now Port San Luis), and if they intended to load and unload, we would have time to take a train ride on the narrow gauge up to San Luis Obispo... Another stop was Cayucas. Sometimes the tide would be low and the wharf would be higher up, and, if any passengers were to board the Eureka, they would be placed in baskets and lowered like freight. The stops depended on when and where cargo was due to be picked up or delivered. When the Santa Rosa replaced the Eureka as a passenger boat, that was a true luxury.”

Mrs. Ambrose Gherini continued:

“In a letter from my grandmother written on July 4, 1904, she said 'we won't expect to receive any mail through here [Prisoners' Harbor] because it's the Eureka which makes a call here on her way directly to San Francisco.'” [SCIF OP #1, p. 67].

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In the News~

June 10, 1911 [SBMP]: “Captain Burtis Makes Big Haul Says this Report. A story comes out of San Diego to the effect that Captain Sam Burtis, a former Santa Barbaran and one of the best known mariners of the Pacific, has just made a successful haul of a sum variously estimated at from $15,000,000 to $60,000,000... The San Diego Dispatch says treasure hidden by the crew of a Chilean cruiser off the coast of Honduras more than a generation ago has been recovered by a party of explorers aboard the steamer Eureka... The Eureka is commanded by Captain Burtis, and about two weeks ago was taken from here on a 30-day charter by a party of San Franciscans... The Eureka, owned by the North Pacific Coast Steamship Company and having a displacement of 400 tons, is an oil burner. It is said that its stop here will not be for oil alone, but for the unshipment of the gold.”

May 30, 1914 [SBMP]: “Steamer may ply to islands weekly. Promoters are considering the chartering of Eureka for Mondays. The many residents of Santa Barbara who for years past have had a strong desire to view the rare charms of Santa Cruz Island, but who have been deterred from the attempt by their fear of crossing the channel in small boats plying in the island excursion trade, will soon have that opportunity. Two local men are in correspondence with the North Pacific Steamship Company for the charter of its steamer Eureka, plying on regular schedule between San Francisco and Ventura, for some Monday in the near future for an excursion to the island shores… The Eureka is a small steamer, but a comfortable one…”

June 3, 1914 [SBDNI]: “An excursion to include a trip about the Channel Islands is being arranged for June 15 on the steamer Eureka. The owners plan to make island excursions on the Eureka a feature of the summer season. The steamer will sail from Santa Barbara at 6 o’clock in the morning and expects to return at 6 o’clock the same evening, after visiting all the islands and stopping at various bays.”

June 4, 1914 [SBMP]:Eureka going to islands July 15. E. J., Gourley and Harry A. Smith engage steamer for excursion. After rather a long negotiation and a deal of correspondence, E. J. Gourley and Harry Smith have concluded arrangements for a grand excursion to the islands on Monday, July 15, in the passenger steamer, Eureka, one of the boats of the North Pacific Steamship Company… The main purpose of the excursion, however, is to meet the demands of the hundreds of people who have often declared a strong desire to see Santa Cruz Island…”

June 10, 1914 [SBMP]: “Venturans enjoy voyage on Eureka. The excursion by the steamer Eureka from Ventura to Anacapa Island last Thursday is described by yesterday’s issue of the Ventura Democrat as a very enjoyable affair participated in by 100 people from the city named… As before mentioned, this same steamer has been chartered by E. J. Gourley and Harry Smith for an excursion from Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz Island for Monday next…”

June 13, 1914 [SBMP]: “The excursion on the bay steamer Eureka, planned for next Monday by E. J. Gourley and Harry Smith, is exciting a good deal of interest in town… The passengers on this voyage will be limited to 100…”

June 14, 1914 [SBMP]:Eureka chartered for first voyage of its kind tomorrow. The indications all point to a great success for the excursion planned for tomorrow by Edwin J. Gourley and Harry Smith by the steamer Eureka. The boat will leave Stearn’s Wharf at 9 o’clock A.M. and proceed directly to Santa Cruz Island… This excursion will afford a very unusual opportunity for a view of this island by people unwilling to cross the channel in the small boats that ply between there and the mainland, and it will also offer a rare treat even for frequent visitors to the island who have only seen the north shore. The Eureka will make a complete circuit of Santa Cruz, and give such a comprehensive view of the island charm as is seldom seen, except by the fishermen, as the small island excursion boats confine their visits almost entirely to the north coast harbors. If this island excursion develops a proper show… a monthly excursion to Santa Cruz Island on the same steamer is the plan…”

July 17, 1914 [OC]: “A. R. Crawford of Ventura, manager of the J. K. Armsby Co., and booster for the Ventura County Sportsman’s Club, was in Oxnard today, in the interest of the trip to Santa Cruz Island by the steamship Eureka, Monday morning. Already a number of Oxnarders have signified their intention of making the trip and the party on Monday will doubtless contain the limit of 100 people, seventy tickets being now sold. Those who may wish to make the trip Monday, and get a free fish dinner and barbecue besides, may make their reservations at the Courier office, but they’ll have to hurry.”

July 20, 1914 [SBDNI]: “The steamer Eureka, which is to take a party of a hundred or more to the islands from this city next Sunday, sailed this morning from Ventura with a large island party. The Eureka stopped here Sunday night on her way south.”

July 21, 1914 [SBDNI]: “Yesterday 130 Venturans visited the islands aboard the steamer Eureka and were cared for at Captain Eaton’s camp. Next Monday the Eureka will take a larger party from this city to the same camp…”

July 22, 1914 [SBMP]: “Yesterday morning Captain Ira Eaton returned from Pelican Bay on the Sea Wolf. He reported a very successful and enjoyable excursion from Ventura the preceding day, the party numbering 125 and making the stop for dinner at Pelican Bay. The voyagers came up from Ventura by the steamer Eureka and the Sea Wolf, which later craft went down to that city last Sunday night to take overflow from the Eureka whose passenger limit is 100.”

July 24, 1914 [SBMP]: “Steamer Eureka to make voyage across channel Monday. Increasing interest is manifested in the big excursion to Pelican Bay, Santa Cruz Island by the steamer Eureka next Monday, and it looks as though the accommodations of the steamer will be apt to be sold out before the day set for the event… The steamer will land at Pelican Bay, one of the best harbors on the island shore, and four hours will be spent at Eaton’s camp and roundabout. A fine fish dinner will be served here, or passengers may take their dinner with them… This excursion is in the hands of E. J. Gourley and Harry A. Smith…”

July 25, 1914 [SBDNI]: “The present booking shows that the steamer Eureka will carry more than fifty Santa Barbara people to the islands Monday morning. At the islands Captain Eaton is making special preparations to care for his guests, and side trips to the Painted Cave and other points of interest have been arranged. The Eureka will have been arranged. The Eureka will sail at 8 o’clock Monday morning.”

July 27, 1914 [SBDNI]: “A party of people chaperoned by Mrs. Harry Stetson, left this morning on the Eureka for a trip to Santa Cruz Island. Among those who made the trip and will return this evening are: Mrs. Harry Stetson, Mrs. R. Kaufmann, the Misses Parrott, Miss Kemfft and Messrs. Howard, Parrott, Loring Colman and Vanderlyn Stow.”

July 27, 1914 [SBDNI]: “One hundred and twenty Santa Barbara people left for the islands at 8 o’clock this morning aboard the steamer Eureka. The great majority of the passengers were women. The boat will return here about 6 o’clock this evening, thus giving the party four hours at the islands for fishing and side excursions to the Painted Cave and other interesting places. Captain Eaton also left this morning in the Sea Wolf and accompanied the big boat over. Lunch will be served for the party at Eaton’s camp.”

July 28, 1914 [SBDNI]: “The steamer Eureka returned about 8 o’clock last night from the islands with the large party which left aboard her in the morning. The trip over was as smooth as a millpond cruise, and every passenger felt that he had been in luck with both weather and sea. Arrangements are being made for the Eureka to make another trip to the islands in about two weeks. After landing her passengers last night she took freight and went north to San Francisco.”

July 31, 1914 [SBDNI]: “The steamer Eureka will make another excursion to the islands Monday, August 9. Arrangements will be made for side trips and entertainment on the island similar to those on the last trip when more than 100 sailed aboard the Eureka.”

August 3, 1914 [SBMP]: “Reduce expense of island excursion. Eureka trip, including incidentals to be 50 cents cheaper. E. J. Gourley and Harry Smith, who have ran a couple of excursions to the island by the steamer Eureka, and with decided success, are planning to continue the business along better lines than before. Heretofore the fare for the round trip by steamer has been $2, the price of the big fish dinner at Pelican Bay 50 cents, and the fare on the side trip 50 cents, making a total charge of $3 for the days outing for those who enjoyed all these features… By an arrangement just concluded with Captain Eaton, who manages the camp at Pelican Bay, and owns, besides the Sea Wolf, two other powerboats and several skiffs and a glass-bottom boat, at the popular island resort names, an excursion rate of $2.50 to cover all items enumerated... Dinner will be served about noon, after which the visitors will be taken to the Painted Cave… It is expected that the next excursion from here will be run next Monday, and the chances are that the only way to secure accommodations for this delightful trip will be to make early application.”

August 4, 1914 [SBMP]: “The steamer Eureka from San Francisco, arrived in port at an early hour yesterday… and then proceeded to Ventura to take an excursion party of 100 people to Pelican Bay, Santa Cruz Island. After getting her passengers back to their home city in the evening, the steamer returned here and took on several hundred tons of citrus fruit and started on her way back to San Francisco.”

August 7, 1914 [SBDNI]: “H. A. Smith, who is managing the island excursion aboard Eureka, which leaves here at 8 o’clock Monday morning, says that fish stories are turning Monday’s party into one big fishing trip. The Eureka will stay four hours at the islands, and Captain Eaton, who is keeping daily track of the best fishing grounds, will be ready when the boat arrives to take the fishermen out in the Sea Wolf… Many of those who go to the islands next Monday will be members of the last excursion party.”

August 8, 1914 [SBMP]: “Increasing interest is felt in the excursion to Santa Cruz Island on the steamer Eureka next Monday morning, and as the accommodations are limited to 100 passengers, it will be well for those who want to go on this voyage to secure their tickets as early as possible. It is thought that the tickets will all be sold before the day is out, as the excursion idea is more popular this summer than ever before… The Eureka will leave Stern’s Wharf on this excursion at 8 o’clock and sail directly to Pelican Bay, arriving there in time for a good view of the beauties of that harbor before serving of a fish and chowder dinner at Eaton’s camp… Tickets for the round trip and including the dinner and the visit to Painted Cave will be sold at $2.50 at the Southern Pacific Office, 907 State Street, and at the wharf.”

August 9, 1914 [SBMP]: “The excursion to Santa Cruz Island by the steamer Eureka, which was scheduled for tomorrow, has been cancelled, as it was found to be inexpedient under the circumstances. The promoters hope to be able to announce it for a later date, in which event the public will have due notice. This postponement will doubtless cause a deal of disappointment among those who expected to see the island tomorrow, but the season is yet young, and there will undoubtedly be plenty of chances for that outing. Pleasure navigation is closed on the channel for the year.”

August 16, 1914 [SBMP]: “Tomorrow the steamer Eureka will take another excursion party from Ventura to Pelican Bay. The visitors will have their dinner at Captain Eaton’s camp and return to their homes in the evening.”

August 17, 1914 [SBMP]: “Yesterday Ira Eaton went to Ventura in his powerboat, the Sea Wolf, to take a party of excursionists to his camp at Pelican Bay. These will be thirty people who had applied for passage aboard the steamer Eureka to the same island harbor today, but who could not be accommodated on account of the Eureka’s passenger limit. The party, numbering 130 people in all, will have dinner at the bay and return to Ventura this evening.”