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Major Max Fleischmann
Breakwater at Castle Rock
Santa Barbara Breakwater was financed
by Major Max Fleishmann.
Stone came from Fry's Harbor, Santa Cruz Island.
Santa Barbara Harbor
Santa Barbara Harbor before and after
by Neal Graffey

FLEISCHMANN, Major Max C. (1877-1951), American “Yeast King” and philanthropist who moved to Santa Barbara after World War I. In the late 1920s, Fleischmann financed the construction of the Santa Barbara breakwater with a $250,000 gift to the city. It enabled him to have a place to moor his 218-foot yacht, Haida V. The breakwater stone was quarried from Fry’s Harbor on Santa Cruz Island. Fleischmann also financed the auditorium and the Hall of Mammals at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Fleischmann owned 22 yachts during his lifetime, naming several of them Haida after the Haida Indians of the Pacific Northwest, whose seafaring skills he so admired. The "Major" moored his 218-foot-long Haida, the biggest and most beautiful of his many vessels, in the Santa Barbara harbor for ten years beginning in 1930. In 1940 Haida was commandeered by the Navy, renamed U.S.S. Argus and used as a patrol yacht that operated out of San Francisco.

Suffering from cancer, Fleischmann committed suicide in 1951. His multi-million dollar trust was dispersed in 1980, according to his wishes, 20 years after the death of his wife, Sarah Hamilton Sherlock (1881-1960). The couple had no children.

  • Haida (#204858) 83.6 feet built in New York in 1908, home port Cincinatti, OH
  • Haida (#) 218 feet built in Kiel, Germany in 1929. [USS Argus; Sarina; Rosenkavalier; Haida G]
  • Haida (#) 168 feet (steel) built by Bath Iron Works, ME in 1947. Fleischmann's 22nd vessel. [Elda; Eda; Astarte; Ashtoreth]

  • 1947. The Newest Fleischmann Yacht' Life September 1, 1947 pages 63-66 separate.
[original in SCIF archives]

The Breakwater Noticias 8(1): 1-11, Spring 1962

In the News~

January 16, 1926 [SBMP]: “... It was learned yesterday that Maj. Max Fleischmann has placed his three-masted auxillary schooner Haida on the market for $40,000. The Haida, which would cost $85,000 to reproduce today, was but recently overhauled and refurnished; has two single staterooms, a large salon with two Pullman berths; completely replanked and waterlined, and new port lights put in throughout. The owner’s launch has been remodeled and a new speed launch, the Haida Papoose, added. The Haida is one of the best equipped and most economical boats to run on the Pacific coast. Major Fleischmann is reserving the name and personal effects in selling the vessel.”

April 12, 1928 [SBMP]: “Major Max Fleischmann, donor of $450,000 for Santa Barbara’s new breakwater, has awarded a contract for a new multi-million dollar yacht to a shipyard in Kiel, Germany, according to a dispatch published in the Los Angeles Express. The yacht is described as a 250-foot diesel-powered craft. The skipper of the new yacht will be Captain Jack Hansen, well-known as the master of Clem Wilson’s yacht Ripple. He will leave Mr. Wilson’s services in about a month and leave for Germany where the new yacht will be plaed in commission and brought to Santa Barbara.”

July 21, 1928 [SBMP]: “Donation of another $250,000 by Maj Max Fleischmann to the Santa Barbara breakwater construction, announced yesterday, assures the building of at least 600 more feet than is provided for in the present contract. The work now in progress will give the city something over 1100 feet of breakwater, it is now generally agreed.The addition of 600 feet more, with the funds just donated by the major, will supply a breakwater approximately 1800 feet in length and assure the city of a harbor adequate to protect vessels from southeasters during the winter storms, and thus make it useable all the year round by owners of vessels. The additional work will be biilt on the east end of the work now in progress, as soon as the present contract is completed. The construction will be by Merritt, Chapman & Scott, the contractors on the present work. The added construciton will give the city a harbor costing $650,000, for which the citizens will have paid but $200,000. Major Fleischmann having already matched the original $200,000 voted by the tax payers for the work. With the wharf now being rebuilt byy Major Fleischmann, Dwight Murphy and associates, and plans already made for the construction of a home for the Santa Barbara Yacht Club on the wharf, Santa Barbara will have a harbor when all the work is completed, that will be the equal for pleasure craft of anything in the United States.”

July 2, 1929 [SBMP]: “Santa Barbara was assured of the construction of a promenade on the Fleischmann breakwater yesterday when a contract for the extension of the western end of the present breakwater at a cost of approximately $100,000 was awarded to Merritt, Chapman & Scott, Co. Three local concerns also bid for the job. Major Max Fleischmann, who already has provided $450,000 toward the cost of the structure, has announced that he will furnish the additional sum necessary. It is his wish to make the breakwater a harbor improvement which will be of service and pleasure to the entire city. After the wall is extended to the beach on the western end, the top will be surfaced and a cement walk constructed…”

June 29, 1931 [SBMP]: “Seas shred yacht off Santa Cruz. Four persons saved their lives when they jumped off their disabled yacht, Typhoon, as it was pounded to pieces on a reef off Platt's Harbor, Santa Cruz Island by a tremendous sea early yesterday morning... They were rescued by members of the crew of Major Max C. Fleischmann's Haida, after a 12 hour vigil from a cliff-bound stretch of beach... Nothing of the boat was saved.”

February 29, 1932 [LAT]: “Boar hunters use amphibian. Prominent Santa Barbarans fly to Santa Cruz Island, bag six, and return. Santa Barbara, Feb. 28. — Flying across the twenty-eight-mile Santa Barbara Channel to Santa Cruz Island, packing eight miles inland on horseback, shooting six large wild boars, and returning to the mainland by sunset was the experience of a party of six local sportsmen recently. Maj. Max C. Fleischmann, Santa Barbara; John T. De Blois Wack, New York; Charles Howard, Sr. and Charles Howard Jr., San Francisco; Harry Sheldon, Santa Barbara, and Harry Jones, pilot, made the trip in the "Flying Elephant," mammoth amphibian owned by Wack. The ship took off from Goleta airport here, arriving in Pelican Bay, at the island, eighteen minutes later.”