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Frances (# ) (1903-), 35-foot long wood sloop-rigged launch built by the Potter Hotel in Santa Barbara for hotel guests and the tourist trade. It made frequent trips to the Channel Islands and fishing excursions. The Potter Hotel, built by Milo Potter at a cost of over a million dollars, opened on January 19, 1903. Frances was sold by the hotel in 1905, although she remained in the area. On April 13, 1921, the Potter Hotel burned to the ground. Many suspected arson. The more than 100 guests were safely evacuated.

In the News~

August 1, 1903 [SBI]: “The pleasure boat recently built by the Potter Hotel company is expected to arrive from San Pedro early next week in charge of Captain Jim Gardner, who will have permanent charge of the little craft…”

August 10, 1903 [SBI]: “The new gasoline sloop-rigged launch Frances, recently finished for the Potter Hotel company, arrived from San Pedro at 8 o’clock A.M. yesterday, Captain Jim Gardner in command… She is 35 feet long, with an 11-foot beam and a draft of 5-1/2 feet, and she registers ten tons… The Frances is fitted with the best engine made. It is 25-horse power and is the finest piece of machinery of the kind used in any boat on this coast…”

August 11, 1903 [SBI]: “The Potter Hotel company’s new gasoline launch Frances sailed away for Santa Cruz Island this morning with a merry little party from the big hotel as guests of H. T. Kendall…”

August 12, 1903 [LAT]: “New Santa Cruz [Island] Resort… The new $5000 power launch to be run in connection with the Potter Hotel [Frances] has just been put into service. It was built by C. Jorgenson at San Pedro, is thirty-five feet overall, and will accommodate thirty-five people. It is electric-lighted and is furnished with a twenty-horse-power engine.”

August 12, 1903 [SBI]: “H. T. Kendall and his party, who went to Santa Cruz Island on a fishing excursion yesterday morning in the Potter Hotel company’s gasoline launch Frances, returned in time for dinner in the evening…”

August 14, 1903 [SBI]: “The Potter Hotel company’s fine new boat Frances is clearly and unmistakably a winner. Since her arrival here from San Pedro last Sunday morning, she has been in use by sailing and fishing parties every day, and she has now only one open date for the next three weeks… The schedule of the Frances is generally for a trip to Santa Cruz Island, which she can reach with ease in considerably less than three hours…”

August 14, 1903 [SBI]: “The gasoline launch Frances made another trip to the islands this morning with a score of the Potter guests as passengers.”

August 22, 1903 [SBI]: “A very jolly party is reveling in the charms of Santa Cruz Island. It is composed of the McKay party that sailed across the channel yesterday morning in Douglas White’s yacht Ramona and a dozen of the guests of the Potter, who went over in the launch Frances on the same day. The excursionists are expected to return tomorrow evening.”

August 25, 1903 [SBI]: “The Frances, in company with the Potter Hotel guests… arrived home last evening and returned to the island this morning with another party from among the guests of the big hotel.”

August 25, 1903 [SBI]: “The Frances sailed for the island this morning, carrying a lot of supplies for Mr. Caire, and she will make the same journey tomorrow with a pleasure party from the Potter Hotel…”

August 30, 1903 [SBMP]: “The yacht Frances, Captain Gardner, has been making almost daily trips to Santa Cruz with various parties of sightseers aboard. Captain Gardner reports the fishing on the other side of the channel is very fine.”

August 31, 1903 [SBI]: “About twenty of the employees of the Potter Hotel company enjoyed a delightful excursion to Santa Cruz Island yesterday on the power yacht Frances… The boat and luncheon were provided by Mr. Potter.”

September 2, 1903 [SBI]: “Tracy Farnham of Ojai, Elliott Lee of Montecito and Jack Hazard of this city returned last night from a two days’ cruise in the power launch Frances around the Channel Islands…”

September 5, 1903 [SBI]: “Fine tuna caught in channel today. The record fish catch of the season, time considered, was made today… on the Frances…”

November 8, 1903 [SBMP]: “A number of gentlemen are spending today at Santa Cruz Island, the party leaving on the Potter Hotel launch Frances early this morning.”

November 26, 1903 [SBI]: “Yesterday Captain Jim Gardner took Allen G. Fraser, four carpenters and two laborers over to Santa Cruz Island on the power launch Frances. The men are to work on four new cottages, the materials for which were taken over yesterday by the gasoline schooner Santa Cruz.”

November 27, 1903 [SBMP]: “The Santa Cruz schooner took over a load of material Wednesday for the construction of cottages at the new resort on the island which Allan G. Fraser is promoting. Mr. Fraser and four carpenters went over in the Frances yesterday. The resort will be open for business as soon as the tourist season sets in, although it will not be complete.”

June 8, 1904 [SBMP]: “The Potter [Hotel] boat Frances will make daily trips from Pelican Bay to other parts of the island.”

July 6, 1904 [SBMP]: “Captain Hendricks took a party over in the Potter [Hotel] boat Frances, which has lately returned from Terminal Island.”

August 9, 1904 [SBMP]: “A jolly party of young people made a trip on Sunday to Anacapa Island and returned in the Potter boat Frances, and brought back about 400 pounds of fish caught while going and coming across the channel.”

August 11, 1904 [SBMP]: “Ashton H. Potter, Benjamin Oxnard, James Oxnard and Maxwell McNutt expect to make a trip to Anacapa Island today in the power launch Frances. The fishing in Anacapa channel is reported excellent.”

August 21, 1904 [SBMP]: “The Frances returned yesterday from Santa Cruz Island where it unloaded a party of seal hunters and their supplies.”

August 24, 1904 [SBMP]: “The Potter [Hotel] boat Frances, in charge of Captain Hendricks, is expected in from the islands today with the Rogers' seal hunting party and their game...”

August 25, 1904 [SBMP]: “The Potter [Hotel] boat Frances returned yesterday from Santa Cruz Island with Frank Nidever and others who have been catching seals there during the last few days...”

September 7, 1904 [SBMP]: “A party of twenty-one young people spent labor day on Anacapa Island and report a most enjoyable time. They secured the Potter Hotel launch Frances and made an early start... lunch was eaten on land...”

September 22, 1904 [SBMP]: “A party of fifteen fishermen will leave early this morning in the Potter boat Frances for a day's fishing in the channel...”

September 23, 1904 [SBMP]:v “Excitement became general with all on board the Frances when she ran through the quiet bays of Santa Cruz Island, where a large number of yellowtail could be seen chasing schools of small fish through the water...”

October 2, 1904 [SBMP]: “A number of fishing parties will be out today after the big fish that are now being caught in the channel. Among them is a party of sixteen young people who have chartered the Frances for the day, and will under the direction of Captain Hendricks, make a rune to the islands for fishing purposes.”

October 5, 1904 [SBMP]: “A party of eleven people will leave early this morning in the Frances for a day's excursion and fishing trip to Santa Cruz Island and back. They expect to come back with an abundance of fish.”

October 6, 1904 [SBMP]: “The Potter boat Frances took a party to Santa Cruz Island on a fishing excursion yesterday, but the day's outing was not completed until two trips had been made...”

October 9, 1904 [SBMP]: “The Frances will take a large party of people over to the islands.”

November 7, 1904 [LAT/SB]: “Captain Colice Vasquez of the launch Peerless has returned from Santa Cruz Island with the news of the sad death of S. W. Cooney, a Grand Rapids, Michigan man who had been in Santa Barbara for his health since last April. Cooney, who was an expert sailor and fisherman, went to Santa Cruz Island several days ago with a party of friends and camped at Lady’s Harbor… Captain Vasquez broke the news to Mrs. Cooney, who was completely prostrated. She soon recovered, and later in the day left for the islands in the power launch Frances, with the intention of making a thorough search for the body. Cooney was at one time since coming to Santa Barbara, captain of the Potter Hotel launch, Frances, and Mrs. Cooney has been employed as a bookkeeper at the Potter Hotel.”

November 8, 1904 [SBMP]: “A number of gentlemen are spending today at Santa Cruz Island, the party leaving on the Potter Hotel launch early this morning. Those who are on the Frances...”

November 10, 1904 [SBMP]: “The Potter boat Frances, in charge of Captain Hendricks, sailed again yesterday afternoon for Santa Cruz Island. It was decided to continue the search for the remains of S. W. Cooney, who was drowned off that island last week. The Frances was well stocked with food and the search will be continued for some time.”

November 16, 1904 [SBMP]: “Captain Jesse L. Hendricks left yesterday afternoon with a number of seal hunters in the Potter Hotel boat Frances for the islands. He has an order for thirteen live seals and will continue to hunt them until that number has been captured.”

November 20, 1904 [SBMP]: “Tuna caught in the channel. The fact that large tuna can be caught in the channel can no longer be disputed. Yesterday Jesse L. Hendricks, captain of the Potter boat Frances, brought in a regulation tuna, weighing 117 pounds…”

April 18, 1905 [SBMP]: “The Frances, which was formerly the property of the Potter Hotel company, has arrived from Ocean Park in charge of Captain Bell, and the Petrel from Long Beach has been brought in by her owner, H. N. Aldrich. This adds to the congestion to the boat service at Stearn's Wharf...”

November 28, 1906 [LAT/SCat]: “Avalon. The sloop Frances, of Santa Barbara, which went ashore at Howland’s [Santa Catalina Island] in the storm of the 19th inst., is having a run of bad luck. On Wednesday after the accident, she was pulled off the beach by Tommy Whittley, and anchored a little way out where it was thought she was safe. In less than three hours after she was gotten off another northeast storm came up quite unexpectedly, and the Frances was again driven ashore on almost the exact spot from which she had been rescued, and she now lies there the prey of the waves, should another northeaster come at high tide. Yesterday the island was visited by quite a storm, but it was at low tide and did little harm to the wrecked boat.”

October 5, 1910 [SBI]: “The launch Frances, which lay for several weeks on the sand at the end of the commercial wharf, and which for along time previous had been in the water in a sinking condition, was hauled today to the shop of Ira Eaton, where it will be repaired.”

June 6, 1913 [SBMP]: “Captain Ira Eaton has returned from Pelican Bay, Santa Cruz Island, where he went Monday morning on the Gussie M to complete arrangements for his summer camp... Captain Ira Eaton now has two powerboats in commission, the Gussie M and the Sampan, and will soon have a third, the Frances, which is now being overhauled. Captain James Palmer, who came here from San Pedro, will assist in the transportation department...”