Los Angeles

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USRC Wayanda at Shubrick Point,
Southeast Farallon Island, 1870s.
Photograph by Carleton Watkins.

Los Angeles (#15992) (1863-1894), originally the U.S. revenue cutter Wayanda, in service from 1864-1873. Wayanda was wood-hulled, 130-feet long, built in Baltimore, Maryland. On the Pacific, she serviced both California and Northern routes. Wayanda was sold in 1873 and refitted for commercial service as a freight and passenger steamer named Los Angeles, continuing in this role for some twenty years.

An April 1884 news item reported she was running regularly to Santa Barbara. According to Santa Cruz Island Company invoices, Los Angeles delivered supplies to the island in 1890, 1892, 1893, and 1894. On April 21, 1894, she struck a sunken rock south of Point Sur with 85 people on board. There were six casualties in the accident.

USRC Wayanda

In the News~

March 17, 1876 [SBDN]: “The Star of Freedom brought 44 sacks of wool over from Santa Cruz Island yesterday, and it will be shipped to San Francisco today by the Los Angeles.”

May 23, 1877 [SBDP]: “America’s annual natal day is fast approaching, and as yet no mention has been made of preparations to celebrate the day with due honor. One of the pleasantest ways of doing so would be to inaugurate a big picnic, charter a steamer and go over to the islands for the day, starting about 7 o’clock in the morning. It is a trip nearly everybody would take. All are anxious to explore the islands about which so much has been said and written. Sports of all sorts could be gone for, from sea bathing to hunting the wild hog which is to be found on the island of Santa Cruz… Shells and sea mosses abound in great varieties, and collectors could stock their show cases with ease… There are also some choice varieties of ferns growing on the island. Will not some of our leading men take the matter in hand? A steamer could be chartered without difficulty if application was made in good time.”

May 28, 1877 [DAC]: “Importations. Per Los Angeles. Santa Cruz Island. 14 bales wool, 144 bundles pelts, 23 hides, 24 barrels tallow, 33 sacks bones, 1 case clothing.”

May 28, 1877 [DAC]: “Importations. Per Los Angeles. Santa Rosa Island. 134 bales wool, 144 bundles pelts, 252 boxes tallow.”

June 20, 1877 [SBDP]: “The Odd Fellows of this city have decided to accept the proposition of the Pacific Coast Steamship Company and charter the fast-running propeller, Los Angeles, to take an excursion party to Santa Cruz Island on the 4th of July. The arrangements have not been fully made, but as the captain of the Los Angeles says he can make the trip from here to the island in two hours, the boat will probably leave here about 7 o’clock in the morning, and returning, leave the island at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, which will give eight hours there. The fare for the round-trip will be $1.50. The excursion undoubtedly will be a success, and those who are fortunate enough to secure a ticket will have a good time.”

June 20, 1877 [SBDP]: “The steamer Los Angeles will take an excursion party from this place to Santa Cruz Island on the Fourth of July.”

June 21, 1877 [SBDP]: “The Santa Cruz Island excursion is not confined to Odd Fellows. Other kinds of felloes and fellowesses will be carried.”

June 23, 1877 [SBDP]: “Fourth of July… The steamer Los Angeles has been chartered by the Santa Barbara Lodge of Odd Fellows to convey an excursion party to Santa Cruz Island… The excursion will take the form of a picnic, each one carrying their lunch basket. Good music will be in attendance. Tickets for the round trip are $1.50.”

July 25, 1877 [SBDP]: “Sea Lions. This morning the schooner Reliance arrived at Stearn’s Wharf with nine sea lions and a female sea elephant. Some of the animals are much larger than those caught on the previous trip, and there are also several young ones. They will be shipped tonight on the steamer Los Angeles for San Francisco, en route for St. Louis and Philadelphia — their ultimate destination.”

June 27, 1877 [SBDP]: “The Odd Fellows’ Society have arranged to spread a canvas on the beach at the island on the 4th of July, so that those who wish to dance can do so. A band of music will be in attendance and will perform during the trip there and back. The company will be select…”

June 29, 1877 [SBDP]: “A report has been maliciously circulated that an offensive smell is caused in the island by the slaughter of sheep. Captain Forney, who has been over there for some time, states that there is nothing offensive at all about the place. Those intending to visit the island on the Fourth can do so confident of spending a pleasant day.”

June 30, 1877 [SBDP]: “The proposed excursion to Santa Cruz Island strikes a number of our people as being one of the most desirable trips that could be planned.”

July 5, 1877 [SBDP]: “Island celebration… About 150 seized the opportunity… Suffice it to say that the steamer Los Angeles was looking her best… Captain Alexander, with a few of the excursionists, made for the headquarters of the Island Company, (French), three miles from the landing, and there found the genial superintendent, J. B. Joyaux, who nobly and patriotically responded to the occasion, likewise sending the steamer a bountiful supply—whole lamb, a calf and a pig, likewise chicken and doves, etc., all cooked in the real Spanish style. Before the departure of the party from the rancho the employees turned out en masse and gave three cheers for the glorious fourth… A number of the excursionists went digging on the mounds and foothills. Twelve skulls sere taken from what was supposed to be their ‘last resting place,’ also a large number of abalone shells…”

June 18, 1883 [SBDP]: “Ventura is to have an excursion on the steamer Los Angeles to the islands. Los Angeles people are to have a steamboat excursion to Catalina Island.”

April 6, 1884 [SBI]: “A review of Santa Barbara shipping... At present, besides the Queen of the Pacific now running regularly the Ancon, Eureka, and Los Angeles and every week an additional freight steamer leaves San Francisco for the southern coast and for special loads when freight accumulates the Bonita, the Newport and another small steamer calls when required. The regular steamers stop at nine ports…”

November 28, 1884 [SBDP]: “The sloop Ocean King was alongside the wharf today, taking on fishing paraphernalia and provisions for Larco, who is going to Gaviota to establish a fishing station. The prime object is the catching of crawfish for the San Francisco market, the Santa Barbara channel being the only place where this epicurean luxury is procured. Lompoc will also be supplied with fresh fish from this station.”

July 10, 1886 [SBDI]: “Steamer Los Angeles, on her way up yesterday, stopped at Santa Cruz Island and took on board Mr. Caire’s family, who has been spending the summer there.”

September 3, 1889 [SBMP]: “Twelve Italians arrived from San Francisco on the steamer Los Angeles Sunday night to work for the Santa Cruz Island Company. They were taken over to the island yesterday on the schooner Star of Freedom.”

February 23, 1892 [SBMP]: “The Los Angeles on her last trip south stopped at Santa Cruz Island with passengers and freight.”

August 21, 1892 [SBMP]: “The sloop Liberty sailed for Gaviota yesterday. Captain Waters will leave on the steamer Los Angeles today for Gaviota where he will sail in the Liberty for San Miguel Island.”

August 22, 1892 [SBMP]: “The sloop Lehup [Liberty] sailed for San Miguel Island yesterday. Captain Waters left on the steamer Los Angeles and will meet the boat at Gaviota.”

May 22, 1894 [LAST/SB]: “It is stated that the Pacific Coast Steamship Company is soon to make an important change in their line of boats on the southern route… The Coos Bay, which is running in place of the wrecked Los Angeles, is to be replaced by the Pomona. This will make a much better line of steamers than has been run heretofore on this route.”

October 18, 1894 [LAH]: “San Pedro, October 17. The Leone, Captain Aleck Smith, came into port safely about 8 o'clock on Tuesday evening. This is the boat of which there ware so many conflicting rumors of shipwreck and drowning. A party consisting of Jim Dodson, our postmaster, N. O. Anderson, a prominent businessman, T. R. Breat and the gallant captain left here on the 6th inst. for a 10 days' cruise among the islands. They first visited Santa Barbara Island, remaining there one night; from there to St. Nicolas, remaining one day and one night. They report this as a most dry, barren and dismal place, and the sand blowing so as to give the island the appearance of being enveloped in fog when seen from a distance. It will be of interest to future visitors to know that at the northwest end of the island are three good streams of running water flowing directly into the ocean. Numerous traces of volcanic eruption are to bee seen, and on higher portions of the island Indian mounds and relics are to be found. An interesting souvenir of the ill-fated steamer Los Angeles was here discovered in the shape of a box of butter, which had been shipped from Cayucos to San Francisco, and bore a brand resembling a boat's oarlock. The butter, considering it was 300 miles away from the scene of the disaster and had been floating about for nearly five months, was in excellent condition, a heavy mold on top being, seemingly, all that harmed it, although none of the voyagers were brave enough to taste it...”

April 9, 1895 [SBDI]: “Last night Captain Burtis and L. B. Pratt arrived in the harbor with the favorite pleasure boat, Restless, from San Nicolas Island. Last December Mr. Pratt went to the island with Captain Burtis and four otter hunters and leaving them there took the sloop to San Pedro, put her in winter quarters and returned here. A short time ago he left here for the island and has been spending some time cruising around, having visited Santa Catalina, San Clemente and the other islands, finally bringing up at San Nicolas. Here he found the otter hunters glad to see him and glad to leave the island. Their trip was not very successful, for although they killed five otter, none of them were secured, the strong undercurrent carrying them out to sea, and the sea being so rough that to launch a boat was impossible. Soon after arriving at the island the men found a box of butter and some wreckage, presumably from the steamer Los Angeles, as no other American vessel has been wrecked on this coast which would be apt to have just such freight. This is a wonderful find, as the island is about 200 miles from the place of the wreck...”