Mon Ami

From Islapedia
Mon Ami, Santa Catalina Island
Courtesy Catalina Island Museum
Mon Ami
[Mon Ami at] Moonstone Beach,
Santa Catalina Island, Cal.
Detroit Publishing Co.
[original in SCIF archives]

Mon Ami (#) (1902-) was built by Captain J. E. ‘Pard’ Mathewson in Avalon. She was a gas-powered side-wheeler, 32-feet long, and said to be the world’s first gasoline-powered glass-bottom boat. She could carry 15 passengers.

June 1902 Catherine MacLean Loud noted in her diary: Mike Tobin and William Gurius ordered a glass bottom power boat built by Capt. J. E. Mathewson “as an experiment” against Capt. Mathewson’s better judgment. She was named the Mon Ami and launched June 17, 1902 in Avalon Bay. Her cost was between $3,500 and $4,000. In three weeks time this Mon Ami was paid for in full for the crowds were so enthusiastic and she carried them to the numerous points of interest including Moonstone Beach viewing the submarine gardens enroute. At her launching, Charles James made a few remarks and Miss Arielle Gurius, daughter of one of the owners, cracked a bottle of champagne on her bow, as she pronounced her name to be, Mon Ami. This was the first side-wheeler each of 5 ½ feet with a 6 horsepower Fairbanks-Morse gasoline engine. She was 38 feet long with a beam of 7 feet 4 inches and had two wells, each ten feet long which contained the glass boxes. These were one forward and the other aft of the engine. (From Frances Lauderbach’s dairy)

[Huntington. Banning Album 180(604). lst glass-bottom power boat Mon Ami at Moonstone Beach. c. 1900.?]

In the News~

September 12, 1902 [LAT]: “The Mon Ami, the power glass-bottom boat, built by Gurius & Tobin as an experiment, has won its way to popularity and has corralled the bulk of the trade to the nearby points of interest. The trips to Moonstone Beach and Seal Rocks are one grand panorama of beautiful marine gardens, and elicit much praise from visitors. Schools of little fishes are encountered at intervals, and a party this morning witnessed a submarine attack on the minnows by a school of twenty or thirty yellowtail, which was intensely exciting.”

May 6, 1903 [LAH]: “The party to Moonstone Beach on the power glass-bottom boat Mon Ami this morning consisted of the following: B. Dangerfield and wife, S. Dangerfield, Alice and Florence Dangerfield, A. S. Braznell and wife, B. S. Brasnell, R. A. Brasnell, Lorna Brasnell, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Walter Rees, May Mauldin, Los Angeles; Miss L. H. May, Racine, Wis.; H. B. Kling and wife, Woodbine, Ia.; Elizabeth Elliott, Genevieve Elliott, Mattoon, Ill.; Mrs. W. J. Byrnes, Minneapolis; Miss Fannie F. Meyers, Mrs. G. M. Frampton, Pasadena; Miss Josephine Hemins, New York; Francis Fie, Catherine Nagel, Oxfort, Ohio; Miss Josie Schroeder, Lena Schaller, Denver.”