The History of Astoria, Oregon

One of the most fascinating bits of history is the role that beaver fur pelts played in international trade and, ultimately, the founding of Astoria, Oregon. Today, with our different sensibilities about wearing animal fur, it is difficult to imagine the importance of beaver fur in everyday life hundreds of years ago. Although fur pelts from Read More

The Corsair of Galveston

The close of the War of 1812 had been good to the Gulf of Mexico pirate Jean Lafitte. In exchange for aiding General Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans, President James Madison granted Lafitte and his brigands a full pardon for their previous smuggling activities. Armed with that written clemency, Lafitte gained the Read More

The History of the San Juan Islands

The standard dictionary entry for the San Juan Islands goes like this: SAN’ JUAN’ IS’LANDS (sæn hwa:n) N. PL. An archipelago of northwest Washington off the southeast coast of Vancouver Island North of Puget Sound. But that doesn’t give any inkling of the unique role the San Juans played in the territorial ambitions of Great Read More

Exploring New York By Water

THE BACK STORY Two of our founding fathers, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, proposed canals for internal improvement of our waterways, much as the Dutch and English had done in Europe. It was not until 1825, when Gov. Dewitt Clinton poured a keg of Lake Erie water into New York Harbor, which he transported via Read More

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

There are few yacht owners who don’t respect the power of the sea, and there are even fewer who have not heard of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Of the thousands of shipwrecks on the Great Lakes, the “Fitz” is the most well-known and the most controversial. Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the sinking, and Read More

Of Kings, Whalers & Missionaries – The History of Maui

There’s a sense of deja vu the first time stepping ashore in Lahaina. One may think their GPS malfunctioned and routed their yacht to the Florida Keys rather than the Hawaiian island of Maui. For Front Street in Lahaina, has all the familiar trappings of Duval Street in Key West. Restored and faux 19th century Read More

The Day the Chesapeake Bay Went Dry

Beer riots in Baltimore — federal agents attacked with bricks and a jar of mayonnaise … bottles of moonshine stashed at the bottom of oyster bushels … These are just a few snapshots of the mayhem that ensued on the Chesapeake Bay during Prohibition. On Jan. 16, 1920, booze was banned in America. Beer, wine, Read More