Thursday, February 23, 2012

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 27

Life saving station at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, 1909

This scene is near where the University of Washington canoe house is now located and not far from the stadium. As previously mentioned there were several live displays at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition held in Seattle in 1909. This postcard shows the United States life saving station with a crowd of people watching the demonstrations. It is hard to see but there is a simulated ship’s mast on the right side of the card with a man standing near it, a boat in the background. There was a “Breeches Buoy line” attached to the mast. As part of the general demonstration a person was dunked in the water then retrieved via the buoy line.

There were two types of boats used in life saving demonstrations both were supposed to be self-righting. In other words, if they capsized they were supposed to turn right side up. One of the boats was a Dobbins oar powered boat manned by eight men plus a man at the bow. The other type of boat was a new gas powered motorboat called the Conqueror staffed also by eight men. In addition to the gas powered motor it had oars suggesting that gas power was not yet fully trusted.
All of the live displays were well attended. It seems particularly fitting to have water safety demonstrations in a city that is more or less surrounded by water.

More photographs and information about the life saving station can be found at:

Norway day Viking ship arrival

Throughout the run of the Fair commemorative days were held to honor countries, professions, states, and organizations. These dedicated days were very popular so more and more were added often several groups for each day. In this photo we see another water related event with the arrival of a reconstructed Viking ship seen here for Norway Day held on 30 August 1909. The ship was complete with armor-clad shield carrying Viking warriors. This photo is part of the newspaper clipping collection of Didrik “Dick” Thompson who worked as an honor guard during the Fair.

For a list of all the commemorative days see Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition special days at:

1 comment:

  1. Just found your wonderful blog! I LOVE all of the vintage postcards and photos, as well as the thorough descriptions. Keep up the great posts!