Lynn Canal, AK Steamer Clara Nevada Fire, Feb 1898


Clara Nevada Burned in Lynn Canal and Forty Lives May Be Lost.


She Left Astoria with 500 Passengers and 1,200 Tons of Freight---Old Vessels Overloaded on the Pacific Coast.

VICTORIA, B. C., Feb. 14.---The steamer Islander brings news that the steamer Clara Nevada of Seattle was burned in Lynn Canal and forty men who were on board are supposed to have perished.

The Nevada left Skaguay for Juneau on Feb. 5, and when the Islander, which arrived from Comox this morning, reached Juneau, the Nevada had not arrived there. The day that she should have reached Juneau fire was seen on the waters of the canal, and the opinion is general that the flames were from a burning steamer. Whether the passengers and crew reached land or whether they perished is not known. It is feared that they met with death, as there has been a terrible wind and snow storm in the north, and small boats could hardly live. Capt. Irving of the Islander reports that the weather had been terrific.

The Nevada was formerly the Hassler of the United States Revenue Service and was built at Camden, N. J., in 1872.

Two years ago the vessel was advertised for sale by the Government on account of the failure of Congress to appropriate money to put her in commission. The highest bid made by the Treasury officials was $7,000, and the offer was rejected.

Last Fall she was readvertised and sold to the McGuire Brothers of Portland, who engineered the steamer Eugene fiasco last September. The steamer was overhauled, but on account of her age she was not considered a first-class vessel.

The Nevada affair simply emphasizes the conditions that prevail in Northern waters. Ships of all sorts and conditions are being pressed into the service to carry crowds to the gold fields. Barges, scows, dismantled ships, and old steamers compete with the small fleet of first-class steamships.

Pilots familiar with Northern waters are very scarce, and the tendency to overload vessels of all kinds is strong.

The New York Times, New York, NY 15 Feb 1898