Powell River Breakwater
At the turn of the century the Canadian Industrial Company owned pulp leases on Lot 450 in Powell River, British Columbia and the Pacific Coast Power Company owned the water of Powell Lake. These two companies merged in 1909, and a Minnesota firm Brooks and Scanlon purchased the rights to the pulp leases and the water of Powell Lake. They had working capital of $1,000,000 and in 1909 the Powell River Paper Company was incorporated.
It soon became apparent the initial investment of two paper machines would not be sufficient and more funds would be needed immediately to increase the capacity to four paper machines. Bonds were issued and the founders made personal guarantees for the required million and a half dollars. Skilled employees were brought in from the Crown Willamette Company in Oregon. In 1911 the company was renamed and incorporated as the Powell River Company. Norman Lang was acquired from Crown Willamette as manager under the condition Crown Willamette be allowed to purchase the majority shares of the Powell River Company.
The first roll of saleable newsprint was produced in April 1912. That year, the company started construction of the town that grew up around the plant site. Known as the Townsite, the community consisted of 401 individual homes for the employees. The Powell River Company hired Dr. Andrew Henderson as its physician and he built the first hospital, St. Luke’s, in 1913.;
The company built Powell Rivers first school, Henderson School, on Ash Street in 1913. The company also built Brooks School in 1926. Brooks was built as an elementary school and later became the community’s only secondary school.
The Powell River Company merged with Macmillan Bloedel in Dec 1959 and became known as MacMillan Bloedel & Powell River Ltd. Harold Foley, former president of the Powell River Company and other former directors of the Powell River Company, resigned as directors from the merged company in 1961. In 1966 Powell River was dropped from the name and the company became MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. In 1998 Macmillan Bloedel sold the plant and the site to Pacifica Papers. MacMillan Bloedel retained their timber rights, which included Stillwater Division, until they sold them to Weyerhaeuser in 1999. Weyerhaeuser sold these rights to Cascadia shortly after purchasing them. Pacifica Papers divested themselves of the Powell River and Lois Lake dams and Powell River Energy was formed. In August 2001 Pacifica Papers sold the mill and plant site to Norske Skog Canada Ltd. With the increased holdings the name changed to NorskeCanada. In Oct 2005 the shareholders approved another name change, this time to Catalyst Paper Corporation.
Logs were initially processed at Powell River and it was soon realized a breakwater was needed to protect the logs from westerly gales common to the area. The first two naval ships purchased for the breakwater were the former USS Huron and USS Charleston, purchased in 1930 after three years in reserve in Bremerton. Later HMCS Coaticook and US Navy barge YOGN 82 were added. After Huron sank in situ in 1960, it appears an assessment was done on the remaining ships which lead to Charleston being moved to Kelsey Bay BC to join other ships there for breakwater duty and Coaticook being sold to Capital Iron in Victoria for scrapping. However on arrival at Victoria, the hulk was found to be in such poor shape that a decision was made to scuttle it between Brotchie Ledge and Race Rocks off Victoria.
Commissioned on July 25, 1944, at Quebec City, Coaticook proceeded to Bermuda in mid-September for three weeks' working up. She was then assigned to EG 27 with which she served on anti-submarine and support duties out of Halifax for the balance of the war. In June, 1945, Coaticook sailed to Esquimalt, where she was paid off into reserve on November 29. In 1949 her stripped hull was sunk for a breakwater at Powell Rives but was refloated in 1961. On December 14, 1961, while in tow for Victoria to be broken up, the hull was found to be structurally unsound and instead scuttled off Race Rocks.
Cities in South Carolina and West Virginia. II I (C-22: dp. 9,700; l 426'6"; b. 66'; dr. 22'6"; s. 22 k.; cpl. 673; a. 14 6", 18 3"; cl. St. Louis)
The third Charleston (C-22), a protected cruiser, was launched 23 January 1904 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Va.; sponsored by Miss H. Rhett; and commissioned 17 October 1905, Captain H. Winslow in command. She was reclassified CA-19 on 17 July 1920.
Charleston cruised to South American ports in the summer of 1906 with Secretary of State Elihu Root on board for good-will visits, and after disembarking the official party at Panama in September, returned to the west coast for overhaul. She cleared San Francisco 6 December 1906 to begin service with the Pacific Squadron, sailing along the west coast from Magdalena Bay, Mexico, to Esquimalt, British Columbia, on exercises and fleet maneuvers until 10 June 1908, when she entered the Puget Sound Navy Yard to prepare for the long passage to the Asiatic station.
Leaving Puget Sound 28 October 1908, Charleston served in the Far East until 11 September 1910, first as flagship of 3d Squadron, Pacific Fleet, and later, as flagship of the Asiatic Fleet. Based on Cavite, P.I., in the winter, the Fleet moved north each summer to Chefoo, China, to continue exercises and visits to ports of China, Japan, Manchuria, and Russia, presenting a powerful reminder of American interest in the Far East. Returning to Bremerton, Wash., Charleston was decommissioned 8 October 1910 at Puget Sound Navy Yard. Placed in commission in reserve 14 September 1912, Charleston joined the Pacific Reserve Fleet, remaining at Puget Sound Navy Yard as a receiving ship through early 1916, aside from a voyage to San Francisco in October 1913 as flagship for the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Reserve Fleet.
From 1912 through early 1916, she was receiving ship at the yard. With a new assignment as tender for the submarines based in the Canal Zone, Charleston arrived at Cristobal, C.Z., 7 May 1916, for a year of operations with submarines, reconnaissance of anchorages, and gunnery exercises. On the day of America's entry into World War I, 6 April 1917, Charles
ton was placed in full commission, and early in May reported for duty with the Patrol Force in the Caribbean. Based on St. Thomas, V.I., she patrolled for commerce raiders through the month of May, then sailed north carrying Marines from Haiti to Philadelphia.
Here she readied to join the escort of the convoy carrying the first troops of the American Expeditionary Force to France, which cleared New York 14 June 1917, made St. Nazaire, France, after a safe passage through submarine waters 28 June, and returned to New York 19 July. After training naval volunteers and reserves for 2 weeks at Newport,
Charleston cleared 16 August for Havana, Cuba, where she supervised the sailing in tow of several former German ships to New Orleans. She next escorted a convoy from Cristobal to Bermuda, where she rendezvoused with a group of British transports, guarding their passage to Hampton Roads.
In September and October 1918 she made two convoy escort voyages to Nova Scotia, then joined the cruiser and transport force, with which she made five voyages to France carrying occupation troops overseas and returning with combat veterans.
Charleston sailed from Philadelphia for the west coast 23 July 1919, reaching Bremerton, Wash., 24 August. Here she was placed in reduced commission until late in 1920, when she arrived in San Diego to serve as administrative flagship for Commander, Destroyer Squadrons, Pacific Fleet. She served on this duty until 4 June 1923, when she
sailed for Puget Sound Navy Yard and decommissioning on 4 December 1923. She was sold 6 March 1930.
South Dakota was admitted to the Union simultaneously with North Dakota as the 40th and 41st states on 2 November 1889. (Armored Cruiser No. 9: dp. 13,680; l. 503'H"; b. 69' 7"; dr. 26'1"; s . 22 k .; c pl. 829; a. 4 8", 14 6", 18 3", 12 3-pdrs., 2 18" tt.; cl. Pennsylvania)
The f irst South Dakota (Armored Cruiser No. 9), was launched on 21 J ul y 1904 b y the Union Iron Works, San Francisco, Calif.; sponsored by Miss Grace Harreid; and commissioned on 27 January 1908, Capt. James T. Smith in command.
Assigned to the Armored Cruiser Squadron, Pacific Fleet, South Dakota cruised off the west coast of the United States through August 1908. On 24 August, she departed San Francisco for a cruise to Samoa and headed eastward in September to operate in Central and South American waters. In the autumn of 1909, she deployed westward with the Armored Cruiser Squadron. The force called at ports in the Admiralty Islands; the Philippines; Japan; and China, before returning to Honolulu on 31 January 1910. In February, South Dakota joined Tennessee to form a Special Service Squadron which cruised off the Atlantic coast of South America and then returned to the Pacific late in the year.
Following operations along the Pacific coast during much of 1911, South Dakota began a cruise in December with the Armored Cruiser Squadron which took her from California to the Hawaiian Islands, the Mar ianas, the Philippines, and Japan. After returning to the west coast in August 1912, she participated in periodic squadron exercises until she was placed in reserve on 30 December 1913 at the Puget Sound Navy Yard.
Detached from the Reserve Force, Pacific Fleet, on 17 April 1914, South Dakota made a cruise southward into Mexican waters in June and another westward to the Hawaiian Islands in August. She returned to Bre merton on 14 September and reverted to reserve status on 28 Septem- ber. She was the flagship of the Reserve Force, Pacific Fleet, from 21 January 1915 until relieved by Milwaukee (Cruiser No. 21) on 5 February 1916. She remained in reduced commission through 1916; and, on 5 April 1917, she was again placed in full commission.
Transferred to the Atlantic after the United States entered World War I, South Dakota departed Bremerton on 12 April. She joined Pittsburg, Pueblo, and Frederick at Colon, Panama, on 29 May 1917; thence proceeded to the South Atlantic for patrol duty operating from Brazilian ports. On 2 November 1918, she escorted troop convoys from the east coast to the mid-Atlantic rendezvous point where British cruisers joined the convoy. Following the Armistice, South Da
kota made two voyages from Brest, France, to New York, returning troops to the United States.
In the summer of 1919, South Dakota was ordered back to the Pacific to serve as flagship of the Asiatic Fleet, arriving at Manila on 27 October 1919. South Dakota was renamed Huron on 7 June 1920 and was designated CA-9 on 17 July 1920. She served in the Asiatic Fleet for the next seven years, operating in Philippine waters during the winter and out of Shanghai and Chefoo during the summer. Ordered home, Huron departed Manila on the last da y of 1926 and arrived at the Puget Sound Navy Yard on 3 March 1927. She was decommissioned on 17 June 1927 and r emained in r eser ve until s he was struck from the Navy list on 15 November 1929. She was sold on 11 February 1930 for scrapping in accordance with the provisions of the London Treaty for the limitation and reduction of naval armament.
First of a class of four built by Concrete Ships of San Diego. Sister ships YOGN 83 and YOGN 84 were used in the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in 1946.
Ron Greene captures HMCS Coaticook blowing up. Nauticapedia.org photo.