Photo of the Week
January 11, 2009 

The photo for this week is an interesting one.  I recently purchased this real photo post card along with some others, but this was the best.  What we have here is the S.S. Newport sunk at dock in the early days of Balboa Harbor.  As you see printed on the photo, this was taken in August 1912.  This actually appears to be the Balboa Coaling Dock, but I could be wrong.  Something bad happened here this day.  Along with the ship sinking, the pilings were pushed in and one or more of the dock cranes appears to have fallen off the dock and onto the bow of the Newport.  This was certainly a bad day for all.

A couple of things I noted when I zoomed in on my scan.  In the upper right hand corner of the photo is what appears to be a bow of what I think could be a fancy sailing ship.  You can see the detailed wood carving of what appears to be leaves.  There is a rope ladder hanging from the bow for what ever reason.  There are lots of what appears to be wet clothing on the barge in front of this bow that could have been pulled out of the water after the Newport sunk.  There are people doing all kinds of different things on both the dock and floating craft.

As always.... what a great capture in time.

1-12-09 Update:

After posting this photo yesterday, my brother in law Don Lowery found "the rest of the story" while doing an extensive search on-line.  The article is from The New York Times", published August 18, 1912.

    PANAMA, Aug. 17 - Part of the American wharf at Balboa, built six years ago, collapsed this morning at 2 o'clock, and two heavy electric cranes fell on to the Pacific Mail Steamship Company's steamer Newport, causing it to sink.  No lives were lost.  The Newport was to have left to-day, and had all her cargo on board, amounting to 1,500 tons ready for the departure.
     The wharf ws built on piles, and the foundation, which were unstable, were probably affected by the constant blasting in the vicinity."

Another comment from Richard Dillion came in too:

Hi Bill,
In the photo, the ladder hanging over the side of the ship is the crew to get to the wood platform hanging over the side to paint etc. (look close and you can see the plank with a piece of wood holding it away from the hull.)
The small barge with a boiler on it looks like a diving barge so what looks like wet cloths might be diving gear. (all hard hat in those days). 

Thank you Don and Richard for the follow up.  Great stuff!!!

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