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Urania

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wreck of the urania

    The Urania was built in 1907 on Lake Washington for Captain John Anderson.

Operating under Anderson's business, the Anderson Steamboat Company, the Urania was one of many in the distinguished fleet. Naming the boat after one of Zeus's nine daughters, and christening other boats names like Cyrene and Xanthus, one would deduct that Mr. Anderson enjoyed submersing into Greek Mythology.








    She was 85 feet long, and carried passengers on her two levels between Juanita, Kenmore, and Madison Park. Captain Wells Green, and C.R. Hall were two of the Urania's Masters.


urania lake washington


    Ferry traffic on the lake was booming. Without the bridges to bring people from one side of the lake to the other, the mosquito fleets were swarming over the lake, sometimes haphazardly.

    On August 11, 1908, in a Summary of Casualties, Violations of Law, and Investigations report, there was a "slight" collision between the Urania and the Cyrene on the lake. Charles R. Kall and, Pilot in charge of the Cyrene, and Oscar Strom, Pilot for the Urania, were charged with careless navigation. It was investigated 6 days later, and the charges sustained. Both Pilots licenses were suspended for 10 days.

    Not all infractions were hazardous, some just malicious. In 1913 King County sued the Anderson Steamship Company for $10,000 for running the Urania to the public dock (presumably Madison Park) just ahead of the ferry Lincoln and picking up all the passengers.


urania wreck

   

    In the same year, with the rise of automobile ferries (like the Lincoln) on the lake, the Urania underwent some improvements to compete, if only slightly, with the other bigger ferries. The top passenger deck was cut at the bow, below it was constructed a closed cabin, and an area for 4 automobiles for ferry.


lake washington urania


    On February 12, 1914 a fire broke out on board the Urania and engulfed her frame. The fire wasn’t able to be extinguished in time to save her; the burned hulk was reduced to mere rubble. Her valuable steam engine was removed and rumors were she was scuttled out from Houghton shipyard.


urania burned


Contrary to this report, Gordon Newell's H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest reported the Urania being transferred to the Puget Sound along with the steamer Swan, for service to Port Orchard in 1917.


Although probable that the hull found in 150 feet of water off Kirkland is the Urania, it is hard to prove.


Photo courtesy UW Archives, Kirkland Heritage

 
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