Gertrude Southworth (1862 - 1946)
Wreck of the Polaris
In storms and fog, many ships have been lost to the shale reef that extends out from Bolinas headland. The four-masted Polaris was built in 1902 on the Oregon Coast and made many runs between San Francisco and northern ports. In 1914 she was headed to Eureka when hit by gale-force winds that drove her onto the reef. The ship’s captain, A.S. Hansen, stayed in Bolinas with the captain of the schooner Owl, Louis Petar, and gave Petar the Polaris captain’s desk that is now on display in the Bolinas Museum’s history room. A dark stain on the drawers commemorates the moment the ship hit the reef causing the captain’s inkbottle to spill.
In the background lies the wreckage of another ship, the R.D. Inman, a two-year old steam schooner that wrecked on the reef in 1909. She was headed for Portland, Oregon as darkness set in. Later Captain Lancaster reported that they saw a vessel on fire and headed toward it to give assistance. By the time they realized they were seeing a big bonfire on a Bolinas beach it was too late.