“A Century Old Shipwreck Run Aground”
The Peter Iredale was a four-masted steel barque sailing vessel that ran ashore October 25, 1906, on the Oregon coast en route to the Columbia River. It was abandoned on Clatsop Spit near Fort Stevens in Warrenton about four miles (6 km) south of the Columbia River channel. Wreckage is still visible, making it a popular tourist attraction as one of the most accessible shipwrecks of the Graveyard of the Pacific.
The ship was named after Peter Iredale, who not only owned the vessel as part of his shipping fleet, but was also a well-known figure in Liverpool, England, where his business was headquartered.
The ship was built in Maryport in June 1890, by R. Ritson & Co Ltd for P. Iredale & Porter. It weighed 2,075 tons and measured 87 meters (285 ft) in length and was fashioned from steel plates on an iron frame. It had royal sails above double top and topgallant sails, and was the largest vessel built by Ritson. The ship was originally commanded by Captain G.A. Brown and later by Captain H. Lawrence.
Sailing from Salina Cruz, Mexico, on or about September 26, 1906, the Peter Iredale was bound for Portland, Oregon with 1,000 tons of ballast and a crew of 27, including two stowaways. The voyage up the coast was unremarkable until the night of October 25, when Captain H. Lawrence sighted the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse at 3:20 a.m. local time. The crew altered course first east-northeast and then northeast to enter the mouth of the Columbia River in thick mist and a rising tide. Under strong winds out of the west, an attempt was made to wear the ship away from shore, but a heavy northwest squall grounded the Peter Iredale on Clatsop Sands (now called Clatsop Spit). High seas and wind drove the ship ashore. A lifeboat was dispatched from Hammond, Oregon and assisted in evacuating the sailors, who were tended to at Fort Stevens. No casualties occurred in the accident.
A Naval Court inquiry was held in Astoria on November 12 and 13, 1906, by the British Vice-Consulate to determine the cause of the wreck. After investigating, no blame was placed on Lawrence and the crew for the loss, and he and his officers were commended for their attempts to save the ship.
There was little damage to the hull and plans were made to tow the ship back to sea, but after several weeks waiting for favorable weather and ocean conditions, the ship had listed to the port (left) and become embedded in the sands. She was sold for scrap. All that remains is the bow, a few ribs, and a couple of masts. The rudder is sitting in the parking lot at the Columbia River Maritime Museum in nearby Astoria.
Captain Lawrence's final toast to his ship was: "May God bless you, and may your bones bleach in the sands."
Check the tide first!!! Can't even get up close to it if the tide is in but if its out you can climb/adventure up to and around this sweet ship wreck!
What a total ship show. Not much to see really other than a partial steal frame and some crazy wind. We went an hour after low tide and probably would have been a bit cooler a few hours after low tide for some good reflections in the pooled water. I thought it would have been a bit more impressive. It's pretty small and the photos are a bit deceptive in relation to the actual size of the wreck. We had a good laugh though- we envisioned something quite a bit larger than it was.
The Peter Iredale was a 19th century, 4-masted steel ship that ran aground in 1906. Today it is considered “one of the most accessible shipwrecks of the Graveyard of the Pacific.” You can visit her today at Clatsop Spit near Fort Stevens in Warrenton, OR.
Great stop over and dip to the Beach
Very interesting thing to see if you or your kids are into wrecks and climbing things.
It was absolutely beautiful to see in person. It was eerie yet peaceful, I definitely recommend it. Just admiring the wreck and the ocean was overall an amazing experience.
I was a little unimpressed after going to see this and realizing it's not much to see! If you had kids and they were pirate finatics it might be worth the drive, however, I could of passed.
Depending on the water, your may or may not get up close. This is a great shipwreck to explore. My children and I loved it.
I used to live in the neighboring town of Warrenton, and loved coming to the P. Iredale for some quiet time.
The wreck itself is not huge, and literally all that is left is the metal skeleton. Depending on the time of year you can see more, or less of it too. The winter storms uncover more of it, showing you the ships full length, and some remaining wood (which is often covered by sand in the summer months.
Beware of the tides though. I once went for a visit, and climbed up in the structure as I have often done before to sit for fun. The tide was quickly rising, and I actually found myself stranded for a moment waiting for a good wave recession. Scary, but awesome.
The shipwreck is very cool and you should wander down the coast to see it all. Beautiful beach, though tends to be windier than those a tad farther south, so dress accordingly.
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Peter Iredale Shipwreck
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