China Cabin

China Cabin

Book - 2017
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China Cabin is an account of the restoration of the aft deck-house of the wooden sidewheel paddle steamship China, built in 1867. The 20 feet by 46 feet fragment is the only existing relic in the world of the ships built by one of America's foremost wooden ship designer and builder--William Henry Webb (1816-1899). Webb designed and built 137 exceptional wooden ships, from an iron-clad warship sold to Napoleon III of France to famous Clipper sailing ships. China was constructed in 1866-67 for initiation of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company's (PMSSC) transpacific mail, freight and passenger service from San Francisco to Hong Kong, and from China via Yokohama, Japan. Deemed by some to be obsolete at birth because more efficient and fire-resistant metal screw-propelled steamships were being built in the United Kingdom, China was laid off by PMSSC in 1882. Sold for scrap in 1885, China was set afire for her metals, on the Tiburon peninsula in 1886. However, all potentially saleable items were saved before burning, including the aft deckhouse, composed of the Social Hall and the staterooms of the ship's surgeon and chief engineer. The structures saved were sold and was used as a residence or, partitioned across the middle, as two residences, for 93 years. Resting on pilings along the shore of Belvedere Cove, it was to be demolished by 1979 to allow for open-space at its site. Belvedere-Tiburon Landmarks Society, led by Beverly Wright Bastian Meyers, stepped forward to save this historical reminder of early wooden sidewheel paddle steamships, one of the most significant maritime historical structures on the West Coast of the United States. Invitations to a Captain's Dinner on the restored China Cabin on 11 July, 1986, marked completion of the magnificent restoration to its state when it was first-built. The cost was near to a million dollars, a few pennies short of the cost of constructing the entire original wooden sidewheel paddle steamship China. The whole cost was borne by the Belvedere-Tiburon Landmarks Society's fund raising and volunteer activities, fulfilling its original pledge to the penny.
Publisher: Tiburon, CA : Belvedere-Tiburon Landmarks Society, 2017
ISBN: 9780692855607
Characteristics: 138 pages : illustrations ; 28 cm


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