sternwheeler Brick

Courtesy of Ray Tarte, #1988.25.3, Whatcom Museum of History & Art, Bellingham, WA

Captain John W. TARTE is standing on the railing at right. Mrs. TARTE is sitting just below him with their son, Walter, on her lap. Standing at the top of the ladder at center is Dr. John W. GOODHEART. The man leaning out the boat cabin's window is C. C. FISHER [later an accountant for Morse Hardware, the Fisher House on Eldridge Ave. was his]. The little girl at the bow of the boat is Miss Ethel BIRNEY [much later she'd be Mrs. Fred LAUBE]. The houses in the background are situated on what is now the Boulevard in Bellingham and were commonly called "Captains' Row" as many residents were mariners.

"The steamer Brick [built in 1883 carried mail between Seattle and Bremerton before it was brought to Bellingham Bay to carry mail, passengers and freight between the towns of Whatcom, Sehome, Ferndale and Blaine.] was operated between Bellingham and Blaine by Captain John W. TARTE, one of the pioneer mariners of Puget Sound, who still makes his home here. The photograph shows the Brick at close range, tied up at the Bellingham bay mill dock, near the Sehome wharf. Captain TARTE operated the Brick for several years until the opening of the Fairhaven & Southern railway in about 1890 brought an abrupt end to the need for water service. Freight, passengers and mail were carried between Sehome and the border town, which then was a small dot on the county map. Incidentally it was a custom of Captain TARTE to take twenty school children from the Fairhaven and Sehome schools every Saturday to the islands free of charge. One day Captain TARTE was surprised on his arrival to see a great crowd of people, most of whom were children, at the dock, under the escort of the principal of the Fairhaven school. In recognition of his kindness in giving free outings to the kiddies the skipper was presented with a set of silverware. / The Brick was a tug forty feet long when acquired by Captain TARTE and was lengthened to eigthty feet. She had a carrying capacity of forty passengers and freight. The crew consisted of five men. Among them was "Billy" PEACOCK (who later ran the Puritan), fireman, and Alfred TARTE, brother of the captain, engineer. The Brick went to the Columbia River after leaving Bellingham bay.  The photograph was taken just after Captain TARTE had brought home a party of guests who accompanied him on a voyage to British Columbia."

From: Bellingham Herald's "Who Remembers..." series, Feb. 25, 1922.

The Blaine Journals, elsewhere on this website, mention the Brick many times.  Here are a few excerpts:

The steamer Brick, owned by Capt. James W. TARTE, is now in command of Capt. Harvy HANNAH, who will run her on White river, and do general jobbing. -Seattle Post-Intelligencer.  [Aug. 26, 1886]

The Brick is to be lengthened fifteen feet.  [Nov. 26, 1886]

Captain TARTE advertises the steamer Evangel for sale. It is his intention if the sale is made to put on the newly outfitted steamer Brick in her place. The Brick has been doubled in size, and very much improved in other respects, and the Captain says she is a safe and cosy boat abundantly able to do the business required of her.   [Feb. 9, 1888]

Last Sunday Captain TARTE's new steamer, the Brick, was launched in Seattle. She rode the water like a duck and promises to be a good sea boat. People who knew the old Brick need not expect to recognize her in the new one, for she has grown some and has got on a new suit of clothes. Now she will look some like the Evangel, only the lower deck in front will be open. She will be sixty feet long, sixteen feet beam and will draw six feet of water. The best we heard about her was that she will commence running to Blaine regular hours in a few weeks, leaving Sehome in the morning on a given day and reaching Blaine about noon. This will be an accommodation to many people who desire to come to Blaine, but are now prevented by the irregularity of the hours of leaving Sehome. The new steamer will have comfortable passenger accommodations.   [May 3, 1888]

Capt. Thos. JOHNSON, formerly mate of the Evangel, will take charge of the steamer Brick. Captain TARTE is suffering with poor health, and will retire for a few months to rest and recuperate.   [May 2, 1889]


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