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Ship Name: Hesper; Sailed: 1882-1913; Type: Wood 3-masted bark; Built by: Port Blakely, Hall Brothers; Dimensions: 172' x 38.4' x 14.8'; Tonnage: 695 tons.


The Hall Brothers, Isaac, Winslow and Henry, became some of the foremost shipbuilders of the nineteenth century completing 108 vessels in forty years, 1863-1903. Beginning at San Francisco, the Hall Brothers soon moved to Port Ludlow, Washington Territory and then to Port Blakely. The timber was in the northwest, and the Hall Brothers built only wooden ships. The Halls specialized in vessels for the triangular lumber trade up and down the west coast and to Australia, and the sugar trade with Hawaii and coal from Australia. The Halls’ Mill, which operated with several partners, was co-located with the shipyard at Port Blakely. Building for San Francisco interests and for their own account, the Hall Brothers built worthy and sturdy ships—both sail and steam. In the 1884 Report on the Shipbuilding Industry, the Hall Brothers at Port Ludlow were singled out as builders of fine vessels with “not a straight line in them.” The ships were graceful and popular, the surprised reporters found. This surprise was borne of an unwarranted superiority of eastern visitors regarding west coast yards. Not only the Halls, but Hans Ditlev Bendixsen of Fairhaven, California, Matthew Turner of Benicia, California and others were west coast shipbuilders who turned out vessels equal to or superior to any wood shipyard in the world. Of equal interest, they were graceful vessels. After being sold abroad, the Hesper was abandoned in 1913 at Antofagasta. For example, the Hesper is one of only eleven barks built on the west coast, but even in this not-so-flattering view, the eye is drawn to the tall rig and the shapely counter and sheer. Note, in particular, the chainplates and the foremast rising from the deckhouse. These are patterns of building often associated with Baltic vessels and fore and aft rig. There was a significant Scandinavian influence in west coast sail, as well as local practices that seemed unique to the west coast.


Hesper (Ship), Ships, Merchant Ships