Parthia is being restored to her appearance during the mid-1950s when owned by Delta V. Smyth Tugs & Barges Company.
A lasting Working Waterfront heritage legacy.
A bit of History
The 50 foot long, 23 ton Parthia was built in 1906 on Bainbridge Island by James Hall, son of Henry Hall of the famous Hall Brothers ship building family. The Halls original shipyard was established in 1873 at Port Ludlow, then moved to Port Blakely next to the famous Port Blakely mill, and finally to Winslow. For many decades, more than 100 Hall Brothers-built schooners, some owned by the Port Blakely Mill Company, carried lumber and other cargo from Puget Sound to California, and elsewhere in the world. However among all of their vessels, the Halls only built two tugboats, one of them Parthia.
After her initial working years in central and north Puget Sound, in 1934 she was purchased by Delta V. Smyth Tugs & Barges of Olympia as part of the growing tugboat company. In 1961, Parthia was acquired by Foss Launch & Tug, now Foss Maritime, and continued working in the Capital City until sold in 1975, a total of more than 40 years. As a true working waterfront historical icon, it's vital to save, and restore Parthia as a publicly visible, heritage and educational attraction for South Sound residents, students, and visitors. And the South Sound Maritime Heritage Association is dedicated to achieving this worthy goal.
As the Puget Sound area continues to grow, it's essential that people, businesses and other organizations that helped make our history, and build our economy, be recognized for their important contributions. And the Parthia, with her proud working waterfront history at the Port of Olympia and other Puget Sound ports, will be a visible, educational, lasting link to this proud heritage.
Recognizing the tug's notable Olympia history, including her participation in 26 Harbor Days events, and winning her race class six times, knowledgeable and dedicated members of the nonprofit South Sound Maritime Heritage Association decided to take action. After serious due diligence, they voted to acquire this treasure of Puget Sound maritime history. Together with other volunteers, their plan was to restore her as a permanent shore-side educational exhibit on Olympia's working waterfront. Parthia would also be a fitting tribute to the individuals, families and companies in the Pacific Northwest that helped build the region's strong maritime and timber economy, including tugboat and other working waterfront companies, and labor organizations like the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.
Achieving the Vision
The donated design of a protective timber and steel canopy is currently underway by Olympia architect Ron Thomas. Informational panels interpreting the colorful working history of the tug and the Olympia waterfront, and donor recognition, will be incorporated into the structure. In addition, a primary site and alternatives have been proposed and are being reviewed.
Although the site pay be donated, the construction of the canopy needs to be funded. As of July 2018, the Sought Sound Maritime Heritage Association (SSMHA) had spent about $30,000 in cash on the Parthia restoration project. In addition, interested businesses, individuals and organizations have donated another $25,000 in in-kind services, salvage, towing, truck hauling, architecture and others,. So while a total of more than $55,000 has been invested in the initial restoration effort, we need your help to complete the project. In addition, SSMHA wants to build an endowment to ensure Parthia is properly maintained as a permanent historical, educational, and visitor attraction for future generations.
After ten months of dedicated volunteer and paid professional work, Parthia is shown more than 85 percent restored to her final exhibit condition.
How you can help:
You can join our Parthia project crew, and help complete her restoration and permanent exhibit on Olympia's continually developing, popular central waterfront. To make a contribution send a check made out to the South Sound Maritime Heritage Association to this address: P.O. Box 2351, Olympia, Washington, 98507.