Photograph shows workers cutting the S.S. Portland out of Bering Sea ice off of Alaska around 1903.
The S.S. Portland was a 191 foot wooden hull ship had an interesting history. Not only did it help to launch the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1890s, the S.S. Portland was a notorious smuggling ship for drugs, weapons, and illegal workers. The following description of the Portland are taken from Gordon Newell, ed., The H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest (Seattle: Superior Publishing Co, 1966):
The Portland was built at Bath, Maine, and entered service in 1885. She sold weapons, cannons, and ammunition to the Hippolyte Rebellion in Haiti while in service there, but was seized by the Legitime [the government] for doing so. The Legitime eventually released her, but tried to sink her by ramming. The Portland was also used to smuggle opium and Chinese workers. After she sailed into Seattle with 1.5 short tons of gold, worth around $964,000, on July 17, 1897, the Klondike Gold Rush began. She was caught in ice on her way north on June 3, 1902 and feared lost, but arrived in St. Michael, Alaska, on July 12, 1902.
It struck an uncharted rock and was beached on a sandbar on Nov. 12, 1910.