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Ahoy, Matey: 1921

Ahoy, Matey: 1921

"Jordan touring car at San Francisco piers, 1921." The S.S. Ventura at dock. 8x6 inch glass negative, photographer unknown. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

A Ship, A Sickness, A Seaman, A Sinking, & A Sedan Seller

The Oceanic ship S.S. Ventura was a 6,282 ton passenger liner which was built at Philadelphia in 1900 for Oceanic. The ship was scrapped in 1934. The vessel, along with its sister ships Sierra and Sonoma, regularly sailed between San Francisco and Sydney, Australia. In addition to passenger service, from 1912 Oceanic held a contract with the U.S. Government to ferry mail between the two countries. The photo below shows the ship departing New South Wales sometime in the 1920s.

A passenger who contracted smallpox forced the Ventura to be quarantined on January 18, 1921 when it arrived in Sydney. After the case of smallpox was found to be minor, the ship was allowed to dock at the North Head Quarantine Station in Sydney, but only passengers with a valid smallpox vaccination certificate were allowed to leave the station. Although the ship headed out for San Francisco as scheduled on January 25th, some passengers were not released from quarantine to return home until February 7th.

On February 26, 1921, Miss Frances Power, a stewardess on the S.S. Ventura became one of the first woman to become a naturalized citizen of the United States by virtue of having served on an American flag ship for three continuous years. The Sacramento Call newspaper story from February 27, 1921 announcing her citizenship is below, but it leaves out the fact that there are other requirements, such as five years of U.S. residency, that also apply in order to be naturalized in this way. Miss Power was born in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada on March 22, 1888.

On the morning of August 17, 1930 the Ventura came to the aide of the sinking ship RMS Tahiti, on voyage between New Zealand and San Fransisco. Ventura picked up all of the passengers after they abandoned ship in life boats. No lives were lost. A broken propeller shaft had created a hole in the hull and a bulkhead of the Tahiti on August 12, 1930. The Tahiti ultimately sank on the afternoon of August 17th after the crew was able to return to her, save the mail and bullion on board, and then return to the Ventura.

Based on the license plate, the Jordan car was being sold by the C.D. Rand agency, which sold both Jordan and Mercer automobiles, at 1519 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco. Rand was Clinton DeWitt Rand, 1884 - 1957, and he spent most of his life selling automobiles and tires. It's quite possible that he is shaking the woman's hand in the photo.


... loaded high into that lo-boy wagon in the left background?

Love the saddle shoes.

Kinda takes your mind off of the hat.

The Shorpy connection

The S.S. Ventura was owned and operated by J.D. Spreckels & Bros. of San Francisco through their Oceanic Steamship Company. Among those Bros. was Aldolph Spreckels, who built the Spreckels Mansion at 2080 Washington St., the backdrop for many a Chris Helin photo of Antique Automotive Anachronisms seen here.

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