Moon Ships

This image is from about 1885 at the Northern Pacific Railroad wharf. It shows a forest of masts on sailing vessels loading cut lumber. If you drive along Schuster Parkway and notice the cluster of pilings near the grain silos you are looking at this view. Though steam was revolutionizing marine propulsion on passenger vessels and driving the locomotives reaching Tacoma over land and mountain, the ships carrying non perishable lumber continued to rely on wind and sail. Ships made from the renewable timber they carried, running on the dependable power of the wind, on journeys across the most expansive distances on earth in their time. The ships in this picture would easily travel 500,000 miles collectively in a year-a distance that would reach the moon and back. Think of them as ethereal spacecraft launched a century ago from here.
moon ships

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