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of the city of Oakland is a lake consisting of about 160 acres, Lake Merritt.
Some of you gentlemen have seen the lake. I know that Governor Shallenberger has, and perhaps others of you. The museum is located on one shore of this lake, and immediately across the boulevard, and a few feet offshore, they propose to anchor this vessel. This is the lake inside of the city (indicating on map]. The business center of Oakland on this map is perhaps about in there [indicating). This book here is a block that has been acquired by the city of Oakland for the museum. There is at present one museum building on it in here, and a main building is to be built down on this lake boulevard, and they propose to anchor this Coast Guard cutter just across the boulevard here, and to establish on it a nautical and Alaskan exhibit.
Mr. CROSSER. On the Bear?
Mr. CARTER. On the Bear itself, yes. This is the only view I have of the city of Oakland. This area around the lake is almost all park, and the site of the museum- one arm of the lake runs here, another one runs in this direction—the site of the museum is right here [indicating].
In adition to the tremendous amount of traffic along the lake shore boulevard there in this park, the park is visited by thousands of people, particularly on Sundays, when an open air band concert is given there.
Mr. SHALLENBERGER. Where do you get into the lake from the coast?
Mr. CARTER. Here [indicating). That is the only channel that leads in. This is San Francisco Bay out here. Here are the ferries running to San Francisco. The boat probably will be taken in here part way, and then there are some railroad tracks that do not open there. Now, whether they are going to open those tracks and take it through—in their communications to me they say they have figured on the cost of taking the cutter around there and taking her into the lake without the necessity of raising the track. This area here, you see, is not built up. That is municipal property. That is a municipal auditorium there. So they have figured on the proposition of getting the cutter into the lake through there.
That, in brief, gentlemen, I think explains the abjects of the bill and what is proposed to be done with it after it is acquired by the city of Oakland. If there are any questions that you would care to ask, I would be glad to answer them if I can.
Mr. Hoch. Would you have any objection to incorporating in this bill a provision that it is to be maintained as a museum or something of that sort, to indicate in the bill what the city of Oakland is going to do with this boat?
Mr. CARTER. No; I think not, Mr. Chairman. That is what they propose to do with it, and I am sure there would be no objection to that.
Mr. J. J. Underwood, who represents the Seattle Chamber of Commerce and knows the history of the Bear very well, is here also. I would like Mr. Underwood to make just a very brief statement in reference to this matter.
Mr. Hoch. The committee will be very glad to hear him, unless the members have some questions of Mr. Carter.
Mr. CARTER. If you have any further questions that you wish to ask
me, I will be very glad to answer them. Mr. GARBER. I presume it might be of some interest to some of the members to know the estimated value of the vessel.
Mr. CARTER. I could not give you that. I do not know what the possible sale price might be.
Mr. GARBER. The vessel is not in the service of the United States now?
Mr. CARTER. No; she is tied up.
Mr. Hoch. We will ask Admiral Billard to make a further statement on that.
Mr. CARTER. She is tied up in Oakland at the present time.
STATEMENT OF J. J. UNDERWOOD, REPRESENTING CHAMBER
OF COMMERCE, SEATTLE, WASH.
Mr. UNDERWOOD. I want to say, gentlemen, that the revenue cutter Bear has done much rescue work in the north, where I lived for 14 years and right in the Arctic region for five years near Point Barrow. She has done more rescue work than all the rest of the vessels in the western service put together, in my judgment. I think her first experience was with the Greeley expedition. Later I recall, in 1897, when we lost about 25 or 30 ships up there, when hundreds of whalers were stranded, the Bear went to the rescue on the Reindeer expedition. She took a prominent part in the Stefanson expedition, rescuing stranded people from Wrangell Island. She has performed innumerable services, and while the Seattle Chamber of Commerce did not act officially on this bill because they did not know of it, I can assure you gentlemen that there is not a shipping man on the Pacific coast, there is not a port commissioner on the Pacific coast, there is not a man who has lived in the far North who would not deeply regret to see this great vessel, which has such historic and sentimental value, broken up for junk, and I am sure all of those organizations and all of those people would very heartily indorse this bill to have that vessel used as a museum or something of that kind on the Pacific coast.
San Francisco, I believe, or Oakland, I am not sure which, was her home port for more than 30 years and I think it quite appropriate that she should go there.
If there are any questions that anyone would like to ask I will be glad to answer them.
Mr. Hoch. Are there any questions by the members of the committee? Thank you very much, Mr. Underwood.
Admiral Billard, we will be glad to have any statement that you care to make about the proposition of the revenue cutter Bear, the history of it briefly, and the attitude of the service toward it.
STATEMENT OF REAR ADMIRAL FREDERICK C. BILLARD, COM
MANDANT, UNITED STATES COAST GUARD
Admiral BILLARD. I might make a very brief statement, Mr. Chairman. I believe that this committee is familiar with the quite remarkable history of this old ship. Confirming what Mr. Carter and Mr. Underwood have told you, the old Bear is known to every person on the Pacific coast at all interested in shipping, and undoubtedly to every native and Eskimo on the entire Alaskan coast. She has had a remarkable history. Probably no vessel that ever flew the pennant of the United States has done more humanitarian good in her long life than has this old ship. So we in the Coast Guard have a very strong sentimental attachment for the vessel.
It had been my thought that we might retain the old Bear with a small number of men to keep her up, and use her possibly for receiving and training men, but be that as it may, in the appropriations for the Coast Guard for 1929 the House Committee on Appropriations very carefully eliminated from each subhead of the appropriation the cost necessary for further maintenance of the Bear. The House adopted the committee's report, so I have considered that as a mandate from Congress that I must not retain the old vessel any longer. Therefore, unless she be transferred to the city of Oakland--and I have felt justified in retaining her long enough to see what Congress would do—I shall be compelled to dispose of her under the law. That means that I shall have to advertise her for sale. What the Government would get for her is problematic. It has been our experience that when we sell an old vessel to the highest bidder, we get very little. I should hazard the guess that we might get six or eight or ten thousand dollars for her. The old vessel then might be turned into a coal barge or what not, and we in the Coast Guard are exceedingly anxious that that fine old ship should pass the remainder of her days cared for and respected in the manner that I know the citizens of Oakland will do.
That is about all I have to say.
Admiral BILLARD. The vessel now is lying at a wharf in the city of Oakland. It is right in Oakland.
Mr. Hoch. Is she in service at all?
Admiral BILLARD. Not at all. She is simply being cared for, pending the disposition of Congress. In other words, if Congress does not act to transfer it to the city of Oakland, I shall feel it my duty to carry out the evident wish of Congress and sell the vessel.
Mr. CROSSER. Is it a wooden vessel ?
Mr. CROSSER. Would it be possible to preserve it there for an indefinite length of time?
Admiral BILLARD. I think the old vessel in a lake such as has been suggested will be there for 50 years, probably. They are solid old timbers, you know, built on the same principles as the old Constitution and Constellation. She might lie there indefinitely.
Mr. Hoch. We have here a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury giving something of the same history of the Bear, and indorsing the measure, which I will simply turn over to the reporter for the record. The proposition is indorsed by the Secretary.
If there are no further questions or further statements, that will close the hearing on this matter.
(The letter referred to follows:)
Washington, December 1., 1928. The CHAĪRMAN COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE AND FOREIGN COMMERCE,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN : I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of December 4, 1928, inclosing copy of a bill (H. R. 14452, 70th Cong., 2d sess.) To authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to donate to the city of Oakland, Calif., the United States Coast Guard cutter Bear, and asking to be furnished a report thereon, and such views as I may desire to communicate.
Following the enacting clause the bill reads:
“ That the Secretary of the Treasury is authorized and directed to donate, without expense to the United States, to the city of Oakland, Calif., the historic Coast Guard cutter Bear, now no longer fitted for service after 54 years and replaced by another boat.”
The Coast Guard cutter Bear was built at Greenock, Scotland, in 1874, and was originally used as an Arctic whaler. She was purchased in 1883 by the United States for use on the Greely relief expedition. In 1885 she was transferred from the Navy Department to the Revenue Cutter Service, Treasury Department. Her duties in the service for many years have sent her annually to the far north on cruises to Alaska and the Arctic Ocean and to Point Barrow. On November 27, 1897, she set out from the west coast on the historic expedition for the relief of the whaling fleet caught in the ice in the vicinity of Point Barrow, and 10 months later she returned bringing 4 crews of wrecked whalers without loss or accident of any kind.
The Bear is 54 years old, and due to age and unsuitability is of negligible value as a Coast Guard cutter on active duty. On October 25, 1928, by order of the Secretary of the Treasury, she was stricken from the list of vessels of the Coast Guard. She has been replaced by the Coast Guard city Northland.
In view of these considerations, the remarkable service of the Bear, and the fame she has earned along the entire Pacific coast, I am in favor of disposing of the vessel as proposed by the bill under notice. I, therefore, recommend its passage. Very truly yours,
A. W. MELLON, Secretary of the Treasury. Mr. Hoch. We have before us at this time H. R. 14151, introduced by Mr. Hadley of Washington, and H. R. 14121, introduced by Mr. Johnson of Washington, being, I think, almost identical bills—possibly there is some little difference—a bill to provide for the establishment of a Coast Guard station at or near the mouth of the Quillayute River in the State of Washington. Representative Hadley wished to make a statement, and he will be here in a few moments, and in the meantime we will be glad to hear from you, Admiral Billard. The report of the Treasury Department reads as follows:
Washington, November 10, 1928. The CHAIRMAN COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE AND FOREIGN COMMERCE,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of May 31, 1928, transmitting bill H. R. 14121, Seventieth Congress, First session, “To provide for the establishment of a Coast Guard station at or near the mouth of Quillayute River in the State of Washington," and asking for a report thereon, and for such views as I may desire to communicate.
There is no Coast Guard station between the Baaddah Point Station, at Neah Bay, Wash., the entrance to the Straits of Juan de Fuca, and the Grays Har. bor Station, Washington, a distance of about 120 miles south. The shore line of this territory bordering directly on the Pacific Ocean, is bold, precipitous, rocky, and extremely dangerous. The country is uninhabited and unprotected.
The legislation proposed by the bill under notice would place a station at or near the mouth of Quillayute River, a distance of about 45 miles from Baaddah Point Station and about 75 miles from the Grays Harbor Station.
During the fishing season there are hundreds of fishing boats passing in and out of Quillayute River over the outlying bar, in addition to a great number of vessels passing along the coast in this vicinity. There is also much wood pulp taken out of the river in barges for Puget Sound points, and it is the main point from which the Indians conduct sealing.
In case of marine disaster in the present situation it would be considerable time before assistance could arrive from the station on either side, and in the meantime the vessel would probably be ground to pieces on the rocks, resulting in loss of life. Most of the storms on that coast are followed by on-shore wind lasting even for a longer period, generally, than the storm itself.
There is an available location for a station at the mouth of the Quillayute River, at Lapush, Wash., on the Lapush Indian Reservation.
The department is of the opinion that the establishment of a station, as proposed by the bill, is necessary in the interests of commerce and humanity, and therefore recommends that the bill be passed, with the following suggested amendments :
That the words "at a limit of cost for station buildings and equipment thereof of $75,000," appearing in lines 8 and 9, be omitted. The cost of the station buildings and equipment will not amount to the sum named.
That the word captain," preceding the word "commandant,” in line 7, be omitted, so as to conform to the legal designation of that officer.
It may be added that the Director of the Bureau of the Budget advises that the proposed legislation is not in conflict with the financial program of the President. Very truly yours,
A. W. MELLON, Secretary of the Treasury.
STATEMENT OF REAR ADMIRAL FREDERICK C. BILLARD, COM
MANDANT UNITED STATES COAST GUARD
Admiral BILLARD. Mr. Chairman, the committee, of course, is familiar in a general way with the Coast Guard stations around our coasts, formerly known as life-saving stations and now as Coast Guard stations. I am sure you are familiar generally with the very splendid work that the personnel at those stations perform in saving human life from the perils of the sea. It is a fact that with respect to this protection in the form of life-saving stations, the service is weak on that northwest coast, the coast of Washington and Oregon. It is a very stormy, dangerous coast. There have been many disasters there. Shipping on the Pacific coast has grown to a great extent, I am told, and is still growing.
What this bill proposes is to augment the protection of life and property along that dangerous coast by this one Coast Guard station, situated at the mouth of the Quillayute River in the State of Washington.
Mr. O. M. Maxam, who is chief of the division of operations of the Coast Guard, is here to explain more in detail about this particular project, if you will be good enough to hear him.
Mr. Hoch. We will be very glad to hear him.
Mr. GARBER. Before you desist, what are the number and location of the Coast Guard stations?
Admiral BILLARD. There are 277 Coast Guard stations, formerly life-saving stations. They lie on our coasts from Maine all down the Atlantic until we get to Florida, where we have no active stations. They lie on our Gulf coast, the Lakes' coasts, and on the Pacific coast. But we are, as I may repeat, rather weak in our protective agencies on that dangerous northwest section.
Mr. GARBER. Do you know how many stations we have there now!