Paddlewheel tug Eppleton Hall (1914)
Eppleton Hall, a steam sidewheeler with side-lever engines, is the only remaining intact example of a Tyne paddle tug. A direct descendent of the first craft to go into commercial service as harbor tugs, the vessel was engaged on the Wear and Tyne rivers of northeast England from 1914-1967.
National Maritime Historical Society intervened when San Francisco officialdom threatened to disown the tug while she was on her final voyage from England. A thousand-plus letters from ship lovers, museum leaders, and rank-and-file people from all over resulted in Mayor Alioto dropping a threatened city lawsuit against the San Francisco Maritime Museum director Karl Kortum, who was bringing the ship in. Alioto then became chairman of the tug’s welcoming committee after letters of support stirred the San Francisco Chronicle’s Herb Caen to write a paean to the Argonauts bringing the tug to San Francisco. Public interest made it possible to enlist a terrific volunteer crew and paved the way for funding to assure her future.
From 1969-1979 Eppleton Hall served as a private yacht, during which time she was modified for an epic steam (via the Panama Canal) to San Francisco, passing through the Golden Gate in March of 1970. The vessel was donated to the National Park Service in 1979. She is now berthed at Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco.
To learn more about Eppleton Hall, visit www.nps.gov/archive/safr/local/eppie.html