The tugboat Arthur Foss is a heritage vessel, museum ship with public programs, and platform for public service. In 1989 the vessel was declared a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.
Built in 1889 as the Wallowa to tow sailing ships across the Columbia River Bar and into the Columbia River, the Arthur Foss enjoyed a long and storied career before making her way to Northwest Seaport. In 1898, she joined the flotilla of vessels bringing miners and supplies to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush, then came to Puget Sound to tow logs to sawmills.
In 1929, the Foss Launch & Tug Company bought the old Wallowa. After being leased to MGM to star as the tug Narcissus in the 1934 movie Tugboat Annie, the Wallowa was rebuilt into the powerful coastal tug, Arthur Foss, with a new 700hp Washington Iron Works diesel engine.
She set speed records up and down the Pacific Coast before being sent to the Hawaiian Islands prior to World War II. In December 1941, she became the last vessel to escape Wake Island before the Japanese invasion, and spent the rest of the war in the American Navy.
Following the war, the Arthur Foss returned to Puget Sound and Foss put her back to work towing logs. Based out of Port Angeles, she towed logs rafts until being laid up in 1968, a hard worker until the end. Foss decomissioned her and in 1970 donated the venerable tug to Save Our Ships (which later became Northwest Seaport).
Since NWS acquired her, the Arthur Foss has traveled the Puget Sound area, venturing as far as Juneau, Alaska during the 1980s. The tug is moored at the Historic Ships Wharf in Seattle’s Lake Union Park. Plan a visit to explore her today and learn about public programming aboard this treasure.