Good-bye, Alice


Monday was the 109th anniversary of the demise of the French ship, Alice. She was driven ashore in a storm a mile north of Ocean Park, Washington, on Jan. 15, 1909, bound for Portland carrying a cargo of 3,000 tons of cement, according to the Saltwater People Historical Society (

Young Willie Taylor spotted the wreck accidentally when he followed his dog, who would not stop barking, to a spot overlooking the ocean. Perhaps the dog was making such a ruckus because he was a shipwreck survivor himself, of the schooner Solano in 1907.

Once alerted, Capt. Conick and his crew at the Klipsan Lifesaving Station hitched up the horses to the surf boat and wagon, and headed for the Alice. Unfortunately, the awful weather and soft sand did not appeal to the horses, who stopped in their tracks after about a mile. Conick and his crew ventured out into the surf to reach the grounded ship, which was 300 yards offshore, but by the time they got there, the crew had already come ashore in their own boats. No one was lost.

According to (which provided the photo shown), it was several days before the weather calmed down enough so the Alice’s captain could return to inspect the damage. Not only was there heavy damage to the masts and sails, he was dismayed to find that the weight of the cargo had driven the ship deep into the sand. The Alice could not be saved.

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or

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