Greyhound (sternwheeler 1890)

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Greyhound (from an old colorized postcard)
Greyhound (from an old colorized postcard)
Name: Greyhound
Route: Puget Sound (several routes)
Builder: Claude Troup; joiner work by P. Cartsens, Portland, Oregon
Cost: $15,000
In service: 1890
Out of service: about 1915
Fate: Converted to barge
General characteristics
Type: inland steamship
Tonnage: 180.67 gross tonnage; 166.96 registered tonnage[1]
Length: 140 ft (43 m) length of keel, 165 ft (50 m) overall
Beam: 18 ft (5 m), 22 ft (7 m) over guards
Draft: 4.7 ft (1 m)
Depth: 6.3 ft (2 m) depth of hold
Decks: two (freight/engines and passenger), hurricane
Installed power: twin steam engines, 14.5 inch bore by 60" stroke, poppet valves, constructed by Iowa Iron Works, Dubuque, Iowa.
Propulsion: sternwheel, 21 ft (6 m) , 16 buckets, each bucket 10.5 ft (3 m) long, 20 inches wide, with 22-inch (560 mm) dip.[1]
Speed: 20 miles per hour maximum[1]

The Greyhound was an express passenger steamer which operated in 1890s to about 1915 on Puget Sound in Washington, United States. This vessel, commonly known as the Hound, the Pup or the Dog, was of unusual design, having small upper works, but an enormous sternwheel. Unlike many sternwheelers, she was not intended for a dual role as passenger and freighter, but was purpose-built to carry mostly passengers on express runs.


Greyhound was built at Portland, Oregon by Capt. Claud Troup (1865-1896) in association with Frank W. Goodhue and others.[2] Greyhound was designed by Claude Troup's brother, James W. Troup, one of the most famous of the steamboat captains. She was long and narrow, and considered by some to be too flimsily built, which turned out to be quite wrong, as the Hound as she was called, proved to be a money-making fast moving boat.[3] The Greyhound was 139.3 feet (42.5 m) long, 18.5 feet (5.6 m) on the beam 6.3 feet (1.9 m) depth. Twin steam engines of 14.5" bore and 72" stroke drove her enormous sternwheel.[4] Mechanical data included: indicated horsepower 400; single boiler, steel firebox built by Willamette Iron Works, Portland, Oregon. Total grate surface 12 square feet (1.1 m2), total heating surface 3,200 square feet (300 m2): fuel consumption: 3/4 of one cord of fir wood [1]


File:Steamboat Greyhound (Stanton drawing).jpg
Greyhound, image and artwork circa 1893 by Samuel Ward Stanton

Shortly after completion Greyhound was taken round to the Sound in September by Captain Lewis. She was built almost exclusively for passenger traffic and showed remarkable speed. Once on Puget Sound Greyhound raced against and beat all the crack boats on the Tacoma and Seattle route.[4] Greyhound started express passenger service between Seattle and Tacoma on September 7, 1990, with Capt. Howard Bullene in command and Claude Troup acting as chief engineer. On the very first trip, Greyhound raced and beat the Fleetwood.

File:Claud Troup (steamboat captain).jpg
Claud Troup, captain of Greyhound

Shortly after Greyhound reached Puget Sound, Captain U.B. Scott brought the fast propeller steamer Flyer up from Portland where she too had been built, and put her on the same Tacoma-Seattle run in competition with Greyhound. In a typical anti-competitive transaction of the time, Capt. Scott offered the owners of Greyhound a subsidy if they would take her off the route. Troup agreed, and in November, 1891 he sold her to the Seattle & Tacoma Navigation Company, of which he was president. From then until 1903 she was operated on the Everett and Seattle route, making three round trips a day. Captain Troup handled the boat himself most of the time.[2][4]


Greyhound, "all wheel and whistle" mounted both a greyhound statue on the roof of her pilot house and a broom on her masthead, showing that she'd swept the sea of her competition. One day she raced against the magnificent Bailey Gatzert, which thereafter mounted both the dog and the broom.[5]

Later career

File:Steamer Greyhound (Stanton profile drawing).jpg
Greyhound, drawing by Samuel Ward Stanton, circa 1893

In 1903, Greyhound was replaced on the Everett route by Telegraph, then a new sternwheeler, and sold to a firm which placed her on the route between Olympia and Tacoma, where she ran against the old Willamette River sternwheeler Multnomah and also Capital City, another sternwheeler Following a rate war, Greyhound's new owners bought out both Multnomah and Capital City, forming the Olympia-Tacoma Navigation Company.[2][5]

Out of service

In 1911 the new propeller steamer Nisqually was built at Quartermaster Harbor and acquired by the Olympia Tacoma Navigation Co. to replace Greyhound, which was then relegated to relief boat service. By 1924, Greyhound had been out of service for many years, and all that remained was her hull. She was still in good enough shape to warrant hauling her out in Tacoma in 1924, for repair, caulking and painting.[2] Just what happened to her hull is not clear, probably it was just left to rot on a beach or a mud bank like so many others had been.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Stanton, Samuel Ward, American Steam Vessels, page 399, Smith and Stanton, New York, NY 1895 (accessed 3-14-2008)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Newell, Gordon R., ed., H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest, at 10-11, 88, 188, 214, 396 n.1, 529, Superior Publishing, Seattle, WA 1966 ISBN 0875642209
  3. Kline, Mary S. Steamboat Virginia V, at 20, Documentary Publishers, Bellevue, WA 1985 ISBN 0-935503-00-5
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Wright, E.W. Lewis & Dryden Marine History of the Pacific Northwest, at 375-76, Lewis and Dryden Printing Co. Portland, OR 1895
  5. 5.0 5.1 Newell, Gordon R., Ships of the Inland Sea, at 110, Binford and Mort, Portland, OR (2nd Ed. 1960)

Further reading

  • Carey, Roland, The Steamboat Landing on Elliott Bay, Alderbrook Publishing, Seattle, WA 1962
  • Carey, Roland, The Sound of Steamers, Alderbrook Publishing, Seattle, WA 1965
  • Faber, Jim, Steamer's Wake, Enetai Press, Seattle, WA 1985 ISBN 0-9615811-0-7
  • Gibbs, Jim, and Williamson, Joe, Maritime Memories of Puget Sound, Schiffer Publishing, West Chester, PA 1987, ISBN 0-88740-044-2
  • Kline, Mary S. and Bayless, George A., Ferryboats - A Legend on Puget Sound, Bayless Books, Seattle, WA 1983 ISBN 0-914515-00-4
  • Newell, Gordon, and Williamson, Joe, Pacific Steamboats, Bonanza Books, New York, NY (1963)

External links

University of Washington image collection

  • Greyhound, 1891, on Puget Sound This is a good clear image of the vessel, showing her unusual design and the small but crowded passenger deck.
  • Greyhound, 1909 This image is taken from the stern of the vessel, which appears to be running at high speed based on the large amount of spray from the sternwheel, the size of the wake, and the amount of smoke coming from the funnel. The wheel appears quite large in this photograph compared to the rest of the boat.