11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Schooner C.A. Thayer

Year Listed: 1993
Location: San Francisco, California
Threat: Deterioration

Significance

The C.A. Thayer is one of the last surviving sailing schooners designed for the turn-of-the-century West Coast lumber trade. Built in 1895, the wooden-hulled Thayer had a remarkable career, progressing from lumber-hauling to the fishing trade to serving as a U.S. Army barge in World War II. When she was finally retired in 1950, the Thayer was the last commercial sailing vessel operating from a U.S. West Coast port. In more recent times, the schooner's three masts became a familiar site at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. But the C.A. Thayer's massive timbers were badly rotted and the strength and watertight integrity of her hull were threatened by shipworms. Without thorough reconstruction, the ship was in danger of continuing to weaken until she eventually sank. Funds were desperately needed to carry out a five-year restoration effort.