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Ship wreck lies at bottom of Gig Harbor bay off Tides Tavern.

Puget Sound Mosquito Fleet

Wooden steamships

Dive teams searching for hazards prior to the Gig Harbor sewer outfall project might encounter the wreck of the steamship Burton laying at the bottom of the harbor.  Steamship Burton, part of the Puget Sound Mosquito Fleet,  steamed the  Sound from the early 1900’s until “. . . she was retired and tied up to the “Peoples Wharf” that now services the Tides Tavern.  On the night of February 22nd, 1924, she was consumed by fire and was towed out to the center of the harbor so as not to endanger the other boats.  There she sank, and still sits today, a fascinating journey into our local maritime history. . .” [1] 

The steamship Burton is a popular dive site with boiler, steam engine and deck machinery now harboring marine life.  Most of the 97 ton wood hull is gone and the firebricks surrounding the steam boiler are covered in marine life according to the dive website  The old wooden steamers were painted with volitle paints and sealers.  They burned up to 20 cords of wood per day and were floating tinder for fire. 

Gig Harbor’s new 2-foot diameter sewer outfall pipe will run along the harbor bottom and extend 9,200 feet to a point beyond the mouth of Gig Harbor bay into the Narrows according to a story in The Peninsula Gateway.  Will the construction company find the remains of the old steamship Burton?   Will any of it be preserved?  The Gig Harbor Times will watch with interest as this project unfolds.

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