Removal Of Equator Underway At Port Of Everett

September 26, 2023



The process of removing the Equator is underway.

Following a research project by students studying maritime archaeology and conservation at Texas A&M University to document the ship’s structure, a crew has been carefully taking apart the historic Equator at the Port of Everett.

Earlier this year the Port held an open house and outlined plans to dismantle and remove the ship which has been at the Port of Everett since the 1960s.

Samples of her timbers will be analyzed for wood species and organic material identification and further dendrochronological analysis, and then properly documented for historical record.

The Port has commissioned Seattle artist John Grade to make a sculpture of wood salvaged from the Equator to be on display at the Port. The Port is also in the process of putting together an interpretive exhibit about the Equator’s legacy at the Port’s Waterfront Center near the interior entrance to Scuttlebutt Family Brew Pub.

The exhibition will include historical photos, a timeline of the vessel’s storied career, a map showing her many journeys through the seas, a shipbuilder’s drawing and a 1:48 model of the ship itself.

The Port was loaned a model of the Equator built by Robert Yorczyk of the Washington Ship Model Society in Washington, D.C. The 26-by-36-by-12-inch model will be the showpiece of the interpretive exhibit.

Here’s a bit of how the Equator came to be at the Port of Everett:

The Equator was rescued from a breakwater along Jetty Island in 1967. The Everett-based Equator Foundation hoped to restore the boat to her former glory; sadly, it proved to be a challenging project and funding fell short. But she was the first historical asset in Snohomish County to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

The vessel — constructed in 1888 by renowned boat builder Matthew Turner — is said to be the last of its kind in North America. Her colorful history includes a voyage through the South Pacific with author Robert Louis Stevenson, work as a tender to an Arctic whaling fleet and towing service as a Puget Sound tug.

When her champion, Eldon Schalka, died in a plane crash, the momentum to resurrect the Equator was lost. After some time located at the Port’s Marina Village, the boat is now displayed near the Jetty Landing Boat Launch.

In 2017, the stern of the vessel collapsed, crushing any lingering hope of restoration. After searching for an organization to rehome the historic boat to no avail, the Port obtained custody of the Equator in 2022 to document, memorialize and repurpose her materials.

You can find a timeline of the Equator’s history here.

You can click here to follow John Grade Studio’s work on the sculpture.

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