Snagging (HM1EOJ)

Location: Anacortes, WA 98221 Skagit County
Buy Washington State flags at!
Country: United States of America
Buy United States of America flags at!

N 48° 30.954', W 122° 36.557'

  • 0 check ins
  • 0 favorites
By 1882, Puget Sound's rivers were served by hundreds of steam paddlewheelers with such shallow drafts people joked they could "float on a heavy dew." Because their flat-bottomed hulls were easily punctured by submerged stumps and debris, Congress allocated $20,000 for a snagboat and, under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, three steam-powered sternwheelers kept the region's tributaries cleared for 97 years - the Skagit (launched in 1885), the Swinomish (1914) and finally the W.T. Preston (1929 and 1939).

The Preston used a 70-foot boom and a 1?-cubic yard clamshell dredging bucket. Fore and aft steel "spuds" were lowered through the hull to anchor her to the bottom. Crews located submerged hazards by sweeping riverbeds with cable suspended between two skiffs.

W.T. Preston Snagboat
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operated steam-powered sternwheeler "snagboats" in rivers from Blaine to Olympia, to keep the region's tributaries clear of navigational hazards. The W.T. Preston was the last of the sternwheelers.

[Image captions read]
[Top left]
Small obstructions were grappled & hoisted aboard; large ones were sometimes dynamited. Above, Norman Hamburg overseas as a large strump is lifted with the boom in 1958.

[Top center] This diagram detailing snagboat anatomy is from Ronald R. Burke's book "Heritage of a Snagboat: Story of the W.T. Preston"

[Top right] The 1,100 cubic yards of debris collected by the W.T. Preston each year was burned on a barge or deposited ashore. Above, logs and debris are seen from the sternwheelers bow.

Photos courtesy of the Anacortes Museum

[For more information, visit]
Placed ByAnacortes Museum & Maritime Center, Anacortes Parks & Recreation Dept., and Anacortes Tourism Promotion Fund
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, October 26th, 2014 at 7:30am PDT -07:00
Sorry, but we don't have a picture of this historical marker yet. If you have a picture, please share it with us. It's simple to do. 1) Become a member. 2) Adopt this historical marker listing. 3) Upload the picture.
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)10U E 528853 N 5373716
Decimal Degrees48.51590000, -122.60928333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 48° 30.954', W 122° 36.557'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds48° 30' 57.24" N, 122° 36' 33.42" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)360
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 702-796 R Ave, Anacortes WA 98221, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

Is this marker missing? Are the coordinates wrong? Do you have additional information that you would like to share with us? If so, check in.

Nearby Markersshow on map
Check Ins  check in   |    all

Have you seen this marker? If so, check in and tell us about it.

Comments 0 comments

Maintenance Issues
  1. Is this marker part of a series?
  2. What historical period does the marker represent?
  3. What historical place does the marker represent?
  4. What type of marker is it?
  5. What class is the marker?
  6. What style is the marker?
  7. Does the marker have a number?
  8. What year was the marker erected?
  9. This marker needs at least one picture.
  10. Can this marker be seen from the road?
  11. Is the marker in the median?