Richard Miller Tells the Story of the Tugboat Arthur Foss


Learn of the history of the vessel  Arthur Foss, the world’s oldest floating tugboat, and issues involved with its’ haul out in the summer of 2017.  The history of the Arthur Foss is a long and storied tale and with any vessel as old 129 years old, there are many chapters. These include a variety of challenging tow assignments from the South Pacific to the Columbia Bar to Alaska. She has taken on many characters over the decades. Arthur went to war in WW II, played a major part in an old movie, served as a museum and got gold fever in Alaska. She earned many trophies in a long career of racing other working tug boats. She has caught on fire. Endured many significant overhauls and had an unfortunate major accident when she fell over in dry dock while being towed from Honolulu.But thru it all she has persevered and in the summer of 2017 was due for a decadienal maintenance haul out.  She was brought to Foss shipyard on the Lake Washington Ship Canal.  Work included ironbark removal, full planking schedule, Historic American Engineer Record photographs and comprehensive Lidar Survey.  After 12 days in the dry, Arthur Foss did not take kindly to being reacquainted with the waters of the Ship Canal.  However, she is now home safely berthed in South Lake Union.

This presentation will be made by Richard Miller.  He was the project manager for the Northwest Seaport for the Arthur Foss haul out.  Mr. Miller’s professional career includes 35 years as Bridge Engineer and Director of Transportation Capital Projects for the Seattle Department of Transportation.  During his tenure at the City he had a multitude of responsibilities including the Bascule Bridge Electro/Mechanical Rehabilitations and overseeing SDOT’s Bridge Seismic Retrofit Program.

Mr. Miller’s maritime experience includes living on a sailboat for several years.  He was commodore of the Puget Sound Cruising Club where he sailed to most ports in Puget Sound/San Juan and Gulf Islands.  He has offshore sailing experience to San Francisco and Juneau.  He has also sailed in Hawaii and the Greek Islands.  In his free time, he has been on six Habitat for Humanity house builds in countries ranging from Nepal to North Vietnam to Romania.

170 Prospect St: Brace-Moriarty Residence

Lumberman John Stuart Brace (1861-1918) started his lumber business in Spokane in 1878 and moved to Seattle 10 years later with his family to work with his father in the mill industry. In 1890 he married Katherine Frankland Brace (1861-1924) and they had three girls and two boys.

In 1892 Brace served on the city council and three years later he became Superintendent for Western Mills. By 1899 the Brace & Hergert Mill Company was successfully operating at the intersection of Valley St and Terry Ave in South Lake Union, now a part of Lake Union Park.

In 1904 Brace commissioned a home to be designed by the Kerr and Rogers partnership. The home was built from old growth trees by his lumber company. As President of the Lake Washington Canal Association, Brace met with government officials and committees of business men, and directed the educational campaign in favor of the canal. In 1918 John Stuart Brace died in his home after a 3-month illness.

“A very patriotic, high type of citizen was Mr. Brace. I know of no man with whom I have come in contact within recent years that impressed me as being so broad, unselfish and fair-minded, nor one in whom more confidence could be placed. He was a splendid friend. Not alone for his work… but in many other ways was he a friend of the community. It is doubtful if the full measure of the community’s debt to him will ever be fully known.” Lawrence J. Colman

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