Ocean-going Steam Tug Hercules
Last of Her Kind on West Coast
The only ocean-going steam tug on the West Coast, Hercules was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986.
She was built in 1907 for the San Francisco firm The Shipowners and Merchants Towboat Company by John Dialogue and Son of Camden, New Jersey. Unlike many ships of her type at the time, Hercules and her sister Goliah were built with 150 foot riveted steel hulls and thriple expansion three-cylinder 1000 horsepower steam engines.
Until 1922 Hercules towed barges and rafts of lumber from the Columbia River, as well as bringing disabled steamers into port and sailing vessels out to sea.
In 1922 the Western Pacific Railroad purchased Hercules for harbor towing. Until 1962 she delivered car floats to the railroad freight terminals around San Francisco Bay. After the steam tugs were replaced by a diesel-powered car ferry, Hercules languished in the Oakland Estuary until moved to they Hyde Street Pier in 1975. A group of museum staff and volunteers have restored her steam engine, allowing Hercules to be operated several times a year, keeping the heritage of steam power alive.
With these free ship plans of Hercules, you could help keep the heritage of steam power alive, too. Our Hercules photo gallery offers plenty of additional detail, as well.