Saturday, September 10, 2016

Thea Foss

I used to watch the black and white TV series Tugboat Annie back in the 50's as a lad in North Hollywood.  It was about the adventures of a gritty woman tugboat operator.

There was a movie in the 1930's of the same name.  I saw it for the first time just a few years ago. 

 Hollywood discovered a compelling story.

Thea Foss - 1989
Thea Christiansen came to the United States from Eidsberg, Ostfold, Norway and married Norwegian immigrant Andrew Foss in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1881. Thea Foss launched the future tugboat firm on the Tacoma waterfront in the summer of 1889. She started the Foss Launch Company, which eventually became the Seattle-based Foss Maritime Company. Thea Foss had 9 children Mary, Katie, Issabell, lauren, Alexander, Tawann, Zach, Hanna, Chealsea. Thea Foss had 3 husbands 2 of them deserted her. Thea Foss died in Tacoma on the day before her 70th birthday.  Wiki

In the summer of 1889, Thea Foss (1857-1927), a recent immigrant and new bride from Norway, buys the rowboat that launches the Foss Launch Company. Sitting on the porch of her houseboat on the Tacoma waterfront, she purchases the boat for five dollars from a fuming, disgruntled, failed fisherman. Thea's husband Andrew Foss, a carpenter, is up in the valley building a shed at the time. Before long, Thea sells this rowboat for $15 and buys two more boats from two more discouraged fishermen. Thea begins renting the boats for 50 cents a day. By the time Andrew returns from his shed-building job with $32, Thea has amassed $41. Thus begins what will grow to become the Foss Launch and Tug Company and then Foss Maritime, one of the largest tugboat and marine services firms on the West Coast. LINK

Foss Maritime today

Images of the Thea Foss Waterway, named after our local heroine. 

Looking South.

The waterway was reclaimed from years of commercial exploitation.