Elmer G. Osterhoudt
J. A. Moffett
S.S. Rose City
J. A. Moffett
Oil tanker J. A. Moffett. Click for larger
The ship was a "steel screw steamer" built in San Francisco by Union Iron Works Co.
in 1914 and
owned by Standard Oil Co. of California. Its cargo capacity was
119,410 barrels of oil. It was the largest craft of its kind
on the West Coast. (The "steel screw" was the propeller.)
Photo of the J. A. Moffett around 1945 from the Naval
History and Heritage Command website. Click for larger
By this time the steam engine had been replaced with a
A link to the photo source is
The radio antenna at the top! Elmer said the antenna was four
separate wires but we only see two. This photo was taken 20
years after Elmer served aboard the ship. Radio
technology had advanced dramatically by that time
and a four wire antenna may have been obsolete.
Postcard from 1914.
Here is a comparison of the
1945 photograph and the 1914 postcard (flipped). What is interesting is that
in the upper photograph, taken during WWII, there
seem to be anti-aircraft guns on the bow and stern of the
ship. This would be perfectly plausible, as an
attack by the Japanese on an American Oil tanker was
a real possibility.
Between December 18 and December 24, 1941, Japanese
submarines attacked six oil tankers and freighters
off the coast of California, including the Standard
Oil tanker SS H. M. Story. On the east coast, the J. A.
Moffett Jr, built in 1920 for Standard Oil of New
Jersey, was torpedoed and shelled off the Florida
Keys by a German U-Boat in 1942.
What's this on the
stern of the ship?
Is this an anti-aircraft gun?
Magazine cover shows the launching of the J.
A. Moffett on December 5, 1914.
In 1946 J.A. Moffett was renamed E. H. McEachern, which name
she carried until scrapped 1951.
S. S. Rose City
San Francisco-Portland Steamship Company S. S. Rose
City. Named after the city of Portland.
The Rose City was one of 8 different ships that employed Elmer
Osterhoudt as the wireless radio operator.
Rose City Promenade Deck
Rose City Smoking Room. (The furniture is bolted to
the floor but the spittoons can go flying if the weather gets
The Rose City was a
passenger ship with "every appointment for comfort, and
wireless telegraph and submarine signal equipment for
safety." It sailed 100 miles up the scenic Columbia River,
which is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest. It also
sailed from Portland to San Francisco and San Francisco to Los Angeles.
It was 336 feet long, 43 feet wide and 42 feet tall. It had
accommodations for 170 first class and 230 second-class