Wreck of the King Philip

small image of the wreck
Wreck of the King Philip

A once every couple of decades event. The last time this was visible was in 1983. Here we are 24 years later and we get another chance to see what’s left of this 1878 wreck. The ship only lasted 22 years. Built in Maine in 1856 she made it to San Francisco and was on her way out of San Francisco bay when the steam tug was called away to the collier Western Shore that had had a serious accident. The King Philip was left to drop anchor outside the bay. The anchor didn’t hold in heavy seas and she was washed up on Ocean Beach where she still is. Everyone on board got off safely.

The Chron had a good article on this yesterday. They included some good pictures from c.1983 when more of the ship was exposed. The National Parks Service records this as the only known remains of an American medium clipper ship and the most intact known remains of any wooden shipwreck on the California coast. It actually has the dubious distinction of being the site of a second shipwreck in 1902, of the 1875 schooner Reporter. Oddly the remains of the smaller schooner are buried inside the sand filled hull of the King Philip.