Stark Street

The image you see today was sent in by Brian Rollins. The photo was taken at the foot of Stark Street before the seawall was constructed.

The boy on the right is William Kerr.  The four boys took the sloop from downtown on a voyage down to Astoria and back. Keep in mind that the boys did it without GPS, cell phone, radar or other assistance.

You can see the Burnside Bridge in the background.

Astoria Voyage of William Kerr on Sloop Albatross : Brian Rollins

Astoria Voyage of William Kerr on Sloop Albatross : Brian Rollins

16 thoughts on “Stark Street

  1. If this is the same William Kerr as the Kerr Glass Company,
    (what would make sense as few teenagers would have means to be sailing a boat like this…)
    I think he died this past july…

  2. Not only did they set out on their journey without any modern navigational tools, they even thumbed their noses at the odds of their own time by sailing on a sloop named the “Albatross.”

    ETA: Wikipedia tells me there have been several watercraft named Albatross (or Albatros), but still…

  3. “will leave Portland this morning manned by a crew of four high school boys, captained by George Shepard of the Gasco building, on a cruise to rediscover the Columbia river”

    “The boys manning the sloop are: William Moore of Washington high school, Aiden Bailey, Benson high, Berton Bailey graduate of Buckman, and W. A. Kerr, Sunnyside. The boat will sail from the foot of Stark street at 10 o’clock.”

    “Oars and Sails to Be Used”

    Oregonian, page 18, Friday, August 19, 1927
    Pictured from left to right. The two in the middle look like brothers. They are following in the steps or reenacting the route of Lieutenant Broughton’s trip of October 1792. Broughton navigated up river as far as east Multnomah County. His maps were used by the Lewis and Clark expedition

  4. It’s difficult to tell whether the boy in the far right of photo is William Ashford Kerr Jr (b. 1914 d. 1983) who lived in McMinnville and was son of William A Kerr who died in 1943. Or maybe it is William “Bill” Kerr, son of Alexander H Kerr who founded the canning jar company and the Albertina Kerr home for orphaned children. He was in the glass container biz his entire life and inspired invention of twist-off metal bottle cap. According to an LA Time obit and as noted by Kate, the latter did just pass away in July 2014 (in Van Nuys, CA) at age 95. He would’ve been age 8 in 1927. The former WA Kerr would’ve been 13 which looks about right from this photo. I leave it to pro genealogist-historians to figure out.

  5. @Richard: Both the age of the boys (i.e. not 8), and the fact that oldoregon above has already found the Oregonian article specifying that it was “W A Kerr” on the boat, would seem to settle the question conclusively.

  6. This is a photo of my father, William Ashford Kerr, Jr. and also the grandfather of Brian Rollins.
    I have his hand-written log of their adventure.

    Brian, my son, named his own boat in honor of his grandfather,
    “Bill Kerr.”

    I’m sure their “voyage” gave his parents plenty of concern, but they were used to it.

    Thank you for the kind comments.

  7. My father and his best friend, while in high school, also sailed from Portland down to Astoria. Their voyage was reported in the Oregonian, being newsworthy due to their ability to beach a sinking boat, pump out the water out and carrying on their way !

  8. Given the 1927 date and large piece of machinery in the background, I would say this photo was taken DURING the building of the Harbor Wall.

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