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History of the Peter Iredale Prints - November 13, 1906:

Elmer Andrew Coe, arrived at Clatsop Beach to see a headline-making shipwreck on the Oregon Coast. Eighteen days earlier, the British four-masted sailing ship Peter Iredale was wrenched off course by a storm—her spars snapped by gale winds—and had run aground.
Coe, a professional photographer in Astoria from 1903 to 1911, took dramatic photographs of the Peter Iredale—her spars still hanging by splinters and her rent sails billowing—on 4” x 5” glass plate negatives. Oddly, very few prints were made of the stunning scene. My great-uncle, Leo Simon, who started a photo studio in Portland with his partner Franklin Sowell around 1907, obtained these glass plate negatives from Coe to reproduce for publishers. Leo and Sowell also specialized in early color photography.
Before Leo passed away in 1986, he gave my brother and me each a glass plate negative of the Peter Iredale, one from the bow and one from the stern. Now, 95 years after the wreck, with the loan of my brother Matt’s negative, I have used high-resolution digital enlargement to produce 16” x 20” prints of these images.
Though I have searched exhaustively, I have found very few other photographs of the Peter Iredale, and none exhibiting such incredible detail. In the prints I have produced, one can see that a top spar has broken in half and is resting against the port side of the bow. The sails, some shredded, some partly unfurled, hang at various angles from the four masts. A family buggy, probably Coe’s, is in the foreground of both photographs. I am offering these images in a limited edition of 200 numbered prints. They are unique, and will provide their owners with a unique record of Oregon history nearly a century ago. The barnacle-covered remnants of the Peter Iredale wreck remain one of the Oregon Coast’s most popular tourist attractions. The striking contrast between the bit of ship’s hull still reaching up from the sand today and the image of the ship as it looked when the sea first captured her is what makes these prints a true treasure.


Mark Simon



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