|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
stormher spars snapped by gale windsand had run aground.
Coe, a professional photographer in Astoria from 1903 to 1911, took
dramatic photographs of the Peter Iredaleher spars still hanging
by splinters and her rent sails billowingon 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 Matts
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 Coes, 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 Coasts most popular tourist attractions. The striking
contrast between the bit of ships 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.