Observing the Princess Sophia centennial
August 1, 2018
Your article in the May 2018 issue on Ruby (Aunt Phil’s Trunk, page 18) mentions the Princess Sophia sinking in 1918 near Sitka. Actually, she sank on Vanderbilt Reef, about half way between Skagway and Juneau, not Sitka.
This is the centennial commemorative year for the sinking. In Juneau, we are planning a variety of events to honor the disaster, beginning with a major exhibit at the Alaska State Museum on display now through October. The months leading up to the Oct. 25 date will include a variety of talks, a dedication of a plaque at Eagle Beach and an original opera.
The ship went down with all lives lost and still holds the sad record of the largest loss of life in a maritime disaster in the North Pacific.
To Juneau fell the task of finding the victims and preparing them for burial as well as transport to their original destinations. This would have been a major challenge to any community, but for a town of 3,000 it meant a heroic effort and Juneau was up to it.
Mary Lou Spartz