Mosquito Fleet Monday: S.S. Harvest Queen runs the rapids


The term ‘Mosquito Fleet’ may, to readers not familiar with the Puget Sound Country, suggest only very small craft. It was however, a phrase universally employed by the people and publications of that section to differentiate the Sound steamers from ocean and coastwise fleet. Some of the inland ships were as large as the deep-sea vessels, but their trade placed them in the ‘Mosquito Fleet.’ The term enjoys the authenticity of tradition and long usage.”  Author, historian Gordon Newell, 1951.

“The serenity of this scene as the HARVEST QUEEN moves out of her slip heading for the Columbia River is in sharp contrast to an earlier run of the HARVEST QUEEN — one that took her over Celilo Falls. In 1881, hard times on the Middle River above the rocky barrier at Celilo Rapids had prompted the passage. It was a risky one. To breach the falls meant a 20-ft drop over a basalt ledge. Then followed the hazards of rock strewn Tenmile Rapids. This churning gutted into a mile long cauldron that compressed the Columbia between sheer rock walls less than 300-ft apart.

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