Elmer G. Osterhoudt
J. A. Moffett
S.S. Rose City
J. A. Moffett
Oil tanker J. A. Moffett. Click for larger
The ship was a "steel screw steamer" built in San Francisco by Union Iron Works Co.
in 1914 and
owned by Standard Oil Co. of California. Its cargo capacity was
119,410 barrels of oil. It was the largest craft of its kind
on the West Coast. (The "steel screw" was the propeller.)
Photo of the J. A. Moffett around 1945 from the Naval
History and Heritage Command website. Click for larger
By this time the steam engine had been replaced with a
A link to the photo source is
The radio antenna at the top! Elmer said the antenna was four
separate wires but we only see two. This photo was taken 20
years after Elmer served aboard the ship. Radio
technology had advanced dramatically by that time
and a four wire antenna may have been obsolete.
Postcard from 1914.
Here is a comparison of the
photograph and the postcard (flipped). The 1914
postcard is a rendering but there is enough detail
that it could be an enhanced photograph to make it
suitable for printing. What is interesting is that
in the upper photograph, taken during WWII, there
seems to be anti-aircraft guns on the bow and stern of the
ship. This would be perfectly plausible, as an
attack by the Japanese on an American Oil tanker was
a real possibility. As a matter of fact, the J. A.
Moffett Jr, built in 1920 for Standard Oil of New
Jersey, was torpedoed and shelled off the Florida
Keys by a German U-Boat in 1942.
What's this on the
stern of the ship?
Is this an anti-aircraft gun?
Magazine cover shows the launching of the J.
A. Moffett on December 5, 1914.
In 1946 J.A. Moffett was renamed E. H. McEachern, which name
she carried until scrapped 1951.
S. S. Rose City
San Francisco-Portland Steamship Company S. S. Rose
City. Named after the city of Portland.
This is one of 8 different ships that employed Elmer
Osterhoudt as the wireless radio operator.
Rose City Promenade Deck
Rose City Smoking Room. (Are the spittoons bolted
down like the chairs?)
The Rose City was a
passenger ship with "every appointment for comfort, and
wireless telegraph and submarine signal equipment for
safety." It sailed 100 miles up the scenic Columbia River,
which is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest. It also
sailed from Portland to San Francisco and San Francisco to Los Angeles.
It was 336 feet long, 43 feet wide and 42 feet tall. It had
accommodations for 170 first class and 230 second-class