Description: This is Part 16 of 19 of an interview with Horace W. McCurdy. This interview was conducted by Dr. James Warren at McCurdy’s office in the Hoge Building and at the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) in January 1985. This part was recorded at MOHAI.
Horace Winslow (“H.W.”) McCurdy (1899-1989) was a maritime construction executive, civic leader, and avid supporter of maritime research in the Pacific Northwest. A Washington native, McCurdy was born and raised in Port Townsend, and attended University of Washington in Seattle and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). After graduating in 1922, he got a job at the Puget Sound Bridge & Dredging Company and worked his way up in the company, becoming president and general manager by 1931. The firm built the Lake Washington Floating Bridge (1940), the Hood Canal Bridge (1961), three naval bases in Alaska, and built and repaired thousands of ships at its shipyard on Harbor Island. H.W. McCurdy retired as chairman of the board of the company in 1963.
McCurdy’s civic involvement included serving as president of the Seattle Historical Society from 1957 to 1959 and as a longtime board member of the Museum of History & Industry. He was a member of the Rainier Club and served as its president in 1949. McCurdy also underwrote the expense of producing the 2-volume “H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest,” written by Gordon Newell. The Seattle-King County Association of Realtors named H. W. McCurdy First Citizen of 1964.
This interview is part of the Donald Schmechel Oral History Collection. Don Schmechel, who was a member of the Seattle Public Library Foundation board, began this project with Seattle Public Library in 1984, with the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI) brought on board as a partner in early 1985. Schmechel himself worked to raise the funding for the project, and volunteered his time to manage the project, and to conduct interviews along with a crew of volunteers. Originally titled the Videotaping Historic Figures (VHF) Program, the project interviewed 91 people, and MOHAI holds the interviews for 32 of these individuals.The interviews conducted with these Seattle civic, business and cultural leaders in 1985 are valuable first-hand accounts that provide insight into developments taking place in the mid-twentieth century.
Digitization of this videotape material has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.
Transcribed from handwritten notes on videotape case. Due to trimming of video leader, time stamps are approximate:
Library Foundation - Museum of History
00:40 Get out of academics into "crew"; only college sport for amateurs
02:00 MIT - Distinguished alumnus
02:40 McCurdy Park [illeg] living person
03:40 Pres. Rainier Club...room
05:00 Sea Witch model stolen from Rainier Club
07:00 Commodore of S.Y. Club 1941
09:20 Yachts during war - Moby Dick
11:40 Prince Rupert
12:30 Charlie Smith
13:30 Bad shape
14:15 Blue Peter story; Launched in 28; Sold to California Oil Co.
16:30 Boat in bone yard up for bid
17:30 Jim does down says Blue Peter bid 9,900 - 14'''
This oral history recording may be used for research only. For other uses, please contact the Museum of History & Industry at email@example.com.