The Steamer Point Arena Loading Under an Apron Chute, date unknown. (Gift of Emery Escola, Emery Escola Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

December 20, 1888 – The steamer Point Arena, captained by Sewell F. Graves, left Vallejo Street Wharf in San Francisco headed to Point Arena, Cuffey’s Cove, Mendocino, and Fort Bragg. She was a great favorite of the traveling public, and she had all the passengers she could carry onboard along with a full cargo of freight.

A unique feature of the Point Arena was that her cabins and staterooms were decorated with oil paintings, the handiwork of Captain Graves himself. According to the San Francisco Call, “Nearly all are marine subjects or scenes on this bay and coast scenes up north; and although the captain has never had any lessons in the art of painting, the pictures are true works of art and faithful representations of the scenes they represent. In one of the staterooms the door-panels are painted with scenes in oil done by Miss Graves, a daughter of the captain, who has inherited his ability.”

The following April, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, “Captain S. F. Graves, who has been in command of the steamer Point Arena for many years, was surprised on his arrival in port yesterday by hearing of his appointment to the command of the steamer Lakme, a larger and better vessel.” There was no mention of what happened to his artwork.

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