Good Rowing - an Essential Business Asset
|Good rowing was central to Rothschild's stevedoring business which was the leading business in Port Townsend and in the 1870's and 80's Port Townsend was the "most flourishing city on Puget Sound".|
After Rothschild's "Kentucky Store" was renamed "Rothschild & Company" the new store built on Water Street featured a boathouse sheltering a $200 rowboat, "showing the disregard of the firm for expenses", accorded to a contemporary report by Lucile McDonald.*
"Rothschild offered ship-to-shore rowboat service and horse and buggy transportation for its clients. In the beginning he must have solicited shipping business by Indian canoe, but now his handsome rowboat took its place and he employed a certain Bill Breeze to row the craft out so that a member of the firm could sign up the captain's patronage before anyone else reached him. sometimes Breeze took Mrs. Rothschild to call on the captain's wife and helped her climb the Jacob's ladder or carried the small children on his shoulders", wrote McDonald.
A little later she wrote, "A competitor, James Griffiths, in a manuscript privately published after his death, threw some light on the stevedoring enterprises of that day, He had arrived in Port Townsend in 1885 when it was the most flourishing town on Puget Sound.""'For a ship's agency or securing a stevedore contract,' he wrote, 'in nine cases out of ten it was a question of first man to board a ship....Purchasing a Whitehall boat, with a man to handle it, we knew we were equipped to enter business in the style that existed in those days. Our opponents were Rothschild & Company .....'"
*Rothchild Washington Stevedoring Co. by Lucile McDonald, December, 1976
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