SS HARVARD – California’s night boat from Los Angeles to San Francisco went aground in 1931…

SS HARVARD – California’s night boat from Los Angeles to San Francisco went aground in 1931…


On May 31, 1931 the passenger steamship SS Harvard went aground off Point Arguello, California.


The Harvard was running its regular schedule between San Francisco and Los Angeles with 500 passengers when it went hard aground during the night in heavy fog.

The sea was calm and there was no panic among the passengers.

The Harvard’s lifeboats were lowered and stood by until a passing freighter arrived on scene.


The passengers would later be transferred to the U.S. Navy cruiser U.S.S. Louisville which had been at anchor at Los Angeles harbor.

The Harvard broke up and became a total loss before it could be re-floated.


The 3700 ton Harvard was launched in 1907 at Chester, Pennsylvania.

The vessel served a short time in World War I as a troopship before going back into service as a passenger steamship.

The Los Angeles Steamship Company or LASSCO was a passenger and freight shipping company based in Los Angeles, California.

Founded by Harry Chandler (owner of the Los Angeles Times).


LASSCO History…

The company, formed in 1920, initially provided fast passenger service between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

In 1921, LASSCO added service to Hawaii in competition with the San Francisco-based Matson Navigation Company using two former North German Lloyd ocean liners that had been in U.S. Navy service during World War I.

Despite the sinking of one of the former German liners on her maiden voyage for the company, business in the booming 1920s thrived, and the company continued to add ships and services. the worsening economic conditions in the United States, and the burning of another ship in Hawaii, caused financial problems for the company.

After beginning talks in 1930, the Los Angeles Steamship Company was taken over by Matson Navigation on January 1, 1931, but continued to operate as a subsidiary until it ceased operations in 1937.

This is a list of passenger ships of the Los Angeles Steamship Company: SS Calawaii, SS City of Honolulu, SS City of Honolulu, SS City of Los Angeles, SS Diamond Head, SS Harvard, SS Waimea and SS Yale.




About Michael L. Grace

During the mid-80s, Michael Grace worked as a writer on the TV Hit Series THE LOVE BOAT. He wrote many of the two hour special featuring great stars of the past, including Lana Turner, Claire Trevor, Anne Baxter, Ethel Merman, Alexis Smith, etc. The public’s access to these stars, in familiar dramas and comedies, made them want to go on a cruise. They could see the stars in an ordinary world as “regular” people. The phenomenally successful series was responsible for creating the cruise industry as we know it today. By the time he was writing for Love Boat, the great steamship companies and their liners were flying hand me down foreign flags, painted like old whores, scrapped or doing three day cruises to the Bahamas. He had sailed on over thirty ships and liners with his parents, aunt and grandmother in late 50s to early 70s. The very successful CRUISING THE PAST website has been an outgrowth of Michael’s strong interest in cruise and social history. Drawing on his own knowledge and a vast maritime and social history collection, he is able to produce a very successful website. Michael is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. He has written for television and films. Read more by going to "About" (on the above dashboard) and clicking "Editor"…