In July 1897 the coastal steamer Portland arrived in Seattle, filled with miners and Yukon gold. The great gold rush to the Yukon's Klondike region exploded across North America. Ten thousand Seattle residents tried to set off that summer. This site provides a nice, brief history: "The Klondike Gold Rush: Curriculum Materials for the History of the Pacific Northwest
in the Washington Public Schools".
The gold rush was enormously important in the history of Alaska and the Yukon, so the discovery of the location of the wreck of the Portland is newsworthy. The story is covered here: "Remains of Gold Rush-era ship identified". This ship had a colorful history, in addition to its role in the gold rush:
"The wooden-hulled 191-foot steam ship was launched in Bath, Maine, in 1885 as the Haytian Republic. It was to haul goods in the West Indies trade.
According to a 1955 article in the Alaska Sportsman, the government seized the vessel in 1888 and charged its captain with smuggling arms to the Hippolyte rebels. The crew was sent home after one died from yellow fever. Strong winds blew the ship onto the rocks, and a Haitian ship rammed it.
Its owners sent the vessel around Cape Horn to supply Alaska canneries and whaling bases. That work never panned out, but by 1892 the ship was making money by hauling contraband, customs agents suspected.
The uninsured Haytian Republic burned and sank near Portland, Ore., allegedly with illegal opium on board. It was raised and repaired and caught several times smuggling Chinese laborers and opium into Canada.
U.S. Marshals ordered the ship sold. The new owners overhauled the vessel and renamed it the S.S. Portland. The Portland was among about two dozen Alaska coastal steamers hauling freight and passengers when gold was discovered in the Klondike in 1896."
Here is a site with a picture of the Portland: "Klondike Gold Rush".
After the gold rush, the Portland operated off of Alaska. It hit a rock off the Gulf of Alaska coast in 1910, and was apparently beached near the Katalla River (somewhat to the east of Prince William Sound). Gradually the ship was covered by silt. The 1964 "Good Friday" earthquake lifted this area about 12 feet. Subsequently the silt was eroded, exposing the ship - fairly well preserved.