The Journal of San Diego History
January 1957, Volume 3, Number 1
Jerry MacMullen, Editor

The Mighty Goliah The side-wheeler Goliah (see A Bishop’s First Glimpse of a Frontier Town) played an important part in San Diego’s early transportation. Built in New York in 1849, she was described as the most powerful tow-boat in the world. During the Gold Rush, with passenger cabins added, she was sent to California, remaining on the West Coast until 1898 when she was abandoned. The photograph, supplied through the courtesy of the San Francisco Maritime Museum, shows her lying off Long Wharf, behind a scow-schooner, some time after her cabins had been removed and she was once more operating as a towboat.

Her first arrival at San Diego was recorded in Vol. 1, No. 1 of The San Diego Herald, May 29, 1851, in the following un-enthusiastic words:

STEAMER GOLIAH. – This vessel arrived from San Francisco and intermediate ports on Monday. She is commanded by Capt. Nason, formerly of the Brig Col. Fremont.

We are sorry to see this boat put on this route, as there cannot possibly be trade enough to support more than the Ohio, as the experiment of the Constitution fully proved, and our great fear is, that by keeping up this constant opposition, we shall in a short time be deprived of the accommodation of any boat, other than the semi-monthly steamers of Howard & Aspinwall, between this port and San Francisco.