National Hispanic Heritage Month – Capt. Domingo Marcucci

Domingo Marcucci (1827-1905), who started out life in the part of the South American republic of Gran Colombia that now encompasses Venezuela, became a leading trailblazer for maritime activities in the United States. “Captain [Domingo] Marcucci is the pioneer boatbuilder of the Pacific Coast and the first to establish a shipyard in San Francisco,” asserted the San Francisco Call newspaper in 1902. “His general features denote a man of energy, strong willpower and a determination to succeed.”

Marcucci was born in the city of Maracaibo; his mother was a native of Caracas, while his father came from Santiago de los Caballeros in the present-day Dominican Republic. When he was only 13, Marcucci went to Philadelphia to study American shipbuilding techniques. He served as an apprentice at the city’s Byerly and Van Dusen Shipyard.

At the age of 22, Marcucci made his way to San Francisco to establish a shipyard there. Within just a few days after arriving in San Francisco, he began work on the stern-wheel steamboat Captain Sutter. It took him only six weeks to complete the vessel, which became the first steamboat to travel between San Francisco and Stockton. Marcucci established himself permanently in the region and eventually built a wide variety of sought-after vessels. Notable examples of his work included the side-wheel steamship El Dorado; the steamboats Georgiana and Flora Templeton; the sailing ship Monitor; and the tugboat Cyrus Walker.

In 1890, Marcucci changed careers when the U.S Department of Treasury appointed him assistant inspector of steam vessels for the port of San Francisco. He carried out these duties even after timber that fell from a ferry fractured his skull in 1893. He continued in the position until his retirement more than seven years later.

“I always depended upon myself, believing that by hard work one must succeed,” Marcucci said in a San Francisco Call interview. “I have seen San Francisco grow from a small town to the present size, and the boat building industry increase from the primitive shipyards, with their crude materials, to its present dimensions.”

For more information about Domingo Marcucci, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domingo_Marcucci and the San Francisco Call article “First Boatbuilder on the Pacific Coast” (9 March 1902) at https://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=SFC19020309.2.239.7&dliv=none&e=——-en–20–1–txt-txIN——–1

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