Archive - January 2017 - 125th Anniversary - Crowley's Journey Through the Years

About Us

January 2017

A Message from Tom Crowley, Chairman and CEO

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In 1892, my grandfather, Thomas Crowley, bought a Whitehall rowboat and went into business for himself shuttling personnel and supplies between the San Francisco waterfront and the tall sailing ships that would anchor in San Francisco Bay. It was a very physically demanding job, requiring a strong back and arms because business was typically won by the boatman who could row out to the ships faster than his competitors. Fortunately, my grandfather was physically and mentally strong, with an unfaltering work ethic, and he won his share of business. From these humble beginnings grew the company we know today as Crowley Maritime Corporation.

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In a day and age where the average lifespan of a family-owned business is 24 years, I am very proud to say that we will mark our 125th anniversary of service in 2017. The year will be filled with great celebration and reflection on what we have accomplished, and how we have grown and prospered for well over a century. By taking a look back, we can better appreciate the work, sacrifice, and entrepreneurial spirit of those who
came before us.

We invite you to take this celebratory journey with us by connecting with us on this website and social media channels as we look confidently to the future and our next 125 years of service. Read More

January 2017

125th Anniversary

We are proud to begin our 125th year of service, and invite you to follow us all year as we remember and celebrate many of the milestones that contributed to our success and growth into the $2 billion-a-year diversified marine solutions, energy and logistics services company that we are today.

Crowley 125th Anniversary

In 1892, Thomas Crowley bought a Whitehall rowboat and went into business for himself shuttling personnel and supplies between the San Francisco waterfront and the tall sailing ships that would anchor in San Francisco Bay. It was a very physically demanding job, requiring a strong back and arms because business was typically won by the boatman who could row out to the ships faster than his competitors. Fortunately, Mr. Crowley was physically and mentally strong, with an unfaltering work ethic, and he won his share of business. From these humble beginnings grew the company we know today as Crowley Maritime Corporation.

Crowley 125th Anniversary

1906: Crowley's fleet plays a significant role helping people evacuate following the Great San Francisco Earthquake. The quake, which was believed to have reached 8.0 or higher on the Richter scale, killed more than 500 people, and caused widespread damage and fires that lasted three days. Tom Crowley launches undertook continuous runs back and forth across the Bay, transporting people and belongings to safety with many going to Oakland. One Crowley vessel stayed out in the Bay for the duration of the crisis with its hold full of cash and securities for the banks of San Francisco.

Crowley 125th Anniversary

By the end of Tom Crowley's second decade of operations on San Francisco Bay, his fleet had grown so large that maintenance and repair could be better managed within the company rather than by contracting work with outside shipyards. In 1912, he leased property from the City of Oakland, and built a marine railway, dock and woodworking mill for hulls -- creating Crowley Shipyard, which later became Pacific Dry Dock and Repair Company.

Crowley 125th Anniversary

In 1913, Thomas Crowley expanded the company’s tug operations in San Francisco Bay by striking a deal to acquire for $1 million the iconic Red Stack tugs, named for the smokestacks' color. More than 100 years later, Crowley-owned ships and tugs around the world continue to be identified by their striking red smokestacks.

Read Tom Crowley’s 125th Anniversary letter in its entirety