Erik Krag was born in Denmark in 1892. In 1915 he emigrated to San Francisco and began a career in shipping. In 1921 he returned to Denmark and married Dagny. In 1922, the couple built a home in Homestead Valley at 99 Edgewood which Erik named “Crow’s Nest”. Over the next several years, he acquired nearby properties in La Verne Heights, a subdivision of 175 lots and 9 streets which was only partially developed. Erik eventually owned 17 acres which he named “Rancho del Topé”. He had invented the word “Topé” to mean top of the hill where “Crow’s Nest” was located. In 1975, Erik Krag sold “Rancho del Topé” to Homestead’s CSA #14. It is now known as the “Pixie Trail Open Space Area”.
In 1937 when Erik Krag was president of Viking Steamship Co., a subsidiary of Inter-Ocean Steamship Corp., he bought the Wapama, a wooden steam schooner built in 1915. Eight months later he sold it at a profit of $14,500 — equivalent to $232,000 today.
In 1939, he used the money to construct a 70 ft. long replica of the Wapama at Crow’s Nest. The actual Wapama was 204 ft. long. It took two years to build and furnish the ship to his satisfaction. Erik and Dagny Krag considered it to be the perfect social hall for their “delightfully different” parties. It was also an ideal play ship for their 6-year old twins, Sally and Scotty. Grayline tour busses on the way to Muir Woods would stop to give tourists a good look at the Wapama.
It is amazing that few Homestead Valley residents were aware of the fact that there was a 70 ft. ship parked close to Edgewood Ave. on the corner of Hart Lane. A cypress hedge hid the ship from view. The hedge still exists. It now hides the house at 2 Hart Lane.
Next month’s history article will provide more information about Krag’s ship.
If you have comments or questions about this article or other topics
pertaining to the history of Homestead Valley,
please feel free to e-mail Chuck Oldenburg.