• Photo by Audrey Luke.

Charles Parsons' Ships of the World

Based on the plans of historic ships from a Spanish brigantine to a World War II destroyer, the 24 model ships on display were handcrafted by San Carlos resident Charles Parsons. He spent several years carving and assembling each piece, from the planks on the hulls to the pulleys on the riggings.


Bay Area Ships
  • Golden Hind: Sir Francis Drake’s English galleon sailed up the coast of California.
  • San Carlos: The first ship to sail into San Francisco Bay.
  • Regenia “S”: The scow schooner transported goods around the Bay.
  • Despatch No. 8: Guided larger ships around the Bay in the early 1900s.
  • USS The Sullivans: The Fletcher class destroyer was built in San Francisco during World War II.

Left: San Carlos. Photo by Audrey Luke.

Charles Parsons

Born in 1917, Charles Parsons developed a lifelong interest in sailing and model ship building growing up in Long Island, New York. After graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering, Charles married his wife Suzanne. After World War II, the Parsons moved to the San Francisco Peninsula. He enjoyed sailing his sloop, the Chasue, in the Bay and ocean. After his retirement from Chevron, Parsons focused his efforts on model ship building. He died in 2004.


Thanks to the generosity of the Christensen Family Foundation, renovations were made in Ships of the World in 2014 including new graphic panels, new videos, additional artifacts on exhibit and a new interactive.