Educational public schools.
Today he is primarily remembered for Moran Brothers Company shipbuilders, his work as mayor to rebuild after the Great Seattle fire, and his large estate on Orcas Island, which became a resort and Moran State Park. A native of New York City, Moran was 18 when, in 1875, he arrived penniless in Seattle, a frontier outpost in the Pacific Northwest, which had been settled in November 1851, and only incorporated between 1865 and 1869. The Moran Brothers Company prospered during the Klondike Gold Rush when, among other projects, they built a fleet of twelve 176-foot (54 m) paddlewheel riverboats (hull Nos 9–20), which were successfully delivered to the Yukon River.
In 1888, 31-year-old Robert Moran was elected the Republican mayor of Seattle.
In those early years, the town"s mayors were elected in July for a one-year term. Near the end of his service, on June 6, 1889, the Great Seattle Fire destroyed most of the central business district.
Through the period of his mayoralty, he was instrumental in the successful rebuilding of businesses, including Moran Brothers, which was destroyed in the fire. His political connections were also very helpful in securing government contracts for his shipbuilding company.
Among his administration"s rebuilding efforts was the public overhaul of Seattle"s water system and the establishment of a savings and loan association, which later became Washington Mutual.
Following his mayoral service, Moran devoted all his efforts to his shipbuilding business and, in 1904, climaxed his career with his shipyard"s launch of the United States Ship Nebraska, Washington State"s only battleship. He was told in 1905 that he had one year to live, and retreated to Orcas Island in Puget Sound"s San Juans, where he built the Moran Mansion—surrounded at that time by 7,800 acres (32 km2) of land—that is now the centerpiece of Rosario Resort. He sold the shipbuilding company for an undisclosed price between United States$2.5 and 3.5 million in 1906.
Moran spent the remainder of his life in retirement on Orcas Island.
In 1916, he had a 132-foot (40 m) yacht built called the Sanwan, though it seems that ship saw little use. Influenced by chance encounters with conservationist John Muir, he donated 2,700 acres (1,100 ha) of Rosario to the state of Washington for preservation, which became Moran State Park in 1921.
From there he moved into a smaller home on Orcas. He died in 1943 and was buried in the Moran family plot in Lake View Cemetery in Seattle.
Robert Moran Papers.
1889-1925.42 cubic feet (1 box). At the Labor of Washington, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections.
Member Society Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, Society of the United States Military Engineers, American Shipmasters’ Association, Marine Engineers Association, Franklin Institute, Institute Naval Architects (London), Washington Pioneers’ Association. Clubs: Rainer, Seattle Yacht, Seattle Athletic.
Married Mission M. East. Paul, of Victoria, British Columbia, 1882. Children: John M., Frank G., Malcolm East., Nellie M., Mary R. (Wood).