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Catalog Number WF 2400
Caption Steamer - SOL DOC
Description WF 2394-2420 is a series of images of the steamer SOL DUC. The 8-30-1928 ANACORTES AMERICAN reported, "Steamer SOL DUC goes on rocks. Steamer hits Point Partridge, Whidby (sic) Island on NW end of Whidbey Island. Passengers transferred to Gilkey tug SEA KING and brought to Anacortes." That may have happened more than once, and it is unknown if that is the event pictured here; the image was undated and simply labeled by Brady, "S. S. SOL DUC aground."

The SOL DUC was an "express, passenger and freight steamer" constructed by Seattle Construction & Drydock Company in 1912 for the Puget Sound Navigation Company (PSNC). With the construction of this vessel, PSNC "continued the policy established by President Green of replacing its aging wooden steamers with modern vessels of steel construction." The vessel was "designed for the Seattle - Port Townsend - Port Angeles - Port Crescent run," hence the name SOL DUC, a river on the Olympic Peninsula. The name translates as "sparkling mystical waters" in the Clallam language. The boat "was the largest of the company's steamers built to date in the Northwest, being of 1,085 tons, with dimensions of 189 x 31.5 x 22.6. She was fitted with a 1,500 horsepower triple-expansion engine (17, 28, 47.5 x 36) and two water tube boilers providing steam of 225 pounds pressure. She also made trips to Victoria, but was a notable roller and those who made the crossing on her in a gale never forgot the experience." Quoted material is from H. W. MCCURDY MARINE HISTORY OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, p. 204. Perhaps that tendency to "roll" influenced the decision to have the SOL DUC replace the KULSHAN on the more protected Seattle - Anacortes - Bellingham route in 1928, although the stated reason was that the SOL DUC was "larger and carried more passenger accommodations." An ad in the 12-20-1928 ANACORTES AMERICAN stated that round trip from Anacortes to Seattle cost $2.00, and round trip to Bellingham cost $1.00. She was sold to the U. S. Navy in 1942.

Various ferry landings have served Fidalgo Island since 1890. The traditional landing place for passenger boats at that time was the Ocean Dock located at the foot of P/Commercial Avenue on the Guemes Channel. Vessels of "Mosquito Fleet" vintage continued to dock there until those wooden vessels gradually became obsolete and transportation routes were consolidated on the Sound by such lines as the Puget Sound Navigation Company. Starting around c. 1915, that company's Black Ball Line docked its domestic passenger vessels on the west side of Curtis Wharf which was built c. 1904 and located at the foot of O Avenue on the Guemes Channel; the company's international (Sidney, B. C.), and San Juan Islands ferries docked at the Guemes Ferry landing at the foot of Q Avenue. The Guemes Ferry, which commenced in 1913, had been started by Harry Rickaby, a boat builder whose boathouse was also based at the foot of Q Avenue, as was the City Float; see WF 0178. In 1923, a new route was added to serve Sidney, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island. With this increased business, the Black Ball Line consolidated all of its boat landings at the Curtis Dock in 1928. The 3-22-1928 ANACORTES AMERICAN reported, "Puget Sound Navigation Company has been granted permission to move its Sidney and island ferries docking place from foot of Q Avenue to foot of O Avenue where the company's steamers have landed for years." See WF 0173, 0176.

Sometime over the next two decades, the Black Ball Line began docking at the "International Ferry Dock" at the foot of I Avenue and 6th Street. This historic side had once been occupied by the McNaught Dock, built in 1890 to service steamers and trains coming to this portion of Anacortes. See WF 0060. As the Washington State Ferry service replaced the Black Ball line, those ferries servicing the outlying San Juan Islands and Sidney, B. C., docked there. On 12-30-1949, due to rising ferry rates and a virtual monopoly by the Black Ball Line, Washington State announced it would purchase most of the equipment and operations of the Puget Sound Navigation Company. The sale took place in 1951, and Washington State Ferries began service, using the re-flagged Black Ball vessels, on 6-1-1951. In 1959, work bean on a new site for the San Juan and Sidney, B. C., ferries at Ship Harbor. The area was so-named during the mid-1800s when sailing vessels would anchor there while waiting for a tow further east into inland waters. By the 1890s Ship Harbor hosted numerous salmon canneries, such as the Fidalgo Island and Rosario canning companies. The last of the buildings associated with the cannery era were demolished to make way for the new Washington State Ferry terminal, which officially opened in May 1960. The old International Ferry Terminal at 6th and I Avenue then became the Guemes Island ferry terminal. See the 7-6-1950 ANACORTES AMERICAN for a Brogan photo of the Black Ball Line ferry at International Ferry Dock.

Wallie V. Funk compiled this partial list of ferries that served Anacortes, the San Juan Islands, and British Columbia.
Photographer BRADY, Ferd
Collection Wallie Funk Collection
Subjects Maritime - Boat
Transportation - Maritime
Place - Anacortes, WA

Credit line Donated by Wallie Funk, Wallie Funk Collection
Place Anacortes, WA
Search Terms ferry
Ocean Dock
Mosquito Fleet
Puget Sound Navigation Company
Black Ball Line
Curtis Wharf
Guemes Ferry
International Ferry Dock
McNaught Dock
Washington State Ferries
Ship Harbor
Object Name Print, Photographic