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Catalog Number WF 2387.A,B,C
Caption Ferries - PUGET (right) and CITY OF BELLINGHAM
Description The ferries CITY OF BELLINGHAM and PUGET were both owned by the Puget Sound Transportation Company's Black Ball Line. The CITY OF BELLINGHAM was built in 1916 as the steam ferry KITSAP II for the Kitsap County Transportation Company. A ferry call KITSAP, owned by W. L. Gazzan, ran between Anacortes, Bellingham and Seattle daily in 1910; see "Kitsap starts run on February 28th" in the 2-17-1910 ANACORTES AMERICAN. By the early 1920s, "the automobile was already becoming king, and in order to survive, companies were converting steamers left and right until proper auto ferries could be built. Retaining her machinery, the KITSAP II was stripped down and rebuilt to carry cars, emerging in 1924 as the ferry CITY OF BELLINGHAM." She was soon acquired by the Puget Sound Navigation Company and in 1929 the vessel was "completely rebuilt at Houghton as the QUILCENE, her length being increased from 141 to 146 feet and her beam from 26 to 43 feet. She was provided with entirely new public rooms, dining facilities and a number of staterooms, but her original four-cylinder triple-expansion engine installed at the time of her construction in 1916 as the KITSAP II was retained. The QUILCENE was placed on the Seattle-Port Townsend run in charge of Capt. Allen P. Burneson and upon the granting of a certificate by the state department of public works was diverted to the new Edmonds - Port Townsend route for which she was designed." Quoted material is from H. W. MCCURDY MARINE HISTORY OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, p. 402.

The ferry PUGET was built as the steam-powered vessel VASHONIAN. In 1925 it was "repowered with a 320-horsepower Bolinder oil engine by the King & Winge Shipyard for the Puget Sound Navigation Company's Anacortes - Vancouver Island route." In 1931, "in a reversal of the usual trend," the ferry was repowered again, this time with "the steam engine from the WHIDBY (sic)." The change was made because the diesel had "proved unsatisfactory." By the 1930s the vessel had been moved to the Whidbey Island - Mukilteo route. She was sold in 1941, and sank in 1951. Quotes are from H. W. McCURDY MARINE HISTORY OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST , p. 367.

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.
Date 1920s c. late
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