Colman Dock Addendum


Two readers of last Sunday’s “now-and-then” on Colman Dock have written to correct us (me) on this matter of California ferries losing their Golden names for Green ones when they were moved north to Puget Sound.  I wrote that I thought that the San Mateo was the only one to keep its San Francisco Bay tag.  Or perhaps I just claimed it and had no reservations.  Whatever, I fumbled.  There were others.  Not many, but others.  And The City of Sacramento, above, was one of them.

Here follows the more recent letter on this dropped pass. (I’m keeping to seasonable analogies, although I don’t give a knee injury and shortened life span for football.)  Ron Miller is it’s author, and he mentions the first name, Bob, of the first writer in his first line.   We quote.


I see on your blog that “Bob” already mentioned the City of Sacramento along with a couple other ferries from California. I didn’t know about the others, but I certainly remember the C-of-S from summer days in the 1940s on Alki Beach, where we kids would eagerly watch for it to pass because it made big waves. It served here between 1941 and 1952, when it moved on to BC and was rebuilt and renamed Kahloke. Also, there is the preposterous but also rather touching song “On the Black Ball Ferry Line up in Seattle” by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters that immortalized some of the fleet, with special mention of the C-of-S. I’ve attached the relevant part of the lyrics—it’s worth the trouble (and it was some, at least for me) to track it down on line and listen to it.”

Now we interrupt to note that Ron Miller is an Emeritus Professor of Regional Science connected to the University of Pennsylvania, and that he is now back living in West Seattle on Beach Drive S.W with a view of both the Olympics and shipping, although without, of course, any chance of seeing the City of Sacramento since 1952.   Here’s Bing and the Andrew Sisters – the relevant part.

Get aboard get aboard when the weather’s fine
Take your pick of the ferries on the Black Ball Line
There’s the Illahee and Chippewa
And the Quillayute…the Kalakala…
You’ll find all these on the Black Ball Line…
The Klahanie, the Nisqually, there’s the Malahat
(we’ll think of that!)
The Klickitat
(there goes my hat!)
The S! S! City of Sacramento!
(What are we doing down in California?)


San Mateo 1960.
This we might have used before. The San Mateo in the slip between the Grand Trunk Dock - shortly before it was torn down - and Ivar's Pier 53 in 1962. Fire Station #5 behind the ferries was by then closed, and yet painted red in time for Century 21. The coloring was part of Ivar Haglund's "The Waterfront is a Many Splendored Thing" campaign.

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