Colman Dock Addendum #5 – The Fleets

The Washington State Ferry Fleet ca. 1960.


Mistakes can be exciting.  In the original Colman Dock feature on this blog for which this is the 5th Addendum, I put it that the San Mateo was the only ferry transplanted or shipped from California that kept its Golden State Name.  The rest were traded, I explained, for Evergreen State Names.  I did not add at the time that the first ferry that Washington State Dept of Transportation built was named The Evergreen State, and you can find it above in that photographically crude montage pulled from a DOT stapled pamphlet.  Now we get a letter from Rex, who helpfully joins in on this business of ferry names.  The letter follows . . .

Dear Paul,

I loved your Sunday, 05 September 2010, Now & Then in the Times.  I think the Black Ball look at Colman Dock is way better than the modern version!  It always seems to be a struggle to get the state to just call it Colman Dock.  Now they are back to “Seattle Ferry Terminal” but at least they added “at Colman Dock.”

As far as your guess about the SAN MATEO being the only ferry that kept its name, her sister ship, the SHASTA, also ran with her original name.  The NAPA VALLEY used her original name for a while.  She had a fire and was rebuilt.  At some point she became the MALAHAT.  The CITY OF SACRAMENTO ran with her original name or sometimes was referred to simply as the SACRAMENTO.  But eventually she was completely rebuilt for the Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay (West Vancouver – Nanaimo) run and renamed KAHLOKE.  The steamers apparently were not expected to serve very long and so no effort was expended on changing their names.  SHASTA ran until 1958 and SAN MATEO until 1969.  KAHLOKE came out in about 1951 and ran a quarter century more and the MALAHAT was retired in about 1953.  So actually some of the steamers or their reincarnations lasted a long time.

Yours,   Rex

And thank you Rex.   You have also moved us to attach the few pages on steamers and ferries that appear in the book “Building Washington.”  We will attach them below.   We mean to put this entire history of Washington State public works up on this blog soon.  So the eight pages that follow are a  kind of Public Works Titillation.   They first were printed in the Waterways Chapter, the first chapter in the 400-plus page book.  This is also a kind of test.  We hope you can read it!  By all means please CLICK IT TWICE to ENLARGE IT. The book was published in 1999 (and – we toot – won one of that year’s Governor’s Writers Awards).  At the end of this excerpt we let it run on into the chapter’s description of the Port of Seattle – but we do not continue on with that.  It is just a fragment. 

& Now would be a Good Time to CLICK TWICE!

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