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National Register of Historic Places in San Francisco

National Register #79000469: MV SANTA ROSA 25 May 2008
(Click Photo To Zoom)
National Register #79000469
MV SANTA ROSA
AKA Ferryboat SANTA ROSA
Embarcadero: Pier 3
Built 1926-1927

Between 1850 and 1939 there were 120 ferryboats in operation on San Francisco Bay at one time or another. Only fourteen can be accounted for today [in 1979, when the nomination was prepared]:

  • SANTA ROSA
  • KLAMATH
  • FRESNO
  • SAN MATEO
  • SHASTA
  • EUREKA
  • SIERRA NEVADA
  • CITY OF SACRAMENTO
  • BERKELEY
  • VAN DAMME
  • LAKE TAHOE
  • STOCKTON
  • MENDOCINO
  • REDWOOD EMPIRE

Nine are in fairly good condition. Of the nine, four were still in operation in 1979 (see update below), although no longer on San Francisco Bay: LAKE TAHOE, STOCKTON, MENDOCINO and REDWOOD EMPIRE.

These four and the FRESNO are sister ships to the SANTA ROSA, with the SANTA ROSA being the first built.

The SANTA ROSA was the first steel-hulled diesel-electric ferryboat to operate on San Francisco Bay.

The design of the SANTA ROSA and her sister ships represented an important technological advance in the evolution of San Francisco Bay's passenger and automobile ferries. Constructed in 1926-27, the SANTA ROSA was initially placed into service between San Francisco and Sausalito. It connected San Francisco with Northwestern Pacific Railroad's Sausalito terminal, which provided the major rail access into northwestern California, operating as far north as Eureka.

The SANTA ROSA's role as an important link in this major transportation system was short-lived. The Southern Pacific Company's acquisition of the rival Golden Gate Ferry Company in 1929 resulted in the consolidation of the auto ferry fleet. The SANTA ROSA then served on different routes in San Francisco Bay until 1939, when the opening of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge eliminated the need for auto ferry service.

The SANTA ROSA was sold to the Puget Sound Navigation Company for service on the Black Ball Line between Seattle and Bremerton. She arrived in Seattle in 1941, and was modified for single end operation. The SANTA ROSA was renamed the ENETAI at this time, and spent the next ten years operating under the Black Ball Line flag.

In 1951 the Puget Sound Navigation Company (Black Ball Line) was sold to Washington State Ferries. The ENETAI remained in service for the next seventeen years, much of which was in reserve status. She was finally retired in 1968.

Adapted from the NRHP Nomination Form

When MV SANTA ROSA was added to the National Register in 1979, she was berthed at the Howard Terminal in Oakland.

She was purchased by Hornblower Cruises & Events in 1989, and is now berthed in San Francisco at Pier 3. She is sometimes open to the public for dockside events, but no longer ventures out on the Bay.

May 2012 Update on LAKE TAHOE, STOCKTON, MENDOCINO and REDWOOD EMPIRE

MV TAHOE, MV STOCKTON, MV MENDOCINO, and MV REDWOOD EMPIRE were sold to the Puget Sound Navigation Company in 1940 and were rechristened MV ILLAHEE, MV KLICKITAT, MV NISQUALLY, and MV QUINAULT respectively.

They served the San Juan Islands until 2007 when they were retired. In 2009, they were towed to Ensenada, Mexico, and scrapped.

Source: San Francisco Bay Ferryboats by Joe Thompson and Wikipedia

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