"The trend toward larger inland passenger steamers of steel construction
and high speed for service on the principal Puget Sound routes was
furthered in 1909 by the arrival of the handsome two-funnel propeller
steamer H. B. Kennedy, built at Portland by the Willamette Iron & Steel Co.
for the Navy Yard route of H. B. Kennedy and the Puget Sound Navigation
Co. Of 499 tons, with dimensions of 179.2 x 28.1 x 11.3, the Kennedy was
powered by a four-cylinder triple-expansion engine with with steam at 350
pounds working pressure and developing 2,000 horsepower.
Official Number: 206030 Built: 1909, Portland Oregon Former Name: H.B. Kennedy Length: 185' 3" Beam: 44.2' Draft: 11' 2"
Passenger Capacity: 1000 Auto Capacity: 47 Speed: 18 knots
Propulsion: one four-cylinder triple-expansion engine with cylinders Horsepower: 2,000
|Scrapping the Seattle...
When the ferries arrived from San Francisco, Captain
Peabody wasted no time in divesting himself of the older,
more costly to run steam ferries. Between 1938-39, more
than a dozen of the steam powered vessels were sold or
Here the Seattle paints a sad picture in 1939 as she is
broken apart. Author's collection.
Many hot disputes arose among marine observers regarding the speed of
the new steamer following her arrival early in the year, and in September
she was raced over the measured mile at the request of Moran & Co., who
were already interested in the possible construction of another express
steamer of similar speed for the Seattle-Tacoma route (these plans
eventually culminating in the famous steamer Tacoma of 1913). The test
was made off Vashon Island with President Joshua Green and Manager
Frank Burns of the Puget Sound Navigation Co., J. V. Paterson, president
and general manager of the Moran Co. ' and a number of other prominent
guests aboard. It was understood that under full power she achieved the
excellent speed of about 21 miles an hour.
Upon her arrival on the Sound the H. B. Kennedy was the victim of a
number of mechanical breakdowns, culminated late in the year by the
breaking of her shaft, which put her on the rocks, damaging her plates and
putting her machinery out of order. In December she was withdrawn from
service and delivered to the Moran yard for an extensive overhaul, after
which she resumed her service with excellent results. Capt. William E.
Mitchell commanded the steamer the first eight years of her operation,
during which she logged 408,000 miles."--Gordon Newell, "Maritime Events
of 1909," H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest., p. 159.
The ferries that sailed before the Kalakala and the other arrivals are these
days long forgotten by most. The bulk of them were converted steamers,
and most often are remembered in the early part of their careers and not
the latter. This is understandable. As passenger steamers of the famed
Mosquito Fleet, they are fondly recollected for their throaty steam whistles,
their trim lines and their often plush interiors. As converted auto ferries they
more often than not became boxy, ungainly looking vessels.
Their importance should not be forgotten though. They bridged a critical
gap in the development of modern ferry transportation on Puget Sound.
A fine example is the H.B. Kennedy, built in 1909. A fast, smart looking
steamer, she joined the "Navy Yard Route" as one of the runs premiere
vessels. She was a comfortable, posh vessel fitted out with carved wood
paneling and overstuffed seats.
For the next decade she hauled passengers to and from Bremerton, but as
mentioned the need for auto carriers arose by the 20's. Already having
been renamed Seattle, she was removed from service and taken to the yard
to be sponsoned out to carry cars. She retained her steam propulsion and
emerged as the steam ferry Seattle.
Paired with Chippewa, she remained on her familiar Seattle-Bremerton
route. By the 1930's, her steam plant was becoming costly to operate and
her small capacity made her unlikely to turn a profit. When the Kalakala
appeared in 1935, the nearly 30 year old Seattle was withdrawn from
service. The arrival of the more efficient Wood Diesels spelled her end,
and the Seattle was sold for scrap in 1939