Also referred to as Tourist No. 1
Built: 1921 Length: 60' Beam: 27' 6" Draft: 5'5". Propulsion: 90 HP Diesel Auto Capacity: 15 Passenger Capacity: 30
One of the few photos of the Tourist, taken early in her career.
Ferry service from Astoria, Oregon to Point Ellice, Washington across the Columbia River began in the summer of 1920. Capt. Fritz S. Elving using a scow,
improvised ferry service and transported over 700 vehicles during that summer.
In April 1921, Elving incorporated as the Astoria-McGowan Ferry Company. The success of the service with the scow convinced Pacific County to kick down
with a $400.00 per year subsidy and the City of Astoria to construct a ferry dock. Realizing the scow was not going to meet his needs, Elving contracted with
an Astoria shipbuilding company to build a small diesel ferry.
Christened Tourist, the ferry was launched on 21 May, 1921 and was in service mere days later. The service originally connected Astoria with Point Ellice on
the Washington side, but the landing was moved a short distance upstream to Megler, where it would remain until 1966 when ferry service shut down with the
completion of the Coulumbia River Bridge at Astoria.
Captain Elving's service was so successful that he built another ferry, aptly named the Tourist No. 2 in 1924.
By 1926, his operation across the Columbia was profitable enough that the
Union Pacific Railroad built their own ferry--the North Beach--to compete
directly with Elving. It began service in 1927, but was never able to give Elving
much competition. This was in large part to J.W. McGowan, who owned stock
in Elving's ferry company. McGown was no fool--Captain Elving's service was
booming, which meant money for him--and Union Pacific would lessen those
profits. McGowan also happened to own land that Union Pacific wanted to
build a road over to connect competing ferry dock in Megler.
By September, 1930 Union Pacific had enough, shutting down ferry operations
to Megler in September and selling the ferry to one of its employees, Capt.
Calvin E. Stewart. Union Pacific later claimed they'd lost $40,000 per year
attempting to compete with Captain Elving with the North Beach.
Captain Stewart was not as easy to give up as Union Pacific. In the spring of
1931, he incorporated as the Columbia Transportation Company. He then
devised a plan to drive Captain Elving out of business, in a move that has
become an Oregon legend.
Captain Stewart quietly began buying up underwater parcels of real estate all around the Elving ferry dock. He hired a marine pile driver and one night
used it to drive in pilings around the dock so that Captain Elvings ferry could not get through.
Captain Stewart may have thought he'd outsmarted Elving, but it did not stop him from landing his ferry. Elving backed up the ferry then plowed ahead at full
speed, smashing down the piles. Allegedly fighting broke out between the two crews on the dock until the Astoria police arrived.
The dispute between the rival companies dragged on until 1932 when Elving bought out Stewart, who by that time was having financial difficulties due to the
Depression. The two companies combined, thus creating the Astoria-North Beach Ferry Company.
The Tourist #1 was sold in the early 1940's and worked the Puget Island-Westport route until replaced by the Almar 1948. After that, the Tourist #1 was
grounded on the beach and slowly decayed, where it became the subject of the postcard above.