BUILT: 1927, General Engineering & Drydock Co., Alameda, CA.
PREVIOUS/LATER NAMES: a. Golden Poppy, b. Chetzemoka
OFFICIAL NUMBER: 226687 CALL SIGN: WH7379
L/B/D: 240 x 60 x 11 GROSS/NET TONS: 779/479 PASSENGERS/AUTOS: 400/50 cars
PROPULSION: 3 Ingersoll-Rand, Diesel Electric (DC) SPEED: 10 knots
NAME TRANSLATION: named for the S’Klallam chief who lived near Port Townsend
FINAL DISPOSITION: Sank under tow off the Washington Coast, 31 May 1977.
Arriving on Puget Sound on 26 May 1938 was the Golden Poppy.
One of four near sister ferries recently put out of work on San
Francisco Bay, Black Ball sent the all-wood ferry into the yard at
Reconditioned, repainted and renamed, the ferry emerged with the
name Chetzemoka. As the name was honoring a friendly Native
American chief in the Port Townsend area, it was only fitting that
Black Ball sent her to work on the Port Townsend-Edmonds run.
From 1938 until 1947 the Chetzy as her name was often shortened
to, worked the Port Townsend route until she was moved over the
Columbia Beach-Mukilteo run. She stayed on the route as the main
ferry until WSF took over ferry operations.
In 1954, the Chetzemoka lost her status as the number one vessel
on the Mukilteo route when the recently acquired Olympic was
moved to the route. The paring of the two vessels lasted seven
years until the Rhododendron was added to the route, sending the
Chetzemoka to reserve status. She then only worked on
weekends and as supplemental service during the summers.
In 1962 the Chetzemoka became the only Wood Electric Class to
work in the San Juan Islands. For the summers of 1962-64, the
vessel sailed the Anacortes-San Juan Islands route.
In the fall of 1965, she was moved back to the Mukilteo run for
extra service. From then on out she divided her time between the
Mukilteo-Clinton route and the Kingston-Edmonds route, helping
out on weekends with the traffic overflow.
Her last season came in 1973, when she worked as the "Sunday
Only" ferry on the Vashon route. On Labor Day of 1973, she
made her last run. The cost of hull caulking, keeping the dry rot at
bay and her minimal car capacity spelled her end. She was sold in
1975 for $16,000.00 to a California investor who planned to give
the Chetzemoka her old name and turn her into a shopping center
moored along the San Francisco waterfront.
Under tow to California in heavy seas in the spring of 1977, the
Chetzemoka's hull sprung a leak. The pumps were unable to keep
up, and after several hours the ferry slipped beneath the waves.
She lies there still, 9 miles off the coast near La Push, in 235 feet
|Not Quite, Sunset...
Sunset Magazine misidentifies two ferries in this caption. While it is
the Chetzemoka leaving Orcas, it appears the deck the photographer
is standing on is wooden, making it the Vashon, while the vessel
approaching at left is most assuredly a Steel Electric--likely the
Klickitat. Author's collection.
|Top. at work for the Southern Pacific-Golden Gate Ferry company, the Golden Poppy would work much
longer on Puget Sound. Author's collection.
Middle: Something is not quite right with the Chetzemoka's livery in this photo. Two of the Wood Electrics
did end up with this odd, almost KCTC colors--the Chetzemoka and sister ferry Elwha. Author's
Bottom, at work for WSF. Color by the author.