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Historic Souvenir Edition


Wednesday November 17, 2010

Chetzemoka arrives!

Port Townsend cheers as ferry begins service By Steve Patch of the Leader

ippy Canoe and Chetzemoka, too? No, the latter went it alone Sunday – listing to starboard as advertised – as the Washington State Ferries system and several hundred of its friends marked the inaugural Coupeville-to-Port Townsend run of its first brand-new ferry in a decade. On board the 750-passenger, 64-car vessel, nicknamed “Eileen” for its aforementioned list, were nearly as many luminaries as media reps. But not even Gov. Christine Gregoire had a better reason for being there than, say, Port Townsend’s Frances Sheldon-O’Neal, 13. “It’s fun,” said the eighth-grader, who was accompanied on the occasion by her grandpa, state Transportation Commissioner Dan O’Neal of Hoodsport. Was she daunted by the early- Gov. Christine Gregoire (fourth from left) deals her christening blow before the Chetzemoka’s inaugural voyage to Port Townsend last Sunday. Photos by Steve Patch morning wakeup call? “Oh, I normally get up around this time,” Frances said, grinning. Any special ferryboat memories? “One time with my grandma, I remember, we walked over to one side of the ferry, and there was an orca whale,” she said. She puzzled and then grinned anew. “And, well, another time, me and my cousin decided we were going to talk with English accents on the ferry. And then my aunt said that, like, we went to the bathroom and a bunch of these girls started talking in English accents after we left.”



Passengers make the most of their vantage point on Sunday as the Chetzemoka’s inauMeanwhile, inside the jamgural Port Townsend run nears its end. packed main passenger deck, Port Townsend City Council member Kris Nelson – better known to many as the owner of Sirens Pub – was “trying not to get squished,” as she put it. Her take on the Chetzemoka? “Well, you know, I grew up in Port Townsend,” said Nelson, “so my experience with ferries is from a kid. I remember when the ferry was only seasonal, because by this time of year the weather was too bad – and there was no demand. “But remember: Port Townsend also – downtown – was a very different animal. There were mostly abandoned buildings. And there wasn’t a strong downtown business Duly impressed upon completion of the ferry’s maiden voyage on Sunday is Chief ChetzeSee CHETZEMOKA, Page 3▼

moka’s great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter, 7-year-old Danta Bralley of Monroe.

Sunday’s legions await boarding at the Coupeville landing.

Rough seas, first steps and other ferry stories

Getting a tour of Port Townsendʼs new ferry

and full of energy at his peak time of the morning. He was moving around the cabin, holding onto the chairs and upright poles. All of a sudden, he Our daughter works at Todd let go of an upright pole, and a swell Pacific. On Aug. 28, Todd held an forced him forward into his first open house for their employees and walking steps. I squealed, “He’s walking! He’s their families. Our daughter Amber invited us and the rest of our family walking!” All the ferry workers broke out into applause and Nick was quite to attend and tour the Chetzmoka. The company was a very gracious pleased with himself when he finally host, letting visitors see all parts of sat down with a bump. Barbara Sterritt, the boat and stationing experts at B.S., LMP key points to explain all of the feaPort Townsend tures. We even met the CEO. They are proud of their work. The boat is impressive. It appears to be much more capable to handle the rough crossings of the Port Townsend run than the current ferry. It also appears much longer. “Captain” Oscar Lee was my The workmanship also appears top next-door neighbor when I was a lad notch. Richard Smith growing up on Jackson Street in Port Port Ludlow Townsend. Chetzemoka Park was across the street from us and our living room view was of the bay, the shipping lanes, Whidbey Island and the stunning beauty of Mt. Baker in the distant background. And always, our view included the ferry Defiance It was July 1996 early in the as she rock ‘n rolled between Port morning. We were heading up to Townsend and Whidbey Island with a family reunion in Canada and Oscar at the helm. I remember Captain Oscar as a needed to get an early start on the road. We were on the ferry, heading friendly “tough guy,” a bit gruff with to Keystone. There was a large swell us kids at times, but a gentler sort running, and you had to hang on as when it was just one-on-one. He and you walked through the passenger his wife Rose were always nice to cabin. Aside from several ferry work- us. Well, as it sometimes happens ers taking a break in the lobby, we every once in a great while, a buddy and I would find ourselves downwere the only other people there. Our son Nick was 11 months old town on Quincy Street watching the

Oscar, the Defiance and me

Son took first steps aboard the ferry

The 150-foot wooden Defiance, run by Olympic Ferries Inc., operated on the Port Townsend-Keystone route from 1952 to 1970. Here’s a photo from 1959 on the annual ride given to local school children. Leader Collection

ferry come in, unloading and refilling with cars and departing again for Whidbey. And once in a great while, Captain Oscar would be coming from Abby’s Café with a coffee or a sandwich on his way back to board the Defiance. If we looked especially pathetic and eager, he might invite us to tag along. “Come on, take a ride if you want to,” he might say, and onboard we would scamper to cross over and back once, maybe even twice. It didn’t happen often, but it was sure special when it did. We are all products of the physical environment we knew as youngsters, and if you grew up on the Olympic Peninsula in the days before “the bridge,” ferries were an integral part of your travel experience. You

took two ferries to get to “the other side.”(Seattle) You always waited in lines. You sometimes missed the boat. Occasionally, you would have to “drive around” (Hood Canal) because you missed the last boat of the night. It was frustrating, and it was wonderful. Time passed and I settled on the East Coast. After a few years as a newspaper editor, I took a job with the Maryland Department of Transportation, eventually serving as Director of Public Affairs. In 1977, we were planning the 25th anniversary to commemorate the opening of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, a magnificent suspension span that stretches four miles over the bay. A part of that planning included my doing some research on what had

happened to the last fleet of ferries that were replaced by the Bay Bridge. As I recall, a couple of the ferries were retired, but two of the newer vessels were sold in 1952 – to Washington State. They were taken from Maryland, down the East Coast, traveled through the Panama Canal and were retrofitted on the West Coast. They were renamed the Olympic and the Rhododendron and provided decades of service on Puget Sound after starting out on the Chesapeake Bay. They went west, and I came east. I’ve ridden ferries in a few other countries and in perhaps a dozen states. I’ve enjoyed the beauty of crossing from San Francisco to See STORIES, Page 4▼

B 2 • Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ferry History FIRST PEOPLES The indigenous people of North America’s Northwest Coast carve ancient red cedar trees into canoes. With a depth of at least 3 feet, a general family canoe carries 15 people and 3 tons and a freight canoe, 5 tons. FIRST CONTACT Spanish sea Capt. Juan de Fuca charts the coast in 1592. The Juan Perez Expedition in 1774 is the first recorded Indian-white contact, near the Hoh River. English Capt. George Vancouver comes ashore in 1792 on a two-year expedition.

Canoes and tall ships in Port Townsend


Port Townsend becomes a settlement, an area the S’Klallam inhabitants call Kah Tai. Col. Isaac Ebey is the first to file a claim on central Whidbey Island and his Ebey’s Landing on the island’s western shore becomes a stopping point.


Washington Territory is created. Coupeville is settled on central Whidbey.


Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader

Chief T’chits-a-ma-hun accepted early settlers By Pam McCollum Clise Contributor

is name was not the Duke of York, as he was called by many early white settlers, some of them in derision. Neither was it Chetzemoka, the name of the 1904 park that settlers later created to honor the Indian who protected their ancestors, and now the name of Washington state’s newest ferryboat. His name, instead, was T’chits-a-ma-hun, or “fine young man.” He was born to the Klallam House of Steteethlum. His father, Lackaynim, was the seventh son of Chief Steteethuson and T’suskheenakheen. Lackaynim and his wife, Quatumalow, raised their children in the area between the Elwha River, Discovery Bay and Hood Canal. The Klallam Tribe lived along the rivers and saltwater shores as well as upland in the prairies and forestlands.


Indians, built first one cabin and then others, and started filing legal claims for land. On an 1851 trip apparently sponsored by L.B. Hastings and F.W. Pettygrove, T’chitsa-ma-hun was placed on a sailing vessel and traveled to San Francisco. There, he was shown around the bursting, gold-crazy city by a young James Swan. The impression never left the chief. When he returned home, his message was that Indians should cooperate with these powerful, T’chits-a-ma-hun and his wife, Seeheimetza. The chief who was industrious newcomers.


As the white community grew, so did tensions with the Indians. In 1854, many tribes gathered near Tulalip to discuss a fighting the whites. T’chits-a-ma-hun, representing the Klallams, scolded the war-like chiefs, saying it was now too late to push out the whites. He said the Port Townsend settlers had agreed on friendly relations and had kept the bargain. PORT TOWNSEND In early 1855, he made the When the white settlers same point at the signing of began arriving in the1850s to the Point No Point Treaty. establish a town site at Port With territorial Gov. Isaac Townsend, 500 Klallams were Stevens and several tribal living in a camp along the leaders present at the late same peninsula. They called January meeting, Stevens’ it Kah Tai. secretary, George Gibbs, A man who may have been reported that several chiefs the earliest white settler, spoke in opposition to giving “Blanket Bill” Jarman, took up their ancestral homes. But on Indian ways in about 1850. T’chits-a-ma-hun countered: But those who began arriving “Before the Whites came in 1851, led by harness maker we were always poor. Alfred Plummer, were differ“Since then we have ent. They lived apart from the earned money and got blan-

Capt. Enoch Fowler of Port Townsend carries people, mail and freight aboard the schooner R.B. Potter.


Point No Point Treaty is signed.

kets and clothing. I hope the Governor will tell the Whites not to abuse the Indians as many are in the habit of doing, ordering them to go away and knocking them down.... “I am glad to acknowledge you and the Great Father as our Fathers.”


By the next day, the other chiefs had adopted his view and approved the treaty. In Article I, the tribes “hereby cede, relinquish and convey to the United States all their right, title and interest in and to the lands and country occupied by them …” excepting the Port Gamble reservation. In the winter of 1855-56, tensions were such that Port Townsend residents found

On the cover: past, present, future This Chetzemoka souvenir edition logo has several sources that deserve credit. Marian Roh and the Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader staff put it all together. The ferry photo in the oval, taken during sea trials, is courtesy Todd Pacific Shipyards. The Sea Wolf design on the canoe is by Dale Faulstich and the Chetzemoka logo is by Bud Turner. Both work at the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s House of Myths. Faulstich

Port Townsend becomes the territory’s port of entry.

friendly to Port Townsend’s white settlers died in 1888. His descendants are part of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe in Clallam County. Jefferson County Historical Society Collection

is lead designer and carver and Turner is a designer, carver and sign writer. Turner and Faulstich produce tribal art using traditional tools and computer graphics. Take a facility tour by contacting the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe at 360-6831109 or The S’Klallam tribal canoe is Lach ka nim – the son of Chetzemoka – and the design is the Sea Wolf, according to W. Ron Allen, tribal chairman/CEO, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe.

it necessary to designate a downtown log building as Fort Plummer and to create a local militia. Plummer was named its captain. In August 1857, deadly clashes between whites and northern Indians climaxed in the beheading of Whidbey Island’s Isaac Ebey. Many Port Townsend families fled the area, including the Hastings and Pettygroves. Hostile Indians gathered at what is now North Beach to discuss a possible attack on Port Townsend. T’chits-a-mahun strove to diffuse the situation and protect the settlers. In the early fall of 1857, he used Siennial Rock (which today is located at the Port Townsend Golf Course) to announce to the whites that the danger was over and that they were safe. Settlers told the story of how the chief sat silently for some time, then dramatically rose and threw off his blanket with a shout. That was the signal that there would be no attack. As the town grew, the chief was a common sight. In later years, he apparently fell under the influence of alcohol and was derided in out-of-town newspaper articles. In his final years, T’chitsa-ma-hun lived on what is now Indian Island. On June 21, 1888, his sons arrived in Port Townsend to say that the great chief had died. Frank Pettygrove, son of one of the town’s founders, launched a fund drive to ensure T’chits-a-ma-hun was given a funeral. His body was brought from the island and laid out for viewing at what was then the county courthouse (the 1874 Fowler Building, in which the Leader is now located). His burial, which included a gun salute, took place before a great crowd at

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Port Townsend becomes a city.

Capt. Thomas Coupe has exclusive right to carry passengers, freight and livestock between Whidbey Island and Port Townsend. Maria, a 20-foot sloop built by Thomas Smithfield of PT, serves the route. In 1861 Island County commissioners set fare at 50 cents per person; $1 to transport a hog.

(This article was first published in the Port Townsend 150year anniversary magazine issued by the Leader in 2001. The author thanks Elaine Grinnell for her assistance.)

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The first in a long line of small craft begins ferrying people, wagons, furniture and farm animals along Hood Canal.

The Ebey Inn (later known as the Ferry House) is built above Ebey’s Landing. It serves until the turn of the century, when ferry traffic moves to Keystone Harbor near Fort Casey.

T’chits-a-ma-hun and his wife, Seeheimetza (also known as Queen Victoria), had a son named Lackaynim, after his grandfather. In a passage from Told by the Pioneer, written in 1937, the soft-spoken Lackaynim (also called Prince of Wales) was said to be “a native ruler by birth, tradition and right, and his judgment in Indian affairs sound.” He is remembered as an excellent storyteller as well. Lackaynim also bridged the gap between the different cultures and was highly regarded by both whites and Klallams. A photograph shows Lackaynim seated before his cabin on the beach at what is now called Lower Hadlock, site of one of the last longhouses in Jefferson County. Lackaynim had one son, David, born and raised in Port Townsend before moving to Jamestown in the early 1900s. Based on his father’s moniker, “Prince of Wales,” it was David himself who first reported his name as “David Prince” as a youngster. Prince then became the family name. David was a well-known and highly respected tribal leader and dairy farmer. He married Elizabeth Hunter in 1904; they had nine children. At the time of David Prince’s death in 1960, surviving children were Lyle, Oliver, Ruby George, Mildred Judson and Betty Holden. David and Elizabeth lived to see the birth of 13 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren to carry on the family line.

Waterfront Dining

Chief Chetzemoka in Port Townsend preserves peace between settlers and tribes.



Grand opening: the Pelican Room


Daily passenger ferry service between Ebey’s Landing and Port Townsend is offered with a small sloop, and a Whitehall boat.

Laurel Grove Cemetery.


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Steamer Enterprise provides a passenger and supply route connecting Olympia and Port Townsend with Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Building community.

1867 Union Dock opens in PT.


Steamer JB Libby has a passenger and supply route between Olympia and PT.

The Olympian

Serving Port Townsend, Tri-Area & Port Ludlow 440 12th Street • Port Townsend, WA (360) 385-7869 •


Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 • B 3


Side-wheeler Olympian begins on Tacoma/Port Townsend/Victoria run.

Crowds celebrate ▼Continued from page 1

community at all. “And now it’s actually really neat, because the shops are actually filled, and they’re filled with local owners. I think we’ve done a really good job building up all of the downtown shops to be something that’s really special. And that’s what people like to come to.” That fact alone, said Nelson, puts the ferry service in a whole new light. “I really thought that the ferry run, since I remember it being just a seasonal operation, didn’t seem essential,” she said. “It seemed like the Bainbridge Island ferry and the Edmonds ferry: Those were essential ferries. And ours wasn’t really essential until that Thanksgiving.” That was three years ago, said the council member, when the Steel Electrics were pulled from the ferry fleet for safety reasons. “So there was no ferry service over Thanksgiving,” said Nelson. “And typically, for my business, that weekend is a four-day, really, really busy weekend. Typically it’s our record-sales weekend. “And when they pulled the ferries – the ferries that I thought were not that essential – we did about a quarter the amount of business that we normally do. “So over that weekend I realized how truly essential this ferry run is to the vitality of downtown Port Townsend and the people who come.” And did the Sirens owner have any funny ferry stories from her youth? “Well,” said Nelson, “I remember being really tired and 10 years old and I’m in a car on the car deck – and being woken up because the waves would come all the way up over the deck and smash down on the cars.” She shrugged, grinning. “I guess that’s not very funny, is it?”


Not far away, huddled over a hand-held video game, were 10-year-old buddies Kaleb Buchholz of Port Townsend and Joseph Blais of Chimacum. Last year, as fourth-grade classmates, they were part of a class project credited with coming up with the ferry-class name that actually wound up being formally adopted for Chetzemoka’s newgeneration ilk: the Kwa-di Tabil class. The boys’ favorite ferrygoing attractions? “Lookin’ out the window and seeing the water and stuff,” said Joseph. Spot anything memorable? “Yeah, uh-huh,” answered the 10-year-old. “I’ve seen a whale and stuff like that. And some jellyfish.” Kaleb’s highlights? “The hot cocoa and all that,” he said, brightening. “And the funnest thing is playing the video games – you know, those, like, car games. They’re pretty good. They’re only 25 cents.” Speaking of value, that of the intrinsic sort is what first caught his eye aboard the new ferry, observed Port Townsend’s Tom Thiersch, who is a member of the

Washington State Ferry Advisory Committee. “I’m really impressed with the quality of the construction of this boat,” he said, catching some fresh air on the Chetzemoka’s bow. “It looks really well made. And there’s a ton of room on this thing! It looks a lot bigger than a 64-car boat, doesn’t it?” The Chetzemoka’s utility is equally impressive, added Thiersch. “It will carry any truck,” he said. “So the mill trucks won’t have to go around – which will make a big difference for them. “I mean, even with the Steel Electrics, there were a lot of trucks that couldn’t use them because [the trucks] were too high. And with the Steilacoom II, it couldn’t handle the trucks from the mill because they were too heavy; they weighed more than 8,000 pounds. So now I think this thing can handle pretty much anything that’s street-legal.” “You have to remember, it’s called a marine highway,” put in another of Sunday’s voyagers, Port Townsend Deputy Mayor George Randels. “This is part of the state’s highway system, and it’s a key link.” “And this is very important to the other counties, not just ours,” added fellow passenger David Sullivan, a Jefferson County commissioner and member of the four-county Peninsula Regional Transportation Planning Organization. “You know, freight and tourism and personal transportation are really important to Clallam County. A lot of people get theirs from Highway 20. “So between this and the Hood Canal Bridge, we’ve really worked together as a region to try to improve the transportation corridors and keep us from being isolated.”


S’Klallam Chief Chetzemoka dies.


Washington Territory becomes a state.

Steamer SS City of Kingston

Descendants of Chief Chetzemoka wait to board the new ferry at the Port Townsend dock. In the foreground (third from the left) is Les Prince, the great-great-grandson of Chetzemoka. Second from left is his wife, Betty. Photos by Fred Obee


Already promoted as the “Key City” of Puget Sound in terms of natural harbors, these are the “City of Dreams” boom construction years (followed in 1893 by the national economic decline).

WSDOT Ferries Division Assistant Secretary David Moseley (left) answers questions with Secretary of the Washington State Department of Transportation Paula Hammond after ceremonies on board the Chetzemoka.

Harpist David Michael, who regularly played aboard the Steel Electric ferries, made a return appearance at the Port Townsend ferry dock.



The steamer Delta makes a weekly run from Seattle to stops along Hood Canal.


Hastings Co. steamboat serves Whidbey Island, PT, Irondale and Port Hadlock.


Locally produced and available in grocery, meat and seafood departments at these Port Townsend markets: Aldrich’s, Key City Fish, Wine Seller, The Food Co-op, Safeway, and QFC. Also available at QFC in Port Hadlock, Sunny Farms in Sequim, Central Market in Poulsbo, Town & Country Market in Bainbridge Island, and Country-Aire in Port Angeles.


The steamer Clallam, after clearing customs in Port Townsend, sinks Jan. 8 in storm on the way to Victoria. All women and children aboard drown, sparking a change in steamer inspection requirements. Chetzemoka Park established in PT. Steamers regularly bring U.S. Army Coast Artillery troops to Fort Worden, Fort Flagler and Fort Casey.


Enjoying a captain’s-eye view in the toasty warmth of the forward lounge as the Chetzemoka chugged smoothly along was 93-year-old Dorothy Billman of Seattle. She turned a sunny face to a fellow passenger when he asked what she thought of the experience. “Oh, I think it’s wonderful!” she exclaimed. “It’s really a pleasure to be able to participate in something like this.” She paused, a grin coming on. “I guess I can’t say I’m participating,” she allowed, gesturing at her wheelchair. “But at least I’m here!”

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Hastings Co. steamship Dauntless


The Albatross hauls people and freight on the Hoh River in west Jefferson County.


The Chippewa makes a record run from Seattle to Port Townsend, two hours and eight minutes, with the wind and tide in her favor. Coupeville is incorporated as a town.


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Keystone Sand & Gravel of Coupeville takes its name after the 1909 AlaskaYukon Pacific Exposition Seattle, where Whidbey was touted as the “Keystone of Puget Sound.” Vessels used a dock at the gravel pit, at the lake north of Keystone Avenue in today’s Admirals Cove neighborhood. The U.S. Customs Collection District office is lost to Seattle.


Portage Canal is dredged between Indian Island and peninsula, sparking demand for a ferry to serve Marrowstone and Indian islands.


In June, the Morning Leader reports on a car-carrying scow ferry:“The launch firm of Fulmer & Johnson, which proposes to operate an automobile ferry this summer between this city and Whidbey Island, yesterday completed negotiations for shipping over the first tourist machine of the season. The car, a Ford, will be landed at Casey on a favorable tide this morning.” A scow pulled by a fishing boat ferries one auto at a time between Seabeck and Quilcene, followed by Seabeck/Brinnon.

B 4 • Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Capt. Fred Jones, owner of the 58-foot Salmonero, tows a barge ferrying autos between Whidbey and Port Townsend. Elmer Johnson uses the Sachem to transport people and goods between Nordland and PT. In 1925 Jefferson County helps subsidize a scow ferry between Indian Island and Hadlock.

Salmonero, first PT/Whidbey auto ferry


The inbound 417foot SS Governor fails to yield and is struck by the outbound SS West Hartland off Point Wilson, and sinks. Eight people die. The accident at this nautical junction spurs Vessel Traffic control of Admiralty Inlet.


Puget Sound Navigation Co. steamer SS Olympic carries vehicles, people, mail and freight between Seattle and PT.


Sound Ferries builds the Quillayute auto ferry to serve a Port Ludlow/Kingston/ Edmonds route.

Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader

Stories: ▼Continued from page 1

Sausalito; I’ve been captivated by the romance of riding between Manhattan and Staten Island; I’ve laughed with delight as we raced dolphins on the crossing between Cape Hatteras and Ocracoke Island. But whenever I board a ferry, I’m taken back to the 1950s when I was a boy and Oscar would sorta wink and say, “Come on and take a ride, if you want to.” One last bit of backwards karma. About 20 years ago I brought my daughters, then teenagers, to Port Townsend for the 50th DeLeo Derby (our family reunion). On the day we arrived we were all having lunch at a waterside restaurant and we heard and felt a “boom” as a twin-mast schooner under full sail announced her arrival with a cannon salute. My daughter was the first to spot it and she asked us to confirm what she was seeing. “Am I nuts, or is that our Maryland state flag?” It was

indeed. We had coincidentally/ ironically arrived the same day as the Pride of Baltimore which was circumnavigating the world’s oceans as a goodwill ambassador. The Pride was sailing in as the ferry was sailing out and, while it wasn’t the Defiance, I imagined it was. And I imagined that Oscar was still the captain and I was onboard. Good luck, Chetzemoka. I am glad your name has been resurrected, and I look forward to being onboard in a year or two. Some things Here’s a postcard view of the Olympic in Port Townsend. The Olympic (1938) came in 1974 as the first state ferry should never change. on the PT/Keystone run, followed by the Rhododendron (1947). In 1983 the first of the Steel Electrics (1927), John Bertak Klickitat, started service here. Steven J. Pickens Collection Laurel, Maryland with the kids and enjoy sushi for dinner. On a few occasions we were so delighted that David Michael was playing the harp on the ferryboat ride. Imagine how luxurious and at peace we felt on such a We used to live on Whidbey lovely excursion. Island. We enjoyed life on the To sail through the island very much. One thing Keystone passage with porwe enjoyed most was walking poises jumping alongside the on to the ferry at Keystone to boat listening to the upliftcome to Port Townsend. ing sounds of this talented At the time, Sentosa was musician is a delight I will located on Water Street. We never forget. I have very would come stroll for the day fond memories of sailing the

Walking on made for a lovely excursion

Sport Townsend is happy to welcome Chetzemoka . . . finally! Your Outdoor Connection Open: Mon-Sat: 9-8 • Sun: 10-6 1044 WATER STREET 360-379-9711

Port Townsend & Jefferson County

The Quillayute in Port Ludlow



The Nordland launches in August to ferry vehicles between Hadlock and Indian Island, christened with a bottle of local loganberry juice. The so-called Mosquito Fleet on Puget Sound consolidates into two primary companies: Black Ball Line and Kitsap County Transportation Co. Steamers are converted into auto ferries.

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Anniversary Special


Olympic Loop Highway is completed around the peninsula.


Deception Pass Bridge in July ends Whidbey Island’s dependence on water transportation routes.

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Keystone Passage. We loved our time so much that we moved here. We have been living and thriving within the Port Townsend community for four years now. Rainie Sunshine and James Frazier Port Townsend

Visiting the Steel Electrics in Ensenada My husband had to travel across to Whidbey every day for about four months on those old ferries. One stormy day the ferry circled off Port Townsend for what seemed like a couple of hours while the captain tried to figure out how to land at the dock. There was a mechanical problem, and I drove in to town to watch it all from the waterfront. It was a blizzard, a blinding snowstorm, and the rudder or steering at one end had malfunctioned. Passengers were told to brace themselves on the deck and prepare for impact. It was a very hard landing but no one was injured. We were kind of glad to see those old ferries go away. But then in October 2009 we were in Ensenada, Mexico coming into port on a cruise ship, and we slowly crept by the old Port Townsend-Keystone boats in the morning mist awaiting the scrap yard. It brought back some fond memories of their better days. Daphne Kilburn Port Townsend

A wild ride aboard the Rhododendron I was the lucky one, to live just a ferry ride away from Coupeville. My boss had decided that our faculty meetings would be held there, at the Coupeville courthouse. All of us dreaded the meetings. They were boring, dragged on and on and seemingly, very little got accomplished. But, I was lucky. The ferry only ran every two hours in the winter, so I always had to leave the meetings early to catch the last ferry to Port Townsend. The ride home, over my favorite stretch of water, energized me and helped me recall why I had moved here. One winter day, when there was a light covering of snow on the ground, I carefully maneuvered the car on the curvy road to the ferry dock. The old ferry, the Rhododendron, sailed around the point, docked and after unloading, rested a few minutes before letting us on. Only a few people felt brave enough to face the slippery roads to the dock, so the cars were loaded toward the front. We rushed to the coffee shop for something warm to drink and to talk about our winter traveling adventure. Soon after we settled in for some pleasant conversation, the ferry started to roll from side to side. That didn’t bother us old timers; we knew the Rhododendron could face the challenge. But then, the See STORIES, Page 5▼

e m o c l e W !



Black Ball debuts the wooden, dieselelectric Chetzemoka June 17 on PT/ Edmonds run.

The Chetzemoka


The U.S. Navy acquires Indian Island.


The PT/Keystone route is abandoned in 1942 as the Harbor Defenses of Puget Sound include an anti-motor torpedo boat boom with a torpedo net across the bay between Point Hudson and Marrowstone Island. The 97-foot Beeline, a converted steamer from the PT/Keystone route is acquired by the Navy to operate between Indian Island and Hadlock. It also serves as a net gate boat.

*Good Friday, Saturday & Sunday Nov. 19-21.

Northwest Cuisine at its finest.

United Good Neighbors of Jefferson County!

Serving as a safety net for Jefferson County citizens needing emergency and social servicesfor 53 years. Donate by calling (360)385-3797 or visit our website A member of United Ways of Washington YOUR ONE GIFT SERVES SO MANY!

Serving Port Townsend & Jefferson County since 1889.

The Nordland offloads at Hadlock.


The Army airfield from 1931 becomes Jefferson County International Airport.


Olympic Ferries, Inc. (Port Townsend’s H.J. Carroll, Captain Oscar Lee and A.C. Grady) restores PT/Whidbey ferry service using the Fox Island.

k Saran

Photo by Mar

Welcome, Chetz emoka Many Happy La ndings! Pentium Professi onal Building 1136 Water Stre et

Daily news, connections for Port Townsend & Jefferson County

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Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 • B 5


▼Continued from page 4

currents changed, and the boat began to roll from end to end. We could hear the cars bouncing up and down on the deck below. The ferry creaked and pounded, and the horizon which had been gently moving up and down, was now hidden from view as the waves crashed over the bow of the boat. The room was quiet as the passengers held onto their seats and their coffee cups. A few people started to get seasick. It was getting dark outside and everyone was furtively looking around for where the life jackets were stored. Then we heard the whistle and saw the lighted dock at Port Townsend. The ferry rubbed past the pilings and slipped right into its berth, preparing to unload. We gathered our belongings and with a look of relief on our faces, walked down the steps to our cars. Sally Robbins Port Townsend

The Fox Island at Keystone


Keystone Harbor is dredged about 1.5 miles east of original ferry landing at the old Keystone Sand and Gravel site.


The Port Ludlow stop on the Ludlow/ Kingston/Edmonds route is dropped with a new Hood Canal ferry between South Point in Jefferson County to Lofall in Kitsap .

The end of the rainbow for the Steel Electrics (1928-2007) came a few months after this photo was taken in 2007. Photo by Steve Mullensky

Elva never learned to drive. The one advantage to this is that all the aunts seemed oblivious to any traffic problems encountered, and that included ferry rides. She just viewed it as an adventure. My visit in Bellingham was tense, though, because I knew I had to cross that same body of water to get home. For my entire adult life, I have had dreams that took place either on a ferry dock, on a ferryboat, or on roads trying to get to a ferry. Since I’ve always lived on the Olympic Peninsula, it isn’t hard to figure out why these Many years ago, my Aunt dreamscapes show up repeatElva Arey wanted to go visit edly. I hate catching ferries. her sister, Velna Walker, in Wondering whether you’ll Bellingham, so I offered to catch the one you want or that drive. I hadn’t driven onto a there will be room for you once ferry before but I’d certainyou’re there makes me cranky! ly been a passenger enough I think I like them more when times to know it couldn’t be all I’m a passenger. I just wish that hard. they didn’t cost so much. I maneuvered just fine and Joyce Blankenship was delighted when we got Port Angeles in the front with a terrific view. It was windy that day and about 15 minutes into our trip, we were rocking back and forth with a vengeance. I started looking around for the life preservers because I was sure we were going to be the headline in the Leader that When I first saw the week. petite Steilacoom II steam“Good Lord!” I yelled. “Is it ing toward the ferry dock, I always like this?” thought it looked like a child’s “Oh yes,” Elva replied. bathtub toy. Now, many, many “The Port Townsend boat has months later, that plucky little always been a rocky ride.” ferry reminds me of one of my “Well they need a bigger childhood heroes, “The Little boat! This is ridiculous!” Engine That Could,” from the Like two of my other aunts, book of the same name writ-

Lots of ferry trips in my dreams

Plucky ferry a reminder of childhood story

ten by Watty Piper and published in 1930. That little engine was a train that selflessly carried the children’s toys over the mountain. It was an impossibly steep climb but the engine told himself, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can,” all the way up and made it to the top. On the way down to the waiting children he said “I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could.” There were no mountains to climb for Steilacoom II but high winds, rough seas, strong currents and dense fog often threatened a successful voyage. Against those odds the valiant boat tried its best to deliver the load of passengers. That is why my name for the Steilacoom II is The Little Ferry That Could! Diana Daniel Port Townsend

As I stepped closer to the source of the music, I was delighted to learn that David Michael performed it live. To be on a ferryboat in the Puget Sound on our way to and from such scenic places as Port Townsend and Coupeville was special, but then add beautiful, professional-quality live Celtic harp to this scenario and the experience becomes magical. I remember thinking that the people responsible for granting permission and therefore making this experience possible deserved a lot of credit and a big thank you. It was fun to see people of all ages, especially the children, gather around the artist to watch and listen. Surely, the Washington State Ferries will bring back the live Celtic harp music when the new ferries are in service between Port Townsend and Whidbey Island, won’t they? For all the vacationers who come from far and wide, and for those of us young and old We moved to Coupeville in who live in the local area, 2005 and soon thereafter took this music is a joyful shared our first Port Townsend ferry experience. trip. I will never forget the Karen Ramey first time we heard the lovely Coupeville Celtic harp music on the Port Townsend ferry. I assumed the music had been recorded and piped in. I remember saying, “What an inspired idea on the part of the Washington state ferry service. How thoughtSailing back to Whidbey ful of them to include this on a cold but bright and dreamy music on a ferryboat. sunny day, I settled into a Brilliant!” warm window seat and was

Surely, new ferry will have harp music

Becoming aware of a friendly voice

listening to some soft harp music by David Michael. Time passed by, and I was aware of a voice asking, “Are you getting off at Keystone?” Well, that seemed pretty silly. Everybody has to get off at Keystone. Then again, “Are you getting off at Keystone?” But this time someone was gently shaking me awake. It was David, letting me know the boat was docking, and I was home. Bill Bradkin Coupeville

The ferryʼs crew was profusely thanked This is a ferry story that is hard to believe. From 1962 to 1965, I lived on Indian Island and would travel to Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island to shop at the commissary at the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. Sometimes I would be the only vehicle on the tiny ferryboat. One day, I was late getting back to the ferry for its last trip, and as I was pulling up the ferry was taking off. As I sat there ready to cry, the ferry actually backed up for me. I happily went aboard and profusely thanked them. Those were the good old days! Louise Byrd Frombach Port Townsend


Washington begins state ferry service, taking over the American facilities and all but one route from Black Ball Lines. The ferries are needed until a network of bridges can be built across Puget Sound.

The Defiance


The Defiance debuts here with Olympic Ferries on a MayOctober season. Portage Canal Bridge opens, connecting the peninsula to Indian and Marrowstone islands.


The state operates the Kalakala on the Port Angeles/ Victoria route during summer months of 1955-59. Black Ball puts the new Coho on the route in 1960 (where it remains).


State rejects idea of cross-sound bridges, favoring ferries. The sate’s ferry system goes on to become the nation’s largest.

Welcome M/V Chetzemoka! Special thanks to...

• Washington State Ferries and the State Legislature for this new boat • Pierce County for the loan of the Steilacoom II • The S’Klallam/Klallam tribes for their heritage and ancestor – the boat’s namesake • Jefferson County Historical Society for suggesting the name of Chetzemoka • Blue Heron Middle School’s 2009/2010 4th grade students for naming the class of boats • The citizens on both sides of Admiralty Inlet for their patience and good will during these challenging times

THANK YOU!! from ...

City of Port Townsend • Jefferson County • Port of Port Townsend

B 6 • Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader

Scenes for the 1982 motion picture “Snow Falling on Cedars” are filmed in April at Quincy Street Dock with the vintage ferry Steilacoom.


State builds new terminal at Keystone Harbor, about 150 feet west of former terminal. In 2010, it’s still in use.

Hollywood stars and crews film scenes for “The Ring” aboard Quinault, and at the PT terminal.



A freighter slices into the Nisqually while on the Kingston/Edmonds run, in thick fog. No one is hurt, but it remains worst accident in state ferry history.


Port of Port Townsend enlarges the Port Townsend Boat Haven. 1969 Olympic Ferries buys San Diego (1931) and in 1970 it replaces Defiance o n the PT/ Whidbey route.

The Klickitat in Port Townsend



State’s new ferry terminal in Port Townsend opens in June.


In August, Quinault goes aground in Keystone Harbor due to fog. The Keystone terminal averages 100 canceled sailings per year due to tides and weather.

The Klickitat is the first of the Steel Electrics to be substantially rebuilt and moves to the PT/Keystone run, its primary route until pulled from service in 2007.


Black Ball sells its freight service, and the majestic ferry Coho makes her last stop at Port Townsend’s Union Wharf.


Tolls are taken off the Hood Canal Bridge.

The state debuts the Wave2Go electronic ferry ticket system on the PT/ Keystone route.


Port Townsend City Council’s top goals for 1989 include solving the ferry traffic problem.

Locals protest the state’s plans to enlarge terminals and off-site parking at Keystone and PT to handle larger ferries, so the route can have one 130-car boat instead of two smaller ferries.

The Coho at Union Dock


State takes over PT/Keystone route from Olympic Ferries. The Olympic (1938) is the first state ferry here, followed by the Rhododendron (1947).


Washington State Department of Transportation forms out of the Toll Bridge Authority and Highway Commission. Chetzemoka sinks about nine miles off the Olympic Peninsula coast near La Push after the hull sprung a leak while under tow to California.

Passenger ferry Snohomish is diverted on Dec. 13 to a special “shopping ferry” run between Port Townsend and Seattle. The Seattle route proves immensely popular, but ends in January. On the Keystone route, the ferry is replaced with the 49-seat Olympas and 65-seat Glacier Spirit (both from Puget Sound Express) using the state Department of Natural Resources fishing dock at Keystone Harbor.

In October, galley service on ferries is halted due to contract issues, and it is never fully restored on the PT/Keystone run.

The last railroad train travels from Port Angeles to Port Townsend.

The Klickitat in Port Townsend


Victoria Express starts passenger service between Port Angeles and Victoria. Puget Sound Express (the Hanke family) tries passenger service from PT to Seattle via Kingston, in addition to its Port Townsend/Friday Harbor route.

At a meeting Nov. 26 in Seattle, ferry officials tell legislators that replacing the Steel Electrics could take eight years. Gov. Chris Gregoire on Dec. 13 declares that the Steel Electrics, after 80 years of service and several rebuilds, will never work again. These are the state’s only auto ferries that can fit into Keystone Harbor and meet Coast Guard safety requirements on Admiralty Inlet.

State starts a feasibility study to relocate Keystone Terminal outside Keystone Harbor so WSF can replace the Steel Electrics with 130car ferries.

1984 The San Diego at Keystone

The catamaran-style, high-speed passenger ferry Snohomish, which the state had been trying to sell on eBay, begins Nov. 25 on the PT/Keystone route.

The Rhododendron at Keystone

Storm on Feb. 13, 1979 sinks west half of Hood Canal Bridge. State runs a barge ferry across Hood Canal from South Point to Lofall. Also, a car ferry operates on a PT/ Edmonds route. The bridge reopens Oct. 16, 1982.

Home, a ferry operating in Massachusetts.

Due to hull integrity concerns on Nov. 20 the state pulls all four Steel Electric ferries from service. The last boat used in PT is the Klickitat.


South Point/Lofall ferry, 1960

The 1.5-mile Hood Canal Bridge opens in August, the world’s longest floating bridge over salt water. It dramatically changes access to and from the Olympic Peninsula.

Homeland Security rules, buskers are no longer allowed to perform on board.


Snohomish returns to the PT/Keystone run on Jan. 10. On Feb. 1, a portion of the Snohomish passenger cabin collapses when the boat hits a wave. A wave blows out a cabin door on Feb. 7.

In November, state Rep. Lynn Kessler and Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen get the state to back off from a “one ferry size fits all” mentality, and keep smaller boats on the PT/Keystone route.

The Snohomish replaces Klickitat The Steilacoom II



Falcon Marine Inc. closes and the owner leaves the country with a 132-foot aluminum ferry intended for an Alaska cruise line half-finished. The ferry is eventually cut up for scrap.

Hull integrity issues are found and fixed on the Klickitat. But after a stern tube crack is found on the Illahee, the Coast Guard orders that all Steel Electrics be inspected. Rusting stern tubes are rebuilt on the Quinault and Illahee. The WSDOT decides in August that due to

Leased from Pierce County for $1,800 a day for 14 months, the 50-car Steilacoom II begins service Feb. 9. The smaller ferry means semi-trucks of more than 80,000 pounds can no longer use this section of Hwy. 20.

In May, a vehicle and motorcycle reservation system for the PT/Keystone debuts. The state awards a bid to Todd Pacific Shipyards for the first of a new type of ferry built specifically to serve the tide-challenged route here.

Victoria Express on Hood Canal

2009 The PT/Keystone route is without a vehicle ferry for 38 days while the Steilacoom II is out for Coast Guard inspection, but the leased 77-seat passenger ferry Mystic Sea (1967) does not miss a run due to mechanical issues. Due to state financial constraints, runs will not be added to the PT-Keystone route this summer. The Hood Canal Bridge is out of service from May 1 until June 3 for east-half replacement and other improvements. Victoria Express passenger ferries run between rebuilt docks at South Point and Lofall, linked by transit buses to park and ride lots. Also, the state operates a “truck ferry” from Port Townsend to Edmonds for one round trip, five days a week. In August, the four Steel Electrics are finally towed from Bainbridge Island to Ensenada, Mexico to be scrapped. The state decision on Oct. 20 to name the first 64-car ferry Chetzemoka follows the successful drive led by the Jefferson County Historical Society.


Students are asked to name the new class of 64-car ferries and the state picks the suggestion of Port Townsend fourth-grader Rose Dunlap. The name is Kwa-di Tabil (pronounced kwah DEE tah-bale), which means “little boat” in the Quileute language. March 2 at Todd Pacific Shipyards in Seattle is Chetzemoka’s first time in water. The Washington Transportation Commission in July names the second of the three ferries to be the Salish, said to join Chetzemoka on the PT/ Keystone route by summer 2011. The third boat is named Kennewick, due in winter 2012. Sea trials for Chetzemoka start July 20 but on July 29, the state notes an unexpected driveline vibration. Vehicle reservations (free, non-binding) are full for all Steilacoom II sailings for more than two consecutive weeks in August – a record. State in September officially changes “Keystone” to “Coupeville” in terms of ferry routes. Chetzemoka makes a oneday appearance in Port Townsend and Keystone on Sept. 25. Washington State Ferries faces further expense cuts due to the ongoing state budget crisis, announcing Nov. 4 the option of reducing the number of ferries, which could mean putting the new Salish on the San Juan Islands route. After a celebration Nov. 14, the 64-car, 750-passenger Chetzemoka goes into revenue service on Nov. 15.

The Washington State Board on Geographic Names approves “Salish Sea” as the collective name for the body of water that includes Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Georgia Strait.

Gov. Gregoire says the state will build ferries of a 64-car design based on the Island

The Chetzemoka

Patrick J. Sullivan at the Leader developed this timeline from a variety of sources.

The Steilacoom II and Chetzemoka

Photo credits: Jefferson County Historical Society, Steven J. Pickens Collection, Leader Collection, Black Ball Ferry, Steve Mullensky, Ron Novak.

We raise our hands in thanks and appreciation of all who worked to bring

to fruition the idea of honoring our ancestor, Chief Chetzemoka, by naming the new Port Townsend/Coupeville Kwa-di Tabil ferry for him, including: • • • • • • •

Jefferson County Historical Society Port Townsend City Council

Jefferson County Commissioners Ferry Advisory Committee

State 24th District Rep. Lynn Kessler

Port Townsend Main Street Program

Washington State Transportation Commission

We are honored that a ferry bearing his name will once again ply the waters of Puget Sound!

Háʔnəŋ cən (Thank you), ~ Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Council, Tribal citizens and staff

The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe takes great pride in serving the Clallam and Jefferson County communities through these business ventures: • 7 Cedars Casino • Cedars at Dungeness Golf Course • Jamestown Construction Division • Jamestown Excavating • Jamestown Family Dental Clinic • Jamestown Family Health Clinic • Jamestown Fireworks • Jamestown Health and Medical Supply • Longhouse Market and Deli • Northwest Native Expressions Gallery

Welcome Pole, by Dale FaulsƟch, located at the Jamestown Family Health Clinic, 808 North FiŌh Avenue. Sequim

Chetzemoka Historic Souvenir Edition  
Chetzemoka Historic Souvenir Edition  

A special section, published by the Port Townsend Leader, commenmorating the arrival of the Chetzemoka ferry and reflecting on the history o...