Taking a ferry to where? | History Files

By Tim Raetzloff | Aug 26, 2019
Courtesy of: Tim Raetzloff The dining room of the ferry City of Victoria.

Ferries are a little like a bend in the road, or a top of a hill. What lies beyond? In the 30-plus years I have lived in Edmonds, the ferry has gone to Kingston, of course, and for a while to Port Townsend, and briefly to Clinton.

I rode to Port Townsend just for the ride. Seven other people did the same. We got off in Port Townsend and reboarded as soon as we could. It happened to be the weekend of the Northwest Folklife Festival in Seattle. Many of the musicians set up in the forward cabin, and we enjoyed a musical performance. It was a lovely trip.

When the Mukilteo ferry dock needed repairs, the ferry to Clinton (Columbia Beach) was rerouted to Edmonds. I rode that one, too. I took great interest in looking at the houses built on the beach or on the cliff between Edmonds and Mukilteo.

That route ran every hour or so. I was able to get off and walk up the hill to Clinton. It really doesn’t have much of a downtown compared to the other towns on Whidbey Island. I hoped to find a café or restaurant. I settled for Dairy Queen. Then I walked back down the hill and rode back to Edmonds.

I sometimes vary my Edmonds walk by walking on, riding to Kingston, and walking there. If I am hungry there a re several places to eat, though not as many as there once were.

The TV series “A Year in the Life” took place in Edmonds and Woodway about the same time I moved to Edmonds from Shoreline. In that series, the ferry could take you to Vancouver. Now that would be an interesting ride. Unfortunately that fiction hasn’t intruded into reality yet. But the possibility isn’t entirely far fetched.

Karl Elder posted a flyer on Facebook in the Seattle Vintage Group. It is of the steamer City of Victoria offering rides to Victoria from Edmonds for $2 one way or $3.50 round trip. Your car could go to for $3.50 one way or $6 round trip. The city of Victoria looks very like a Princess steamer of the era, but claims to be American owned. It also claims to be the finest, fastest American steamship on Puget Sound. There was also bus service from Seattle.

There was no date on the flyer, but Lloyd Adalist says that according to page 198 of “Ferryboats: A Legend on Puget Sound,” by Klein and Bayless, the era was 1929-1930.

Well, this was a new one on me. I had heard about ferries to places like Indianola and Port Ludlow, though I haven’t seen the documentation, and I know that there was once ferry service to many places that no longer have it.

I didn’t know that Edmonds was ever the embarkation point for international travel. We could have ridden to Victoria for a day and enjoyed crumpets and tea. There were two sailings each way each day, a difficult schedule to maintain, I would guess.

And apparently it didn’t last long. I suppose that the only person who would remember might be close to 100 years old. I

If that person is out there, I would like to know more about the time when one could sail away for a day to Victoria from Edmonds.



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