National Register of Historic Places in San Francisco: Ferryboat Santa Rosa

National Register #79000469: Ferryboat Santa Rosa 25 May 2008
National Register #79000469
Ferryboat Santa Rosa
Embarcadero: Pier 3
Built 1926-1927

Santa Rosa was the first steel-hulled diesel-electric ferryboat to operate on San Francisco Bay. She was initially placed into service between San Francisco and Sausalito to connect San Francisco with Northwestern Pacific Railroad's Sausalito terminal, which provided the major rail access into northwestern California, operating as far north as Eureka. Santa Rosa subsequently plied different routes in San Francisco Bay until 1939, when the opening of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge eliminated the need for auto ferry service. In 1941, she was sold to the Puget Sound Navigation Company for service on the Black Ball Line between Seattle and Bremerton. Renamed Enetai, she spent the next ten years operating under the Black Ball Line flag.

In 1951 the Black Ball Line was sold to Washington State Ferries. Emetai remained in service for the seventeen years until she was retired in 1968.

Between 1850 and 1939 there were 120 ferryboats in operation on San Francisco Bay at one time or another. Only fourteen can be accounted for today [in 1979, when the nomination was prepared]: Santa Rosa, Klamath, Fresno, San Mateo, Shasta, Eureka, Sierra Nevada, City of Sacramento, Berkeley, Van Damme, Lake Tahoe, Stockton, Mendocino and Redwood Empire.

Nine of the fourteen were still in fairly good condition in 1979, and four were still operating in the Puget Sound.

Lake Tahoe, Stockton, Mendocino, and Redwood Empire were sold to the Puget Sound Navigation Company in 1940 and were rechristened Illahee, Klickitat, Nisqually and Quinault. They served the San Juan Islands until 2007 when they were retired. In 2009, they were towed to Ensenada, Mexico, and scrapped.

Adapted from the NRHP Nomination Form

When Santa Rosa was added to the National Register in 1979, she was berthed at the Howard Terminal in Oakland.

She was purchased by Hornblower Cruises & Events in 1989 and moved to Pier 3 in San Francisco. She is sometimes open to the public for dockside events, but no longer ventures out on the Bay.

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