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Volume 1, Issue 4, July 9, 2016
Washington state's Puget Sound is home of two historic ships from the early 20th century whose job was to ferry people and supplies to and from locations on the West Coast to either islands or larger vessels in the immediate area. One ship operated for several decades out of San Francisco; the other within Puget Sound.

Cynthia Collins
Cynthia Collins  
Schooner Adventuress
The schooner Adventuress (1913) has been active throughout Puget Sound in educational and public sails, dockside tours, and sail training since 1988 when she became part of the non-profit environmental organization, Sound Experience, in Port Townsend, WA. Prior to that, her distinguished career included her maiden voyage in Arctic waters, transporting pilots to and from large vessels off the coast of San Francisco, and guarding San Francisco Bay during World War II as a member of the United States Coast Guard.

Schooner Adventuress Adventuress was originally built to sail in the Arctic in search of a bowhead whale specimen for the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Despite the expedition's failure to find a whale, the museum's naturalist on board was successful in documenting and filming colonies of fur seals. The schooner was then sold to the San Francisco Bar Pilots Association in 1914 and spent more than 30 years transporting pilots to and from large cargo ships through the Golden Gate, the strait that links San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. When World War II broke out, she served by guarding the California coastline in the San Francisco Bay area as a U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat.

Following the war, she had visible signs that wear and tear had taken their toll and she was facing an uncertain future. While visiting California, a ship chandlery owner from Seattle purchased her and brought her to that city during the winter winds of February, 1952. She had several owners before coming under the care of Monty Morton who had founded a sail-training organization, Youth Adventures. Under his guidance, she was restored to her original design while providing a learning opportunity for youth. Since then, more than 3,000 people a year sail aboard her in Puget Sound where she continues combining environmental education and history. Her schedule is available on ship's website.

Steamship Virginia V
For residents living on the islands in Puget Sound prior to the early 20th century, delivery of mail and supplies was unreliable. Two men sought to correct the situation in 1910 by forming the West Pass Transportation Company and offering ferry service with their boat named Virginia. This was replaced by a succession of larger steamships, each one named Virginia with a Roman numeral corresponding to their order: Virginia II (1912), Virginia III (1914), and Virginia IV (1920).

Steamship Virginia VThe next ship in the succession would be the last one. Virginia V was not like her predecessors. Instead of purchasing a previously owned ship and renaming her, she was built locally. Work began in 1921 in Maplewood, WA, followed by engine installation in Seattle. Her maiden voyage from Seattle's Elliott Bay down the West Pass to Tacoma took place June 11, 1922. She steadfastly kept this up until 1938, including facing near destruction during a severe storm in 1934. Even though West Pass Transportation went out of business in 1942, Virginia V served during World War II by ferrying workers to and from the Keyport Naval Torpedo Station.

For almost 50 years, she took Camp Fire Girls to Vashon Island for their summer camp. After World War II, her life in Puget Sound continued as an excursion boat. She won "The Great Steamboat Race" in 1948 which was sponsored by the newly formed Puget Sound Maritime Historic Society. She has been under the care of the Steamer Virginia V Foundation since 1980 and, in 1995, began a multi-million dollar restoration that lasted six years. Since 2002, the foundation events schedule offers a variety of public and private excursions, dockside tours, and maritime festivals throughout Puget Sound.
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Photo credits: Schooner Adventuress: courtesy of Sound Experience. Steamship Virginia V: courtesy of Virginia V Foundation.

All articles in this newsletter are by Cynthia Collins. The featured historic site section contains general information. The other articles may not be reprinted without written permission. Subscriber lists are not sold or given to any third parties and historic sites are not charged for being featured. To suggest historic sites for future issues, request article reprint permission, or any comments/questions regarding this newsletter, please contact Cynthia Collins.
Copyright © 2016 Cynthia Collins, All rights reserved.

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