Ferry service begins between Seattle and West Seattle on December 24, 1888.

  • By Alan J. Stein
  • Posted 1/01/2000
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 1968

On December 24, 1888, the ferry City of Seattle makes its first run from Seattle to Duwamish Head at West Seattle. City of Seattle is the first regularly scheduled ferry on Puget Sound.

The ferry carried passengers, wagons, cattle, and buggies, and ran from the foot of Marion Street in downtown Seattle to the foot of Grand and Cascade avenues (later Cascade Way and Ferry Avenue) in about eight minutes. The City of Seattle, a sidewheeler steamboat 121 feet long and 33 feet wide, was built in Portland, Oregon, for $35,000. (A sidewheeler had a large paddle wheel on each side of the vessel.)

The ferry served the residential development of the West Seattle Land and Improvement Company, the future Admiral District of West Seattle. San Francisco capitalists financed the development and subsidized the ferry service that provided West Seattle-Seattle transportation.

In 1907 trolley car service started running from Seattle to West Seattle. The City of Seattle ran for 25 years, until 1913.


West Side Story ed. by Clay Eals (Seattle: West Seattle Herald, 1987), 27, 94, 97.

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