The San Francicso Years: 1919-1944.

Monticello sent the Asbury Park into the Barnes and Tibbitts Shipyard in Alameda in July of 1919.  The vessel was converted to oil from coal, and one funnel
was rem,oved.  After the conversion work was completed, the ferry was moved to Montecello's yard where the staterooms were removed and replaced by an
open deck for automobiles.

Loaded through side ports, the
Asbury Park could carry sixty cars and 2,375 passengers--a remarkably  versatile vessel for the time. The ferry  began work
sailing between Vallejo and San Francisco on November 1st, 1919.

In 1925 the company decided the  name "Asbury Park"  was no longer appropriate.  Banking on the impact of publicity and tourism, they settled on
City of
On 10 October 1925 a bottle of California champagne was smashed against the hull and the ferry officially became the City of Sacramento.
Top: In San Francisco, down to one stack and still the Asbury Park.  Above: The stunning interior of
City of Sacramento. Courtesy of SFMM.  
The following year saw a number of changes made to the vessel.  
Rebuilt for end loading, the bow and stern were removed.  The main
deck was widened to 67 feet.  A new wheelhouse and bridge were
built above the original one.  This last change dropped her
passenger capacity  to 2,027, but raised her auto carrying capacity
to 100.

1927 saw the Monticello Steamship Company absorbed into the
Golden Gate Ferry Company.  Two short years later that company
was absorbed by Southern Pacific, becoming  the Southern
Pacific-Golden Gate Ferries Ltd. Company.  The
City of
 assignment didn't change, but in 1931 the big ferry
was withdrawn and replaced by the
Napa Valley, which was less
expensive to run.

For the next several years the big steamer was only used when
necessary.  Once the ferry was even used as an excursion vessel,
traveling up the Sacramento River all the way to Stockton.  By 1936,
when the San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridge opened, traffic on the
ferries dropped to near nothing.  The
City of Sacrmento, along with
fellow steamers
Shasta, San Mateo, Yosemite, Calistoga and Napa
were all offered for sale.  The Puget Sound Navigation
Company (Black Ball Line) purchased all but the
Calistoga and
Yosemite.  The sale was completed in August of 1940, but it would
be another four years before the City of
Sacramento would move to
Puget Sound.  The US Maritime commission requisitioned the ferry at
the outbreak of World War II for transport duties.  In December of
1942  the ferry began running between San Francisco and the
Permanente Metals Corporation Shipyard at Richmond.

On 18 May 1944 the ferry was finally released to Black Ball. A week
later the
Sacramento began the trip up the coast, where the ferry
met a fierce storm that  caused significant damage.  After stops for
repairs in Cresent City, California, and Astoria, Oregon, the ferry
finally arrived on Puget Sound on 15 June 1944--and promptly went
in for repairs at Todd Shipyards after encountering yet another storm
on the way from Oregon to Washington.