S.S. OLYMPIC
1910
Former Name: Sioux 461 tons.  Length: 148'3" Beam: 24' 2" Draft 14' 8" , Propulsion: one  four - cylinder triple - expansion engine Horsepower: 1,400
FINAL DISPOSITION: Sold to Suriname (then Dutch Guiana.)  Beyond that, unknown.

Leaving Port Angeles for another trip to Victoria, the steam powered car ferry Olympic pulls out of the harbor. She would take the day runs directly from Port Angeles to Victoria while the
Iroquois would take the "Night Run" to Victoria from Seattle via Port Townsend and Port Angeles.  Courtesy of Tom Sanislo, color by Nevermore Images.
The ferry Coho now plies a route that has been in service for well over 100
years.  While memories of the
Kalakala, the Chinook or even the Iroquois are still
in the minds of some when the Port Angeles-Victoria route is mentioned, few
remember the
Olympic.

Puget Sound Navigation was still reeling from the worst maritime disaster on Puget
Sound. The  loss of the S.S.
Clallam took with it  54 people  when it foundered  in
a storm in the Strait of Juan de Fuca between Port Townsend and  Victoria.  Not
one woman or child aboard survived the sinking, and the loss prompted PSN to
cease building any more steamers constructed of wood.

One of the first steel steamers built after the  
Clallam disaster was the Sioux. Built
in 1910 at Seattle Construction and Drydock, the vessel ran between Seattle,
Irondale and Port Townsend at first, but was later moved to Everett, Port Angeles
and other ports around the Sound.

Like many of the other Black Ball steamers, the
Sioux was about to change her
carrying duties. She was sent into the yard to undergo conversion to carry autos.  
However, unlike many of her contemporaries the
Sioux would retain much of her
original look.  With the exception of new side and bow doors, the
Sioux, which
emerged in 1924  as the
Olympic, still retained her sharp-looking steamer lines.  
PSN placed her on the Bellingham-Victoria run first, and when that run was
discontinued the moved her over to the Port Angeles-Victoria run, where she
sailed successfully  until 1941.

For nearly two decades the lovely steamer carried passengers and cars to and
from Victoria to Port Angeles during the day as a direct route while the Iroquois
carried on as the night ferry from Seattle, Port Townsend, Port Angeles and
Victoria.

PSN sold her to the U.S. Army Transport service.  They changed her name to
Col.
Franklin R. Leisenburg
and was sent to Dutch Guiana (Suriname) for use on the
Suriname River.  As of the late 1950's, the old
Olympic ex Sioux was still in
service, steaming up and down the Suriname River.  Her whereabouts at this time
are unknown, but if you have any information about the old steamer, feel free to

email
me.

Above, the Olympic at dock.  Below, the Olympic making a landing at Port Angeles. Even
with  the modifications to her bow, the
Olympic still retained her graceful lines.

Top, author's collection, below, courtesy of Tom Sanislo, color by Nevermore Images.
A wild ride for the Sioux...
"An engine room error resulted in the Puget Sound Navigation Company's steel steamer
Sioux running wild at Everett on August 16, 1912, and seriously depleting the local mosquito
fleet.
The
Sioux, on her way from Seattle, was coming into the wharf at Everett and Capt. William
Thornton had telegraphed the engine room for half speed astern. The engines were set at half
speed ahead instead, and the steamer plowed into the dock. As she rebounded from the
impact, Capt. Thornton sent an urgent signal to the engine room for full speed astern. This
time she surged ahead at full speed, striking the Island Transportation Co. steamer
Camano
near the stern with such force that the moored steamer careened forward, striking George
Sailing's 75-foot Everett-Mukilteo launch
Island Flyer and J. H. Prather's new Everett- Holmes
Harbor launch
Alverene, sinking the former and seriously damaging the latter. The Camano,
her hull torn open, then sank alongside the dock. The 40-foot charter launch Ranger of 0. C.
Peck was less seriously damaged in the melee, as was the 70-foot Tacoma launch
Daphne,
under charter to George Sailing, but C. C. Hester's 26 -foot launch
Arrow was reduced to
kindling. The ensuing inquiry revealed that an oiler had been left in charge of the engines at
the time of the accident. Again there was no loss of life, although a deckhand on the
Camano,
William McGee, barely escaped from the lower deck aft, reaching safety as the bow of the
Sioux plowed through the exact spot where he had been standing. Gordon Newell, "Maritime
Events of 1912," H. W. McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest., p. 209.