Former Names: Kitsap II; City of Bellingham Official Numeber: 214056 Built:1916 Rebuilt: 1926/30 Retired: 1942.
Lengeth: 146' Beam: 43 Propulsion: a four-cylinder triple-expansion engine Horsepower: 2,200 Speed: 14 knots (as a ferryboat)
| The history of hull # 214056 is these days all but forgotten, save by Mosquito Fleet enthusiasts. The truth is hull 214056 is far more remembered today as the Mosquito Fleet steamer Kitsap II than she as the ferry Quilcene, a name all but forgotten by all but die-hard ferryboat junkies.
Starting life in 1916 as the passenger steamer Kitsap II for the Kitsap County Transportation Company, or "White Collar Line" as it was known, the steamer sailed successfully for a number of years shuttling passengers across Puget Sound. KCTC was very proud of their boat, a fast, comfortable vessel that was appreciated by all her patrons.
By the 20's though,the automobile was starting to take its place in the transportation landscape of Puget Sound. Passenger steamers were becoming obsolete. In order to survive, companies were building ferries or converting steamers. The Kitsap II was no exception.
Retaining her machinery, the Kitsap II was stripped down and rebuilt to carry cars, emerging in 1924 as the steam powered ferry City of Bellingham. Black Ball having acquired the vessel had her steam plant taken out, a diesel engine put in and expanded her accommodations, naming Quilcene after the river and tribe on the Olympic Peninsula.
With her elegant appointments and formal dining room, she was ideal for the longer routes between Bellingham and Victoria and Edmonds and Port Townsend. Later she was assigned to the longer trips out to the San Juan Islands, becoming a frequent sight in Friday Harbor.
With the addition of the larger, more economical ferries arriving from San Francisco, the Quilcene's small size was making her a liability. She simply couldn't carry enough cars. Eventually she was assigned to the Bremerton-Point White route, hauling workers across Port Orchard Bay to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.
The Quilcene last saw service on Puget Sound as a ferry around 1939. The vessel was sold to the Navy in 1942 who used her as a machine shop until 1946, when she was sold to a scrapping firm on Lake Union. The little Quilcene was finally broken up, slipping into the history books as a footnote to the life of the jaunty little steamer Kitsap II
|At left, the Kitsap II. At right, after her first rebuilding as the City of Bellingham. Author's collection.|
|At left, the Quilcene traveling at full speed. At right, her dining room. Author's collection.|
|Forward to the Ballard
Forgotten Fleet Home
|Lost to History...
At some point it seems the Quilcene was leased out to the Manitou Beach- Agate Pass Ferry Association. This schedule shows that at least for the summer of 1933 the ferry wasn't being operated by Black Ball.