S.S. Shasta: Ghost of the Portland RiverfrontS.S.
Shasta: Ghost of the Portland Riverfront

The Bethlehem Steel Company shipyard was in the middle of
building the steam-powered ferries
Shasta, Yosemite and San
for the Six Minute Ferry Company in 1922 when the ferry
line abruptly went bankrupt.  Southern Pacific Railway purchased
the ferries and put them to work for their well-established ferry
service across San Francisco Bay. The ferries worked until 1939
when the bridges killed the business.

The sisters
Shasta and San Mateo were purchased by PSN in
1941 and b rought to Puget Sound. The
Yosemite had been
purchased by a South American company and taken to
Argentina, where after a some years in service it was wrecked,
turned into a barge for a time and finally scrapped.  

Shasta went to work on various routes on the Sound. 1945
had her on the Seattle-Manchester route.  Starting in 1946 and
through 1947 the steamer was put to work on the
Winslow-Seattle run alongside the
Kehloken.  The summer of
1950 found the
Shasta working as the spare boat on the
Bremerton run.

After the State took over ferry operations, the ferry again saw
limited service, working alongside her sister
San Mateo on the
Vashon run between 1952-54. The
Shasta went into lay-up from
September of 1954 until  May of 1957.  In 1957 the ferry  was
called into service for the summer season, working the Kingston
route with the

Unfortunately for the Shasta,it had a rather bad habit of  
belching out a black cloud of oil smoke from her 47-foot high
smokestack.  Even in 1958 this wasn't environmentally
acceptable, and the ferry was retired after the 1958 summer
season.  With the new
Klahowya  and Tillikum in service, the
was no longer needed.

Shasta sold and briefly worked for a time running up and
down the Columbia River as the
Centennial Queen, celebrating
the State of Oregon's 100th year as a statehood, still leaving
behind that characteristic cloud of oil smoke.  Before long
though, her new owner couldn't make any money and sold her.  
The ferry  changed owners  was converted into a

As the
 River Queen, the old Shasta was  moored  along the
banks of the river in downtown Portland for decades, a highly
successful venue.

Losing her moorage, the
River Queen restaurant closed in
1995.  On the register for historical vessels/landmarks, the
Shasta was moved to St. Helens Oregon.  At last report she  was
for sale  and looking for someone to redevelop her.

Moored today in Goble  Oregon, the ferry appears to be waiting
for someone to rescue her still,as there has been no effort to
save the old San Francisco steamer yet.

Official Number: 222598  Radio call letters: WH6754 Built: San Francisco, CA, 1922.  Length: 216' 7" Beam: 63' 8"  Draft: 12'  Auto Deck Clearance: 11' 5"   Speed: 13 knots  
Horsepower: 1200   Propulsion: Steam  Autos: 55  Passengers: 468 Gross Tonnage: 919
Name Translation: Shasta is taken from the mountain of the  same name in northern California.
FINAL DISPOSITION: Limbo.  Still moored on the Columbia, with nothing being done to her.
The Shasta departs Kingston in the 1950's, leaving her trademark trail of black smoke.  Williamson photo, courtesy of MOHAI. Color by Nevermore Images
At top, the River Queen Restaurant in Portland, 1971.  She was a familiar sight for thousands crossing
the river into town.  Middle, the empty, abandoned dining room, showing the stained glass clearstory
windows.  Above, as the
Shasta looked in 2009.   Author's collection.