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 Mateo 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
.  
       The
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 f
ound the Shasta working as the spare boat on the
Bremerton run.
       After the State took over ferry operations, t
he ferry again
saw limited service, working alongside her sister
San Mateo on
the Vashon run between 1952-54. T
he Shasta went into lay-up
from September of 1954 until  May of 1957.  In 1957 t
he ferry  
was called into service for the summer season, working the
Kingston route with the
Nisqually.
       
Unfortunately for the Shasta,it had a rather bad habit of  
b
elching 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
Shasta
was no longer needed.
        T
he Shasta sold and briefly worked for a time running up
and down the Columbia River as the
Centennial Queen,
c
elebrating 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.  T
he ferry  changed owners  was converted into a
restaurant.  
        
       As the
e River Queen, the old Shasta was  moored  along
the banks of the river in downtown Portland
for decades, a
highly successful venue
.
         L
osing 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 o
ld San Francisco steamer yet.

S.S. SHASTA
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.