Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image

History Center photos - Ferries
This page is devoted to historical photographs of Ferries in Oregon. This is just a sampling of the many photos in the History Center.
Historical records, correspondence and photographs dating back to the late 1800's are stored at the ODOT History Center in Room 5 of the Transportation Building in Salem, Oregon.

The documents in the History Center are public records and open to inspection, as well as being available to copy.  The History Center has space available for old records, including photographs, which are not being used in daily work.  If you have any questions about the center, contact Pat Solomon, Archivist at (503) 986-3284 or FAX (503) 986-4025.
To get back to the main History Center page, click here.

Boone's Ferry

Boone's Ferry
 Boone's Ferry, Wilsonville, 1952

Boone's Ferry
 Boone's Ferry, Wilsonville, 1952

M. R. Chessman

M.R. Chessman
The "CHESSMAN" was named after Merle R. Chessman, member of the Highway Commission from April 8, 1943 to October 1, 1946.  The Albina Engine and Machine Works, Portland, Or., built the boat, for the state of Oregon, in 1947, and went into service April 1948.  The ferry ran from Astoria to Megler until August 1966, when the Columbia River bridge opened. This ferry was sold in 1966 and sent to Vietnam to serve as a ferry on the Mekong Delta. However, when a bridge was built on the crossing, it was sent to a Vietnamese Navy repair shop. Later called the HQ9602, she was stationed at Cat Lai, about 7 miles E. of Saigon, & served about sixty river patrol craft, which ply the Rung Zat, zone channels & inland waterways farther north.

M.R. Chessman launching
 M.R. Chessman launching, 1947
M.R. Chessman interior
 J.M. Devers (left), Chief Council, Oregon State Highway Department; Mr. & Mrs. Merl Chessman & Daughter.

Tourist 2

Tourist 2 ferry
 Tourist No. 2
Service for the Tourist 2 started in 1924, and was built in a wooden hull, 110' long, 36' breadth, with a gross tonnage of 95. Powered with a 320-HP Atlas-Imperial diesel engine, the capacity was 20 cars & 155 passengers. The cost to build the ferry was $42,000. In 1941, after the Pearl Harbor attack, the Army commandeered the ferry for laying mines in the lower river. Later the Army used it as a ferry, running between Fort Canby and Fort Stevens. At war's end, the Army sold Tourist 2 back to Elfving for $36,000. Oregon took over the ferry in 1946 to be used between Astoria and Washington State.
In 1966 with the completion of the Astoria bridge, the Tourist 2 was sold to Pierce County transit in Washington State. After renaming her "Islander of Pierce County", the vessel was remodeled to raise the main cabin 3 feet to accommodate full-sized semi-trucks and used on the run between Tillicum, Anderson Island, and McNeil Island in southern Puget Sound in 1967.
In November 1995, the "Islander" was sold to Argosy Cruises, completely remodeled, and renamed  the "M.V. Kirkland." Still in use today, the passenger route is primarily around Lake Washington out of Kirkland with public tours of Lake Washington. The "Kirkland" is also used for private cruises for special events. (update furnished by Argosy Cruises)

Tourist 3

Tourist 3 ferry
Built in 1931, it had a wooden hull, was 108.6' long, 37.5' breadth, and 10.3' dept.  233 tonnage, 475 HP Washington ESTEP Diesel engine.  Capacity of 28 cars and 280 passengers.  From December thru March, it made 10 trips per day.  It cost $90,000 to build.  It was built by F.S. Elfving, Pres. & General Mgr., Astoria-North Beach Ferry Co.

Union Pacific Ferry

Union Pacific Ferry
 Union Pacific Ferry, North Beach
The motor vessel "North Beach," built in Portland, Oregon, 1927 by Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) Company
Builder: Union Pacific Railroad Company
Cost: $68,000
Registered Length : 102.5 feet
Overall Length: 120 feet
Breadth: 37.6 feet
Depth: 9.1 feet
Gross tonnage: 225
Net Tonnage: 151
Engine: 275 hp Washington-Estep diesel engine
Speed: 11 knots.
Capacity: 25 average-sized cars
The "North Beach" was operated by the UPRR Company in direct competition with Capt. F.S. Elfving between Astoria, Oregon and Megler, Washington for approximately 2 years between 1927 and 1930. Capt. Elfving, president of the Astoria-North Beach Ferry company, pioneered ferry service between Astoria, Oregon and Megler, Washington in 1921.
In 1930, UPRR sold "North Beach" to the Columbia Transportation Company. After Columbia Transportation Company went bankrupted, they sold the ferry to Capt. Elfving. During the war, the "North Beach" was operated as a freight carrier on the Columbia River, and was not used as a passenger ferry after 1930.
Between December 1945 and June 1946, negotiations between Oregon State Highway Department (OSHD), Clatsop County, City of Astoria, Pacific County, Washington and the Astoria-North Beach Ferry Company were conducted for the purchase of the assets of the Astoria-North Beach Ferry Company and for the means and method of operating the same. In May 1946, Pacific County purchased the ferry landing at Megler, Washington from Columbia Transportation Company, a subsidiary of the Astoria-North Beach Ferry Company. They in turn leased the property to the Oregon State Highway Commission (OSHC) under a long-term lease for a $1.00/year.
Under the terms of the agreement, the OSHC purchased the "North Beach" (one of three ferries purchased), the ferry landing at the foot of 14th street in Astoria, and other miscellaneous spare parts and supplies for $167,009.78. It was reconditioned and placed into service as a passenger ferry, but taken out of service in 1948.