[Ed. note: I've changed the date from 1912 to 1917 based on further research, as described in the comment section.]
I can't believe I haven't posted this one before as it's one of my favorites. The ferry "Panama" is at its Hood River landing. I think the landing was near where the current interstate bridge toll booth is today. A note on the back indicates it was taken in May 1917. The plate on the automobile looks like it has a 1912 expiration date, but it must be 1918 with some carefully placed dirt. Washington didn't issue number plates like this until 1916.
I suspect the ferry's name was a nod to the Panama Canal, which was opened for business in 1914. Its construction was of major interest to west coast residents. Hood River city council wrote a letter of support for the canal project at the request of San Francisco. The canal would reduce the cost of goods along the coast, and open new export markets for local products and produce.
And thanks to additional research by HHR readers, we now know the ferry Panama was gasoline powered, and charged $2 for a car and driver plus $0.25 for each additional passenger.
Category: [Downtown Hood River]
Nice pic, Arthur, notice the anchor at each end, "just in case", and the double bit for that real "oh sh__" moment! Appears the hull was designed so spindly, it needed the bridge like structure to give it longitudinal strength. Do you know how it was powered? Doesn't appear to be a smokestack visible.
spinsur on 9th October 2013 @ 7:13am
The hill in the back ground looks right for a picture taken from ferry landing below White Salmon looking south across the Columbia at the mountains east of Hood River.
Wonder what the toll was to take the ferry? Probably more then than the bridge toll is today.
longshot on 9th October 2013 @ 8:07am
That was my thought Longshot, we're looking at the area just east of the HR Inn, and from the SDS mill area possibly, by Google Maps. There is a Warner Landing on the 1936 Bonneville Corps map in the area, but I imagine would have been all but abandoned as the bridge would have been in then.
spinsur on 9th October 2013 @ 8:59am
When I was young, I spent a lot of time on a similar boat only smaller. We called it a scow. It was good for ferrying equipment and livestock and landing along sandy shores. You could run it up on the bank and drop the ramp for loading and unloading.
You would winch the ramp up by hand. When it was all the way up, you locked the cogs on the winch and then removed the handle. Otherwise, when you released the cogs to drop the ramp, the handle would spin around as the ramp dropped and break your arm.
I saw that happen to a guy, so it left an impression.
The scow was built in the 1920's and had two diesel engines down below. You went down a hole behind the pilot house into a very small stinky, wet, cubicle to work on the engine.
During spring flood stage a lot of logs would float down the river and you would try and push them away from the props at the back of the boat.
When you were ready to leave, you would winch up the ramp and then put the engines in reverse. They would rumble and roar and the water would churn and boil as the scow tried to back out into the water.
l.e. on 9th October 2013 @ 9:15am
Don't know what the power source was, but there is a nice paddle wheel at the stern for propulsion. Given the shoaling at both shores it was probably a good choice.
Arthur on 9th October 2013 @ 9:21am
Oh wow, there is, I passed that off as some kind of cargo back there.
spinsur on 9th October 2013 @ 9:39am
Spinsur, you may be right about the structure being used for longitudinal strength, but I don't understand building a power scow so spindly that it would need one. Have spent considerable time on the water moving equipment and freight and have never seen anything like that before. Unless maybe the paddle wheel hanging off the back requires it. I know nothing about paddle wheels. And it appears there is a difference of opinion as to which side of the river it is beached on.
Buzz on 9th October 2013 @ 9:50am
I suspect the paddle at the stern and the ramp at the bow necessitate the superstructure. I'll ask a marine engineer this evening. Waiting for the clouds to clear so I can figure out which side of the river we're on.
Arthur on 9th October 2013 @ 10:01am
I'm voting that we are on the HR side, but then, I can't even tell which way the wind is blowing most of the time.
If you loaded loose animals, cows, horses, sheep etc. the frame work would give extra stability.
l.e. on 9th October 2013 @ 10:08am
You are on the south side Arthur. Tee Hee. Sorry.
Buzz on 9th October 2013 @ 10:14am
Could be we're all right for different reasons! Perhaps originally built for sail or cable tow, engine and paddle added later, which necessitated the reinforcement? It does have a rather added-on look.
spinsur on 9th October 2013 @ 10:15am
Wooden boats tended change shape or "hog" over time. The rigging of a ship actually forms a truss like structure which lessens the hogging. The truss and guy wire structure on the scow ferry would do the same thing, pressing down in the middle of the craft to keep it from hogging up.
My guess is the ferry has a small internal combustion engine. You can see what appears to be a small stack sticking up behind the pilot house.
longshot on 9th October 2013 @ 10:59am
I kinda thought the "small stack" was too small for exhaust, that it must be a whistle. But considering the power options of the day, you're probably right.
spinsur on 9th October 2013 @ 11:47am
I took another look at the scans. This is a postcard, and the back has a bunch of random notes in different handwriting, including "Deitz" and the date "May 16, 1917." I think I am wrong with the license plate dating. The plate says "Wn35040" horizontally with what appears to be "x12" vertically to the right, but WA didn't make plates like this until 1916. It must be "x18" with dirt obscuring part of it. "x" mean passenger car and "18" is the expiration (March 1918). This link: http://staff.washington.edu/islade/run2.htm shows a very similar plate with X18 on it, and the number is in the right range for 1918 expiration.
Arthur on 9th October 2013 @ 12:03pm
For lack of any better ideas, I was guessing that the power plant might be something akin to the Model T engine. With only 20 hp the pipe wouldn't need to be very large. The pipe could also be a whistle as you suggest. Maybe there are other pictures of the ferry out there somewhere showing the stern area.
longshot on 9th October 2013 @ 12:05pm
Found this while searching for info on the Hood River-White Salmon ferry. Tells of the origin of the Pucker Huddle ferry grade.
longshot on 9th October 2013 @ 12:11pm
From the Oregonian: http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83045782/1916-06-11/ed-1/seq-52/ocr.txt
When you take that trip to tne threshold -of Mount Adams, pass straight through Hood River and go across the little bridge that leads on to The Dalles and points east. Just as your wheels leave this first bridge, however, turn directly to the left and follow the signs to the White Salmon ferry. In case the good ship Panama is not waitinsr vou will have the prlvleere of hoisting a white flag, according to directions, and the gasoline-propelled scow will scoot across from the White Salmon landing on the Washington shore of the Columbia River.
Ferry Rates Held HiKh. Once the ferry is at hand the trip across the river requires only .about 15 minutes' time. It costs $2 in American coin to have an automobile and its driver hauled across on this ferry, and "two-bit" piece for every additional passenger. A rate of Jo is oirerea tnis year for three round trips during the season, and this tariff includes free travel for four passengers. This charge is excessive enough to scare away much travel that would otherwise go to White Salmon and the Mount Adams country.
longshot on 9th October 2013 @ 4:09pm
I found another picture of the Panama at the same landing, but with the camera turned about 45 degrees to the right so you can see both shores. Stanley Rock is to the right. This confirms the photo location as very close to the current toll both at the bridge.
Arthur on 9th October 2013 @ 5:26pm
Good find longshot. It has the name of the good ship, what type of engine and the fare.
l.e. on 9th October 2013 @ 6:48pm
The maiden trip of a new Underwood ferry boat was made on March 18, 1914. An earlier article described the new ferry.
Jeffrey W Bryant on 10th February 2020 @ 4:20am