This Month in Edmonds History: Edmonds as ferry hub, then and now

Olympic Ferry, 1935, sailing from Edmonds to Victoria B.C.

My Edmonds News is proud to present a monthly look at Edmonds history, straight from the archives of the Edmonds Historical Museum. For the month of June, we’ll revisit 1935.

With the long days of summer in sight, many Edmonds’ residents will jump aboard a ferry and head out of town. It’s the same pattern people have followed for nearly 100 years.

Ferries have been an important form of transportation in the area since the 1920s. The first cross-sound ferry service made its inaugural run in 1923, and by 1935 Edmonds had become the principal port for ferry traffic on the Puget Sound.  The Edmonds Tribune-Review promoted it as the “Hub of the Northwest.” Prior to ferries, people used passenger steamers to travel the Puget Sound by water.

On June 14, 1935, the Puget Sound Navigation Company launched its fourth ferry line with the Edmonds-Victoria route. The day marked the maiden voyage of the recently remodeled Olympic automobile ferry. H.R. Dally, Puget Sound Navigation Company’s agent for the four local routes, was called the “Busiest Man in Edmonds.”

The Olympic was a sight to see. Glistening with new paint, the vessel was installed with a large observation room that gave passengers sweeping marine views on three sides as well as an observation dining room with new linens. In addition, the ferry was fitted with two dozen modern staterooms, and a 40-car deck that was completely enclosed to better handle the unpredictable Northwest weather.

The other three ferry routes during the 1930s serviced Kingston, Port Townsend and Port Ludlow. In all, there were 21 sailings daily from Edmonds at that time. Today, the City remains the Gateway to the Olympics with ferries carrying thousands of passengers across the Sound daily.

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