Posted by: wadahp | March 2, 2011


Water Highways

Mosquito Fleet

A ca. 1910 image of the Steamship Puget at the Colman Dock in Seattle. Source: Washington State Archives

Steamboats arrived on the Puget Sound in the 1850s and these steamers, later known collectively as the Mosquito Fleet, created an important transportation system for people, products, and mail to better meet the needs of burgeoning waterfront communities. The number of steamers in service quickly multiplied over the next few decades, as communities and industries continued to grow, particularly since the Mosquito Fleet steamers would pick up passengers and cargo from any community along the Sound that built a dock. The Mosquito Fleet dominated the waters of Puget Sound for nearly 60 years, connecting residents of rural waterfront communities with the commercial and industrial buzz of larger ports, like Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia.  However, as the automobile captured the heart of the nation, a dramatic shift occurred in marine transportation in the Puget Sound. Increased road and bridge construction provided new overland routes where none had previously existed and allowed for the establishment of centralized marine docks. Only remnants linger of the many Mosquito Fleet ferry docks, as communities and ferry boats abandoned them in favor of the automobile and the efficiency of centralized ferry landing.

Three Mosquito Fleet ferries docked, the Northern Light, the City of Shelton, and the Multnomah. Source: Washington State Archives


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: