King County (steam ferry)

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King County (steam ferry) under construction.jpeg
King County' under construction, March 6, 1900'
Name: King County
Owner: King County
Operator: George Bartsch
In service: 1900
Out of service: 1908
Identification: US registry #161145
Fate: Condemned as unfit for marine service
General characteristics
Type: steam ferry
Tonnage: 412 gross; 252 regist.
Length: 115.5 ft (35.20 m)
Beam: 33 ft (10.06 m)
Depth: 10 ft (3.05 m)
Installed power: steam engine
Propulsion: sidewheels

King County was a steam ferry built in 1900 which served on Lake Washington until 1908.


King County was the first true ferry to operate on Lake Washington. The ferry was built in 1900 at Madison Park The ferry was launched on March 8, 1900.[1] A mishap occurred during the vessel's launching with a number of notable figures on board, the ferry slid down the ways but rather than floating in the water, became stuck in the mud. The steamer Cyrene had to pull the new ferry free.[2]

King County was placed on the route from Madison Park to Kirkland. The county hired George Bartsch to act as the ferry's captain. When his services weren't necessary for the ferry, Bartsch ran a sideline with his own steamboat towing log rafts on the lake. It was said by some that he spent most of his time doing this, as business was too sparse to justify much operation of the ferry.[2]

Poorly built, King County lasted only eight years, and 1908, the vessel was condemned as unfit for further service.[2] The vessel is also reported to have sunk in May 1907.[1]


  1. ^ a b Kline and Bayless, Ferryboats – A Legend on Puget Sound, at pages 147-148 and 340.
  2. ^ a b c Newell and Williamson, Pacific Steamboats, at 166.


  • Kline, M.S., and Bayless, G.A., Ferryboats -- A legend on Puget Sound, Bayless Books, Seattle, WA 1983 ISBN 0-914515-00-4
  • Newell, Gordon R., ed., H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest, Superior Publishing (1966)
  • Newell, Gordon R., and Williamson, Joe D., Pacific Steamboats, Superior Publishing, Seattle WA 1958