REPORT 13-4

business in 1910 when he took over the McKinley Boat Company and renamed it the Crescent Boat Co.

A small settlement had been built at Imperial Beech but because of the lack of railroad service by the San Diego Southern on its Coronado belt line branch, the South San Diego Investment Company (C.Y. Gay, E.W. Peterson, R.B. Thomas, R.A. Smith) was organized to construct a 1.2 mile railroad from a ferry landing to Imperial Beach. Ferry or launch service began in 1910 with a ferry running from the Foot of D (Broadway) to the head of the bay. There it entered the South San Diego ship channel and went up to a narrow pier, high on spindly legs and sporting a narrow platform. A gasoline mechanical-drive car of the South San Diego Railway carried passengers from the ferry to Imperial Beach. The line was abandoned either in 1912 when the railway, reorganized as the Mexico and San Diego Railway, negotiated trackage rights on the San Diego & South Eastern (successor to the San Diego Southern) so it could transport its passengers to SD&SE's National City Junction where they could transfer to mainline trains, or it was abandoned in 1916 because of property destruction caused by the floods. In an Evening Tribune story Capt. Axel J. Larson was quoted as saying he was a pilot on one of four cruisers operating in 1915 and 1916. Larson said the channel was six to eight feet deep at low tide and 75 feet wide. The boats were 40-45 feet long and carried up to 50 passengers. They were powered by distillate engines and the nine mile trip took 45-60 minutes. Larson said Hall and Chandler were associated with the operation. He reports that one boat was carpeted and that entertainment was provided for the passengers who were mostly San Diegans interested in surf fishing and other recreational activities. MacMullen recalls riding the "McKinley Jr." to South San Diego, and he said he believes the McKinley Boat Works operated the line. Ferries made a stop at Glorietta Bay (Tent City). "Grant" and "Imperial" were said to be two of the boats.

The Crescent Boat Company (Chandler) in 1914 was a rival to the Star Boat Co. (Hall). A merger was effected in 1915 and operations were centered at the former Crescent boat house at the Foot of Broadway to remain there until World War II when S. & C. moved back to the Foot of Market Street to a new terminal. The Foot of Broadway Wharf was torn down recently although Star & Crescent's excursion boats of today do use other facilities at that point. In 1916 S. & C. offered a $1 round trip to the Coronado Islands, a twice daily harbor excursion on the "S.S. Crescent" for 50, and a daily trip to the U.S. Government and Curtiss Aviation centers on North Island. (The North Island ferry service and the Point Loma ferries were also in operation.)

In 1924 the Star & Crescent Boat Company began hauling petroleum to San Diego by barge, then by tanker and barge, and finally by large barges exclusively. Some years ago, however, S. & C. sold the oil distributorship to Tidewater Associated, and it also disposed of several of its tugs to the San Diego Transportation Company. The latter firm eventually pulled out of San Diego taking its tugs with it. Now Star & Crescent again handles all general harbor service. In the early 1960s Southern Pacific and Santa Fe joined forces to build a Los Angeles area San Diego pipeline through which San Diego now receives its petroleum products. S. & C. from 1937 to 1952 operated the tanker, "San Diegan." The company also owned the tanker, "San Jacinto."

Down through the years S. & C. has owned and operated many ferries and excursion boats, "Estrella" was one of the latter. Presently it operates the excursion boats, "Silver Gate," the 500-passenger "Marietta" built in 1957, and the "Cabrillo" built in 1963. Tugboats now in service are the "San Miguel," "Laguna," and "Golden West." ( "Challenger" was one of the best known tugs.) Oldest North Island ferries today are the large launches, "Victory I" and "Victory II." New and fast launches are the "43" and "44." Squareheads, used largely for the heavy rush hour civilian and sailor traffic, are the "Point Loma" (1943-47 tons), "Del Mar" (1944-47), "Glorietta" (1944-47), "Ramona" (1944-47) and "Monterey" (1952-76 tons). The "Juan-ita" (1942-47 tons) was sold and as the "Bahia Belle" now runs on the cocktail circuit in Mission Bay. Yes, you may ride the North Island ferry. Pay 10. Stop over on the North Island pier and return on another boat for 10 more. Service is 3-4 min. up to 20 minute headway, around the clock. (Meantime the Report staff will research, recheck and write until a more complete and accurate S. & C. story is available. In the final version readers will find a complete list of references. Will you help?)

BACK HOME EXCURSIONS GALLERY FAQ HISTORY STORIES SOUNDS LINKS