San Francisco has, of course, had a long maritime history. For much of the 19th century, shipping was the primary way to move good in and out of San Francisco, and not a few visitors and new residents of the city and the region came by ship as well. At the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, the National Park Service preserves a number of historic vessels at the Hyde Street Pier.  While visiting San Francisco in November, I enjoyed my time at the park.  Photography from the ships and elsewhere in San Francisco Bay can be found in my Maritime San Francisco gallery.

Balclutha, San Francisco Balclutha, San Francisco


One of the ships docked at the pier is the Balclutha, which was built in Scotland in 1886 for the Europe-San Francisco grain trade. The three mast, steel-hulled ship sailed around the Cape Horn 17 times while engaged in this trade. She carried a variety of other cargoes, served the Pacific lumber trade and the Alaskan fishing industry, and eventually a became a movie boat. (It was used in the Mutiny on the Bounty which, the Maritime Park’s website notes, had Clark Gable and Charles Laughton in “supporting roles”.) The National Park Service has more on the Balclutha and its history.

Another shipped moored at the Historic Park is the Eureka. It was built in 1890 to ferry railway boxcars across San Francisco Bay between Sausalito and San Francisco. After World War I, it received significant repairs and the structure above the waterline was replaced to it’s current form. Now named the Eureka, it was now a passanger and automobile ferry. The completion of the Golden Gate and Bay bridges in the 1930s made the ferry boats largely obsolete, and she ceased operations entirely in 1957. More on the Eureka and her history can, again, be found at the park’s website.

Eureka, San Francisco

Eureka, San Francisco


Gallery: Maritime San Francisco