Forums & Friendship & Ferries, Oh My!!!

Mar 28, 2024 | 0 comments

Steamers Shamrock and Reliable — Passenger Ferries on Willapa Bay in the early 20th century

This is one of those Connect-the-Dots blogs.  The first item concerns the Pacific County History Forum and its final focus for the year — transportation.  (This is NOT next week’s Forum which is about Wrecks’N’Rescues.  This is a Planning-Ahead-to-May concern)

As many of you know, I give full credit (and blame) to Jim Sayce for getting me (and lots of others) into our love affair with history — with Pacific County history,  specifically.  Before he got all involved with making a living and being responsible, he often contributed to groups interested in pursuing local history.  He knows a bunch of stuff but where he really shines is in the matter of transportation — roads and bridges and where they were and why they aren’t there now and all sorts of things like that.

So, when I saw him on the front page of yesterday’s paper in his capacity as Port of Willapa Harbor Manager holding a map of bike routes  (of course!!!) in Pacific County and apparently discussing with a group of UW business students and the EDC the feasibility of having a “modest ferry servicing passengers and cyclists on Willapa Bay” and that it  looks to be “financially feasible,” I perked right up!  Wouldn’t it be grand if Jim could come and talk to the History Forum about such a project during our May gathering?

Jim Sayce, Port of Willapa Harbor Manager considers bike trails and bay ferry feasibilities.

More than one history buff has asked me about the old steamers, the Shamrock and the Reliable that served as passenger ferries and mail boats during my mother’s generation.  I never really thought of them as “ferries” but, of course, they were.  Passenger ferries!  I love to hear what lessons, if any, the students from UW’s Foster School of and the Pacific County Economic Development Council took from those earlier “ferries.”  And how can those of us who think it a great idea be helpful in making it happen?

So… here comes the Friendship part of this blog title.  If you are a friend of Jim’s (or a friend of ferries or of the History Forum) see if you can get in touch with him and ask him if he can’t figure out a way to come and talk with us on May 1st?  “When we’re gone, Sydney, who’s going to tell the stories?” he asked me fifteen years or so ago.  But, Jim!  We aren’t gone yet.  Come and share this fabulous story with us!

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