Ferry EUREKA, Hyde Street Pier, San Francisco, San Francisco County, CA
See HAER CA-364 for documentation of the Eureka's Lifeboat No. 3.
Significance: EUREKA, considered to be the only extant vessel of its type in the United States, symbolizes an era of travel that has all but vanished from American waters. One of only two remaining "walking-beam" marine steam engines remaining in the US, EUREKA (UKIAH) plied the waters of San Francisco Bay servicing the San Francisco and Northern Pacific Railway. Carrying railroad cars and passengers, she continued in operation through 1920. In 1920 she was almost completely rebuilt, lengthened, and made ready for carrying automobiles and passengers under the name EUREKA until 1941. Now located at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, she is used to interpret the once common era of steam ferry transport, showcasing her walking-beam engine and a collection of antique automobiles. Built almost entirely of Douglas fir, she is the largest surviving wooden-hulled vessel in the United States.
EUREKA is one of two survivors from a once large fleet of steam ferries that served on San Francisco Bay and played a vital role in the regional economy. These ferries provided the connection between San Francisco and its transbay hinterland that made possible the growth of suburbs in Marin County, Contra Costa County, and the East Bay. Before highways and suspension bridges, the ferries were the main conduits for travelers within the region.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N278
Survey number: HAER CA-59
Building/structure dates: 1890 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1920-1922 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1957 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1960-1963 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1977 Subsequent Work
National Register of Historic Places NRIS Number: 73000229