The Launch of a Steamship That Has Become Affectionately Known as the “V”

March 9, 1922

The steamship Virginia V was launched on the northwestern coast of Washington State. This steamship had been built with Douglas fir trees by Matthew Anderson of Anderson & Company for the West Pass Transportation Company. The 125-foot (38-meter) vessel was the last of that company’s working steamships named Virginia. 

Three months after being launched, Virginia V embarked on her maiden voyage and began her career providing daily passenger, freight, and mail service for communities between Seattle and Tacoma. In addition, she transported members of the youth development organization long known as Camp Fire Girls (now called Camp Fire) to Camp Sealth on Vashon Island for summer fun each year between 1922 and 1970.

Virginia V was part of the Puget Sound region’s so-called “Mosquito Fleet,” an assortment of hundreds of privately owned vessels linking island sand ports in that section of the world before the Washington State Ferry System took over the role. Virginia V, which was affectionately nicknamed both the “V” and “Ginny,” ultimately became the last operational example of the Mosquito Fleet steamers. She is also the only surviving wooden-hull, steam-powered, passenger vessel along the entire west coast. (The above photo of Virginia V was taken in 1976 at Olympia.)    

After the West Pass Transportation Company went out of business in 1942, the vessel changed hands a few times until being purchased by the non-profit Steamer Virginia V Foundation in 1980. Virginia V was subsequently restored and, since 2002, has provided transportation to local maritime festivals in the Puget Sound area and also been made available for other private charters and public excursions locally. Virginia V was designated a Seattle City Landmark in 1973 and a City of Tacoma Landmark the following year. She became a National Historic Landmark in 1992.

For more information on the steamship Virginia V, please check out Virginia V – Wikipedia

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