The Klamath Ferry Boat has been secured to Pier 9, opening the latest addition to San Francisco’s Northern Waterfront neighborhood along the Embarcadero. The nearly one-hundred-year-old decommissioned passenger ship is now open as a public gathering space and the new headquarters for the Bay Area Council.
The history of the San Francisco ferryboats, as told by the Bay Area Council, stretched from 1850 to 1939, during which 120 boats operated across the Bay Area. These boats helped move passengers, cars, trains, horses, livestock, agricultural products, and more. The demise of the former Ferryboat system came with the completion of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, and later the remaining ferry systems would be sunk by the Richmond–San Rafael bridge. Of the 120 ferryboats from this era, only five boats are known to remain.
The Klamath was completed by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation in 1924, with a capacity of around 1,000 people and 78 cars. It started operations in 1925 for the Southern Pacific autoroute between the San Francisco Ferry Building and the East Bay. In 1929, the boat joined the Southern Pacific Golden Gate Ferries, moving between Hyde Pier and Sausalito. The boat was sold 1938 to the Richmond-San Rafael Company in 1938 after the completion of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridges.
The Klamath proceeded to strike a US Navy submarine on July 22, 1944. After its participation in World War Two, the Klamath continued operation until 1956. In 1964, the Landor Associates brand management firm purchased it, moved it from the Port of Redwood City to Pier 5 on the Embarcadero, and made it their headquarters for twenty-four years. In 1992, Duraflame made it their corporate headquarters along the Stockton waterfront. There, it became an event space used for parties, weddings, and business functions.
RMW Architecture is the project architect responsible for the historic preservation design, with involvement from Forell Elsesser Structural Engineers and the general contractor, Spediacci Construction. The boat was restored to its original appearance when it was built in 1924. Forell Elsesser retrofitted the wood and steel boat with a reinforced roof to hold up the publicly accessible roof deck, additional restrooms, and a small museum.
The boat spans roughly 40,000 square feet across four floors, granting Bay Area Council members access to a grand central staircase, pilot rooms, the engine room, secret balconies, a bar, and a fireplace. The conference center will have technology-outfitted conference rooms and a jewel-box board room.
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Interesting history. Corporate HQ for Duraflame, wow. Great to see this boat preserved.
When will the Klamath on the bay roof be open to the public
Is the Klamath ferry boat on the bay open on the roof for the public
How about really restoring her back her original superstructure, pre-1964 that is!