PSRMA is offering members and friends an opportunity to relive the golden days of the ferry boats on San Diego Bay. On Sunday, September 26th, a special PSRMA excursion will board the Star & Crescent's "M. V. Monterey," a onetime North Island pedestrian ferry, to retrace the routes of the San Diego & Coronado Ferry Company and the Point Loma Ferry Company and the South San Diego Ferry Company, the latter two having disappeared some years ago as a result of mergers with Star & Crescent.
The "Monterey" will first carry the PSRMA. excursion to the Coronado Cays, the nearest navigable point to the old South San Diego landing, and then north to Shelter Island (close to the old Roseville landing). The landings on Coronado, North Island, and perhaps Ballast Point will complete the itenerary for this historic PSRMA tour.
It all began in the 1880's when the steam launch "Della" was placed in service on the Coronado run to transport local folks and real estate speculators to the then-new subdivisions and the under-construction Hotel del Coronado. Soon another ferry was sailing northwards to Roseville taking pleasure seekers for a ride on a steam dummy train which ran through Wabaska Canyon to Cliff House in Ocean Beach. There visitors gathered mussels and picked strawberries. Ferry service to Rockwell Field (the Army name for its airbase on North Island) and the areas of South San Diego (Imperial Beach today) began sometime later.
The PSRMA excursion boat, the "M. V. Monterey," was built in San Diego in 1952. The largest of the boats known as "squareheads" and "nickle-snatchers," it was built primarily to transport civilian workers to and from North Island. It also has served, and is serving, as a substitute excursion boat.
The era of ferry service on San Diego Bay came to a sudden halt on August 3, 1969, with the official opening of the Coronado-San Diego Bay Bridge. To guarantee the bonds let for this toll bridge, the State of California required all competing service across San Diego Bay be halted, and it was a few minutes before midnight on August 2nd that the San Diego and Coronado Ferry Company's "Coronado" slipped into the dock of her namesake for the last time, ending a tradition on San Diego Bay almost 100 years old.
It will be necessary for the PSRMA excursion to leave the Star & Crescent Boat House, located at Harbor & Market on the Embarcadero, promptly at one in the afternoon of the 26th. In 1964 when PSRMA ran its first ferry route trip, it was not possible to go south of the Navy-Repair Base. But now it is, and this extended distance means the "Monterey" has to leave on time if all is to be seen.
Jr. & Sr. High Students........$3.75
Elem. Sch. Students............$2.75
Excursion hours are from one to five p.m. and snack bar service is provided. Also included will be historic data explaining the background of the old routes as they are retraced.
Please make all checks or money orders payable to PSRMA, INC., and mail your ticket orders to: PSRMA, C/0 DAVE HOBSON, P.O. BOX 2037, EL CAJON, CALIFORNIA, 92021.
At this late date it might be a good idea to phone your reservations to Excursion Committee Chairman Eric Sanders at 469-1288. Eric also reports he is looking for volunteers for the upcoming Puerto Penasco trip in November. Give him a call if you're interested in helping out.