Original photo from the archives of S.P.H.S.©
There was a fascination in the name "BAILEY GATZERT" to old-timers on the waterfronts of Puget Sound. There was an air of grandeur about the famed vessel. She was a floating palace in her day. The BAILEY GATZERT met the fate of all ships a number of years ago, but her memory still lives––on Puget Sound and the Columbia River.
The famed stern-wheeler's nameplate, a weather-beaten piece of timber, has adorned a wall in the offices of the The Marine Digest in the Canadian National Terminal on the Seattle waterfront ever since she reached the end of her career. Jackson B. Corbet, editor and publisher says it is not unusual for some stranger to come into his office and ask for the privilege of sitting down and gazing at the plate with affection and reverence. 'They come from all over––the Columbia River, San Francisco and Los Angeles,' Corbet said.
On Puget Sound, the BAILEY GATZERT is remembered chiefly for her great record in the Seattle-Tacoma and Seattle-Bremerton routes, but she also operated between Seattle and Olympia, plying in this service more than a year in the early part of her career.
With her wheel, twenty-two feet in diameter, churning the waters of the sound, the BAILEY GATZERT defeated the swift sternwheeler GREYHOUND in an exciting race. Later she left the sidewheeler T.J. POTTER astern in one of the most furious races in the history of the Sound.
177.3' x 32.3' x 8'
Original photo from the S.P.H.S.©
In 1891 her original owners sold the BAILEY to the Columbia River & Puget Sound Navigation Co, which immediately transferred her to the Seattle-Olympia route. In 1892, the vessel went to the Columbia River. The BAILEY GATZERT's career on the Columbia and her subsequent return to Puget Sound to become one of the queens of the inland sea is an interesting chapter in the history of navigation in this region.
The BAILEY GATZERT was the finest vessel of her day plying inland waters. Her interior decorations were carried out under the direction of an English artist named Harnett. The panels in her engine room were the work of Capt. Howard Pemfield, who was first to hold the position of mate in the vessel. The GATZERTS's first master was Capt. George I. Hill, who had as his engineer, Charles Follett.
Skippers of the BAILEY GATZERT included Capt. Harry Anderson, now port captain of the Puget Sound Navigation Co; Capt. Gilbert Parker, who took the GATZERT to the Columbia River in 1892, and Capt. R. B. Holbrook, who brought the vessel to Seattle in 1918 after she had been sold by The Dalles, Portland & Astoria Navigation Co to the Navy Yard Route.
In the spring of 1920, the BAILEY GATZERT became the first automobile ferry between Seattle and Bremerton. The vessel was named for Bailey Gatzert, one of Seattle's most widely known pioneers, who came to this city in 1869. He was a member of the City Council in 1872 and 1877 and was elected mayor in 1875.
Bailey Gatzert helped to organize the Seattle Drydock & Shipbuilding Co and was its first president. He died 19 April 1893 and as a tribute to a life rich in ability, enterprise and charity, one of Puget Sound's most remarkable steamboats was named in his honor."
Below notes from H.W. McCurdy's Marine History of the PNW. Newell, Gordon. (1966)
The BAILEY GATZERT was extremely popular during the Lewis & Clark Exposition of this year and a popular song, the Bailey Gatzert March was published.
She was reconstructed with heavier hull & engines.
Her whistle, one of the most melodious among the Northwest steamboats, and her ornate name board are preserved by Seattle's Museum of History and Industry on South Lake Union.