Northern Pacific Transfer Boat, 1894

This image depicts the Northern Pacific transfer boat, Tacoma, approaching the Burnside Bridge. This image is from June 1894.


Tacoma boat approaching Burnside Bridge, June 1894: A2004-002.692

Tacoma boat approaching Burnside Bridge, June 1894: A2004-002.692


View this image in Efiles by clicking here.

14 thoughts on “Northern Pacific Transfer Boat, 1894

  1. I think those are Pullman cars since this is a Northern Pacific R.R. trasfer boat, or ferry. Interesting detail; all the water barrels lined up on the peak of the roof in the middle foreground. I’ll bet that was a cedar shake roof and those burn like gasoline if they catch on fire.

  2. This is a mystery as to what the Tacoma is doing in Portland. The Tacoma was built in 1884 to ferry NP passenger trains from Goble,OR to Kalama,WA for it’s Portland to Seattle service. What could it be doing in Portland?

  3. It seems likely that there was a problem with the Portland-Goble rail line, requiring the ferry to take the trains all the way from Kalama to Portland. Maybe a wreck or washout or landslide or the like. I guess the passengers would be let off the boat in Portland and another trainload loaded and the train taken back to Kalama before getting back on the tracks.

  4. Just a guess but the water level looks like it could be high and there was, of course, a big flood in 1894, so perhaps the Goble terminal was under water?

  5. Regarding my flooding guess, I suppose one would then expect the Kalama terminal to be under water as well. Maybe it was post-flood and the damage done, and repairs needed, were worse in Goble? All just speculation but the fact that there was a major flood in 1894 would seem at least a plausible explanation one way or another.

  6. When the track between Portland and Goble washed out during the flood a train was put on and people were transferred btwn. Kelso and Portland a distance of 52 miles. She stopped transferring around 1908 due to new bridges.

  7. I found several mentions in the Historical Oregonian (available at the MCL website) of the Tacoma arriving in Portland in mid-June 1894. Other articles in that month report the disruption of Northern Pacific service due to calamities resulting from heavy rain that month – which included flooding in downtown Portland. If you click to the eFile source image, then click on the ‘breadcrumb’ (containing directory) link, all the files in the container are flood-related, including another half-dozen viewable jpegs.

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