History of the Mosquito Fleet
|From the very beginning of settlement in the Puget Sound
region over 150 years ago, the most efficient and effective way to move
from one area to another was by boat. The early settlers depended on
water-based transport, small steamers that buzzed around the Puget Sound
so quickly and regularly that they came to known as the “Mosquito
Fleet.” As population and commerce increased, it demanded a need for
larger, well-organized water born transportation systems that could
accommodate both passengers and freight. This was the genesis of the
“Mosquito Fleet” which
The City of Kingston is one of the numerous
ships that buzzed around the Puget Sound, taking people and freight from
dock to dock.
|consisted of individually owned and
operated vessels of varying size that would keep a somewhat regular
service between the various waterfront communities.
Many of the “ports of call” were crude docks that could accommodate a few
neighbors if the tide was high, to very formidable docks that could handle
freight and an ever-growing number of passengers. Many of these structures are
long gone, but at some sites piling still exist. At other locations replacement
docks have been built at their original locations, and some are still
functioning today as they did decades ago. These sites are identifiable along
the shoreline from Olalla in South Kitsap all the way north to Bainbridge Island
. Each has a “history” associated with it, as well as a rich community heritage.
This fleet was operational until the middle of the 1900’s when roads and bridges
were developed to link communities together. Eventually, larger and faster
ferries were brought into service thus eliminating the need for these small
vessels and they vanished from our legacy.
||There were so many boats and the competition for passengers was so
intense, they buzzed and hummed around Kitsap docks and even bumped into
each other from time to time. Their predictable daily hum of activity at
dawn and dusk was an appropriate name for the Mosquito Fleet. The
small foot ferries operating between the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and
Port Orchard and Annapolis are the last remaining remnants.
In the early 1900's the Athalon was run by the
Liberty Bay Transportation Company in the Seattle-Pousbo route. In
those days, it was in stiff competition with the Hyak. Every run
was a race and the prize, the pick of all the freight and passengers.
Staff contact: Bill
Kitsap County Public Works
(360) 337-5777 or (800) 825-4940