Lady of the Lake (steamboat, 1897)

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Lady of the Lake (steamboat).jpg
Lady of the Lake
Name: Lady of the Lake
Owner: As Ruth: Pacific Tow Boat
Route: Lake Washington
Completed: 1897
Fate: destroyed by fire 1916
General characteristics
Type: inland steamboat
Length: 70 ft (21.34 m)
Installed power: steam engines (salvaged from steamer Quickstep
Propulsion: propeller

Lady of the Lake was a wooden steamboat that operated on Puget Sound from 1897 to 1903. Following a fire in 1903, the vessel was rebuilt as the tug Ruth.


Lady of the Lake was built at Seattle in 1897. The engines for Lady of the Lake came from the burned steamer Quickstep, which had in turn been purchased by Capt. John L. Anderson for $1,600 as a replacement for his Lake Washington steamer Winnifred which had burned at Leschi Park in early 1896.[1] Anderson built Lady of the Lake by himself with his own money. Shortly after he had finished the boat, he was able to sell it for a good profit to Bellingham interests. The new owners took the vessel to run on Puget Sound.[1]

In 1903 the steamboat was running on the short commuter route across Elliott Bay between Seattle and West Seattle, and was operated by the vessel's owners, Captains Charles H. Gaffner and J. Holbrook, Chief Engineer Parks, and Purser Greenwood. engaged in a rate war first with the small passenger-only steamer Garden City then more seriously with the steam ferry City of Seattle.[2] There were two collisions between the vessels during the rate war. The owners of Lady of the Lake reduced their fares to five cents, which prompted the ferry operators to allow 40 rides for one dollar.[1][3]

1903 fire

June 18, 1903, Lady of the Lake was hauled out of the water in a shipyard in West Seattle when a fire broke out overnight.[4] The origin of the fire was reported to be "not ascertained", with the vessel suffering approximately $3000 in damage.[4] The rate war and the circumstances of the fire caused a rumor that arson was the cause. In any case, the vessel was a total loss. The hull and engines were salvageable however.[1]

Rebuild and final loss

In 1905, King and Winge rebuilt Lady of the Lake into the tug Ruth. In 1916, Ruth was being operated by Pacific Tow Boat Company, when the vessel was destroyed by fire at Ladysmith, BC.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e McCurdy Marine History, at 20, 24, 96, 113, and 270.
  2. ^ Newell, Inland Sea, at 146.
  3. ^ Klein, Ferryboats, at 5 and 146.
  4. ^ a b U.S. Steamboat Inspection Service, 1903 Annual Report, at 23.


  • Kline, M.S., and Bayless, G.A., Ferryboats -- A legend on Puget Sound, Bayless Books, Seattle, WA 1983 ISBN 0-914515-00-4
  • Newell, Gordon R., ed., H.W. McCurdy Marine History of the Pacific Northwest, Superior Publishing Co., Seattle, WA (1966)
  • Newell, Gordon R., Ships of the Inland Sea, Superior Publishing Co., Seattle, WA (2nd Ed. 1960)
  • Wright, E. W. (1895). Lewis & Dryden's Marine History of the Pacific Northwest. Portland, Oregon: Lewis & Dryden Printing Company.
  • United States. Steamboat Inspection Service (1904). Annual Report of the Supervising Inspector General, Steamboat Inspection Service to the Secretary of Commerce. U.S. Government Printing Office.
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