SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


SS George Washington & SS Denali
By Michael Naab


January 29, 2007
Monday PM

Pat Bundy's memory serves her well. The SS George Washington did indeed carry passengers between Puget Sound and Alaska in 1948 - and only in 1948.

The 375.5-ft. vessel carried 250 passengers. She measured 5,184 tons and cruised at 14 knots, powered by 4,750 h.p. steam turbines.

Built in 1924 for service between New York and Bermuda, she was taken over by the government for World War II duty. After the war, she was purchased by the Alaska Transportation Company, which had her refitted in Seattle and, in May 1948, placed her on the Alaska run. Later in 1948, a longshoremen's strike shut down most Northwest ports and, consequently, coastwise steamship travel. Partly as a result of the long strike, Alaska Transportation Co. went out of business. The George Washington was sold the following year to the French Line, which operated her on the run between Bordeaux and North Africa under the name, Gascogne.

THe Denali was a mainstay of the venerable Alaska Steamship Company on the run between Puget Sound and Alaska ports. Her September 24, 1954, departure from Seattle was her last voyage to Alaska - and it was the end of Alaska Steamship Company's passenger service. The Denali was sold in 1955 to the Peninsular & Oriental Steamship Company in Miami, which placed her in Miami-St. Petersburg-Key West-Havana service.

Michael Naab
Ketchikan, AK

Received January 29, 2007 - Published January 29, 2006

About: " I work at the City of Ketchikan museum department. My interest in Northwest maritime history began thirty-five years ago, when I worked at a maritime museum in Oregon."


Related Viewpoint:

letter History of Steamships By Pat Bundy - Beaverton, OR



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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska