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Golden Gate Chapter News
May 20, 2013
A meeting of the Golden Gate Chapter of the SSHSA took place on April 6, 2013 at the Elks Lodge in Alameda, California. Thirteen members and guests of the chapter attended the meeting. During the meeting Amy Heiden, a music stage manager and part-time professional photographer who has become active in the maritime and naval fields, made a slide presentation on the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet. Her slides showed interior views aboard the ships. In addition, she showed images of the battleship USS IOWA which was towed out of San Francisco Bay for Los Angeles in May 2012. Navy veterans in the audience helped identify the interior shipboard locations visible in her slides. Some of her digital images are shown on her website (www.amyheiden.com).
The chapter members and guests of the Golden Gate Chapter greatly enjoyed Amy Heiden's slide presentation on the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet and the battleship USS IOWA. She allowed everybody to see rare images of Navy ships and other vessels that will disappear in the next few years.
Norbert Ulbrich, Menlo Park, California Chapter Secretary, May 2013
March 11, 2013
Golden Gate Chapter News
A meeting of the Golden Gate Chapter of the SSHSA took place on Feb. 2, 2013 at the Elks Lodge in Alameda, California. Sixteen members and guests of the chapter attended the meeting. During the first part of the meeting transportation historian and author Paul C. Trimble of Novato, California, presented his talk entitled “The Sacramento Northern Railway and the Ferry Ramon.” Mr. Trimble grew up in Northern California and became interested in both the railways and ferries of the San Francisco Bay Area at an early age. He is also the author of two recently published books entitled “Ferries of San Francisco Bay” (2007) and “Riverboats of Northern California” (2011). The books are available from Arcadia Publishing (Images of America Series, phone orders: 1-888-313-2665, www.arcadiapublishing.com). First, Mr. Trimble explained how the Sacramento Northern Railway came about and why the ferry RAMON played such an important role in its transportation network. The Ramon carried interurban cars across the eastern entrance of Suisun Bay near the meeting point of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. She was built at the Lanteri Shipyard of Pittsburg, California, as a 270-foot double-ended craft. A 600-horsepower distillate engine provided propulsion. Ramon was constructed with simple flat steel plates and was hopelessly underpowered. Therefore, her handling required a lot of skill by both her captain and crew because she often had to depart her ferry slip against strong currents and winds. Ramon is one of only two interurban car ferries known to have ever existed. Up to six interurban passenger cars, or 10 freight cars, could be handled on her deck. The Ramon entered service on January 3, 1915. Her owner, the Sacramento Northern Railway, made constant improvements to the ferry to meet strict U.S. Coast Guard regulations. Passenger service via the Ramon ended in 1940. Freight service, however, continued until 1954. At that time, costly structural repairs of the almost 40-year-old vessel were needed. Therefore, her owner decided to sell Ramon for scrap. So ended the career of the world's only interurban car ferry.
During the second part of the meeting official chapter business was briefly discussed. The three officers of the chapter (president Norm Freitag, treasurer Dick Rutter, and secretary Norbert Ulbrich) agreed to continue for another one-year term. The official election of the three officers had to be postponed to the next meeting because the required minimum quorum of seven members of the Steamship Historical Society was not met. Finally, annual chapter dues were collected from the members who were present at the meeting ($5 for 2013).
The chapter members greatly enjoyed Paul Trimble's presentation on the ferry Ramon. Paul Trimble is both an excellent author and knowledgeable narrator which made his oral presentation a memorable event.
Norbert Ulbrich, Menlo Park, California Chapter Secretary, February 2013
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