Ferryboat Sausalito History



In Memory Of Kathie Hammer

We are deeply saddened to report that Kathie Hammer passed away unexpectedly on September 25th.  Keith and Kathie joined our Club in 1986 and became Life members in 2016.  Kathie took over the position of the Club Historian and created the Museum in the early 1990s; she was always willing to show it and share the Ferry’s history with our members and guests.  Kathie  went to great lengths to always learn more of its history.  Often, she would meet with people who had grown up riding on the Sausalito Ferry and would listen as they told stories of their childhood memories.  Many people donated items for our Museum because they knew she would take special care of each piece of the Ferry’s history they had entrusted to her. 

Kathie was also instrumental in entertaining our children while waiting for Santa to come to our Ferry every second Saturday in December.  She would read them stories and sing songs with them, even bringing bells for the children to ring as they sang Jingle Bells and other songs.

Kathie retired after 40 years as Director of the John Knox Co-Op Preschool.  There are literally thousands of people who were her students and many, many fondly remember her as their favorite teacher.  Former students ensured their children would get to go to the same school as they did because of the love and compassion Kathie shared with all her students.  

Wherever she went, she made lifelong friends.  Kathie loved to play games, especially pinochle and cribbage.  She also loved boating and camping.  She loved to get out and go—and was always up for the challenge—even this past summer when she was having severe back pain.  She and Keith had served for several years as caretakers (one month per year) at the Battery Point Lighthouse in Crescent City.  Her accomplishments are too numerous to list.

Keith and Kathie cherished activities with their family, especially if it involved their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  They were the delight of her life. 

There are many at our Club who will miss her deeply.  Kathie’s memory will be indelibly imprinted on our Club’s history. 

Words cannot express our heartfelt sympathy to Keith, their family, and friends. 



Kathie's September 2019 Article

Historian Kathie Hammer

(Continued from last month’s article about how the Armed Forces got their songs.)

The U.S. Army – Founded on June 14, 1775, is the oldest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Army has a long history of many songs. In the early days, these songs were often played by buglers or fife and drum corps.  The Army’s official song, “The Army Goes Rolling Along,” was not composed until the early twentieth century. It was written by First Lieutenant Edmund L. Gerber when he was stationed in the Philippines. He had been watching men move caissons, carts for carrying artillery ammunition, and heard the Commanders shout, “Come on, Keep ‘em rolling!” Inspired by these shouts he penned several stanzas and along with some of his fellow Lieutenants, he came up with a melody for his song, which he called “The Caissons Go Rolling Along.” The song became so popular among the troops that the Army commissioned John Philip Sousa to transform it into a march in 1917. It wasn’t until thirty eight years later that the Army adopted it as their official song.

Because they could not offer a prize for a songwriting contest, Liberty magazine stepped up and agreed to hold a contest on behalf of the corps to create a fight song that would speak of the unique tasks they performed. The winning submission was from Robert MacArthur Crawford. The song was called “The Army Air Corps March” and made its public debut in 1939. When the U.S. Air Force was established as a separate branch of the armed forces in 1947, Crawford’s song was renamed the U.S. Air Force Song. You might recognize it by its first line: “Off we go into the wild blue yonder.”

Upbeat and spirited, it is no wonder these songs are some of the most recognizable songs in America.


Kathie's August 2019 Article


Did you ever wonder how our armed forces got their songs?

In the Elks magazine (May 2019) they had a wonderful article explaining just that.  This article will be continued over the next two months.  Here are the Stories Behind the Song for the U.S. Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force:

The U.S. Marine Corps - The oldest of the service songs is “The Marines’ Hymn.” The Marines did not officially adopt this song until 1929, even though much of the song’s lyrics and music originated in the 19th century. The exact origins of the song “From the Halls of Montezuma to The Shores of Tripoli” have been lost to history. “The Marines’ Hymn” was first published by the Leatherneck, a Marine Corps magazine in 1919, and a decade later was adopted by the U.S. Marine Corps as its official song.


The U.S. Navy - Unlike “The Marines Hymn,” the origins of the song for the U.S. Navy, “Anchors Aweigh” is well documented. The song was originally composed as a fight song for the football team of the U.S. Naval Academy. After being played a many games the song was gradually adopted by the Navy in 1926.

The U.S. Air Force – “The U.S. Air Force Song” predates the creation of the U.S. Air Force as its own branch of the armed forces. During World War II, the air forces of the U.S. military existed within the U.S. Army as the U.S. Army Air Forces and as the U.S. Army Air Corps prior to that. It was during the time of the Air Corps, in the late 1930s, that the service’s famous song about “The Wild Blue Yonder” was composed.

 (To be continued in September.)

Kathie's July 2019 Article


I know many of you know the history behind the 4S, but for the many new members I would like to repeat it.

This year will be the 66th year we have come together for this great event.

It all started in 1953 when four yacht clubs (Sportsmen, Sacramento, Stockton, and San Joaquin) got together for an Over-the-Bottom Race. The boats would race in the morning, then the host club would serve sandwiches after the race. We have come a long way since 1953.

Now, it is a four day event with games, food, entertainment, and fun.  The weekend starts with a dinner on Thursday night followed on Friday by a breakfast, lunch, then dinner. On Saturday, the day starts with breakfast.  Then we have our Opening Ceremony and, after that, the Olympic style games’ competition starts and lasts all day. After dinner on Saturday night, medals are presented to the individual winners for each game.

In 1986, Sportsmen donated a perpetual trophy, which is still used today. On Saturday evening, after individual medals have been awarded, it is given to the club with the highest number of points from the games won in the games’ competition.

On Sunday, we end our weekend with closing ceremonies and the 4S flag is presented to the club that will host the event the following year.

The 4S is a wonderful event where old friendships are renewed and new friendships are made. It is a weekend like no other! I highly recommend everyone attend; you will have a marvelous time and we hope to bring the perpetual trophy home to our club this year.


Kathie's June 2019 Article

I would like to share a great discovery we made, thanks to  Neal & Diane Essary.

It was a visit to the Western Railway Museum in Rio Vista. It is located on Highway 12 between Fairfield and Rio Vista. You can ride an authentic historic train for an hour long, 11 mile ride round trip on the electrified Sacramento Northern Railway. They have a wonderful museum and library, and you can enjoy a self-guided tour of several historic rail vehicles on display in Car House One. You can also enjoy looking around their Museum Store.

They have several special events. In April, they have a wildflower train (which we took) and in October a Pumpkin Patch Tour.  Rio Vista Junction is the home of the Western Railway Museum and was an actual stop on the Sacramento Northern from 1923 to 1940. Garfield Station, another stop, was an important stop for local farmers and farm workers who would often take the train to work from Sacramento or Contra Costa County.

Shiloh Church, one of Solano County’s oldest buildings, was built in 1870 as Cumberland Presbyterian Church.  Gum Grove was a ranch site and is now the home of their annual Pumpkin Patch Festival held in October.

Pantano is a Spanish word meaning marsh and is currently the end of the wire and end of the restored railroad.  Years ago, Montezuma Station was the last station before the Sacramento Northern trains crossed Van Sickle and Chipps Islands and were then loaded onto a ferryboat that crossed the Suisun Bay to Mallard (now Pittsburg). The trains then traveled through to Oakland, across the bottom deck of the Bay Bridge, arriving at the Trans Bay Terminal in San Francisco. It is a wonderful historic outing I think you would enjoy. It is run by volunteers and they are always looking for those interested in the electric railroad and history.


Newsletter not published in May


Kathie's April 2019 Article

Now part two of the history of Levi’s:

In 1873, Levi’s added one back pocket with stitching and a watch pocket. In 1901, they added a second pocket. In 1937, the back pockets were sewn so the rivets were covered and furniture would not be scratched.  In 1890, the name 501 is first used. Little is known as to why this name was chosen after the factory records were destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. The company’s patent protection was about to expire and it needed a more marketable name.

In 1922, Levi’s added belt loops to keep up with the times. The cinch on the back was still manufactured but many removed it to use a belt. Levi’s stopped using the cinch during World War II to conserve metal for the war effort.  In 1934, Lady Levi’s were introduced; they were the first blue jeans for women.  In 1937, the suspender buttons were removed but snap on buttons became available for those who opted for suspenders.

Until the 1970s, all denim was made in America. There are several types of denim, but the original blue jeans used a cotton based fabric made from warp yarn and white cotton filling yarn. The yarns were interlaced at a 90 degree angle creating a right hand twill weave.

In the 1980s, the jeans inseam was given two rows of stitches.

Jeans have been made for over 100 years but haven’t been easily accepted to the work place until recently. As more workplaces accept casual attire, fewer workers need separate wardrobes for the office. This has led to a decline in the need for dry cleaning. The dry cleaning business has declined 10 percent since 2010. Now you know the whole story.



Kathie's March 2019 Article


For the next two months, I would like to give you the history of the Levi Strauss & Company jeans. It seems appropriate since they were invented when our Ferry was bringing people from the gold fields to San Francisco for supplies.

May 20, 1873, was the day Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis received their patent for their riveted pants. In May, it will be 166 years since the San Francisco clothing company first made them.

The inventor of the blue jeans was Jacob Davis. Davis was a tailor living in Reno, Nevada, who began using rivets to make miners clothing more sturdy.

Davis wrote to his supplier, Levi Strauss in San Francisco in 1872, asking him for help to get a patent for his invention. Strauss paid $68 for the patenting fee.

They were awarded the patent in 1873 and blue jeans were born. Originally called “waist overalls,” they sold for $3 a pair in 1873. Sales soared to the miners in California.

The original jeans had buttons for suspenders and a button fly. This was nothing new in the 1870s. The Levi’s button changed over the years, from a silver style in the 1870s to a darker bronze color in the early 1900s and a hallowed out version to save materials during World War II. Also, the pocket rivet and crotch rivet were permanently removed during World War II.

In 1886, the two-horse leather patch was first used on overalls. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the two-horse logo was no longer made of leather, but a less expensive heavy duty card stock. More next month!


Kathie's February 2019 Article

In last month’s Elks Lodge #1474, newsletter they printed a wonderful article that I would like to share with you. It was titled “This Month’s History Tidbit.”

The lyrics to “The Star Spangled Banner” come from the “Defense of Fort McHenry”, a poem written on September 14, 1814, by the then 35 year old lawyer and amateur poet Frances Scott Key.

Key was on a ship just outside the Baltimore Harbor when he witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships of the Royal Navy during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812.

Key was inspired by the large U.S. Flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes, known as the Star Spangled Banner, flying triumphantly above the fort during the U.S. victory.

The picture shows the condition of the flag at the end of the battle.

Over 100 years later President Herbert Hoover signed the bill on March 4, 1931, officially adopting “The Star Spangled Banner” as the National Anthem of the United States of America.


Kathie's January 2019 Article


Happy New Year to everyone! It is always exciting to start a new year, especially after the busy month of December. You might have time to do things you enjoy!

For those of you who enjoy history and reading, I have three books I would like to recommend. In these three books, the Golden Gate and Bay bridges come to life.

The first book is titled, “High Steel: Building the Bridges Across the Bay.” This book is about both bridges that were built during the Great Depression.  It is filled with wonderful black and white photos taken in the 1930s. It was put together by Richard Dillon, Thomas Moulin and Don DeNevi. Erected at approximately the same time, the bridges solved a century’s old transportation problem.

The second book is titled, “The Ferry Building: Witness to a Century of Change 1898-1998”.  It is written by Nancy Olmsted. In the book, she interviews many long time residents and also has a collection of wonderful photographs. She documents 100 years of parades and funeral processions in San Francisco. She also talks about 100 years of victory parades, protest marches, earthquakes, fires,  and  celebrations.

The third book is a more contemporary story of Northern California titled, “Bay Area Backroads” (San Francisco Chronicle Books). Like the TV series, it talks about day trips, weekend getaways and other adventures in Northern California that we can all enjoy.

There is a great picture of the original San Francisco Bay Bridge being built in our museum.  Stop by the next time the Museum is open to revisit our Ferry’s history or learn of it for the first time!




If you should happen to have old newspaper articles, photos, other artifacts, or personal knowledge relevant to the history of The Ferryboat Sausalito, please contact Historian Matt Tate. Please see "Contact SYC Staff" on Home page.  Thank you.