At the turn of the last century, the Kitsap Peninsula was a land of verdant hills and valleys, fledgling communities and ports. Docks jutted out at regular intervals along its winding shoreline.
As population and commerce increased, the need for a larger, more organized water-borne transportation system became evident. Eventually, the dozens of small steamers that buzzed around the Puget Sound became known as the Mosquito Fleet. Shown above right top is a photo of one of the original boats circa 1935 and below the restored Virgina V, in 2010. Photo courtesy of the Bainbridge Island Historical Society.
Kitsap Historical Society - Mosquitos in Kitsap
Before the building of good roads, bridges, and the Washington State
Ferry System, small steam boats swarmed Puget Sound as thick as
mosquitos, or so the saying goes. Mosquitos in Kitsapexhibits examines
this fascinating era by highlighting numerous steam boats which served
the growing communities in Kitsap County between 1853 and 1940.
Interpretive display panels, an interactive game, and historical index
of vessels explore numerous Mosquito Fleet boats which served Kitsap
County. This exhibit has already traveled to festivals in Bremerton,
Olalla, and Port Gamble. Mosquitos in Kitsap premiered in May, 2010, aboard the historic steamer Virginia V.
Preserving Mosquito Fleet History
There are over 40 history Mosquito Fleet ports along Kitsap Peninsula 228 miles of Puget Sound shoreline. Each port has a unique history and preserves a rich community heritage. Kitsap County Board of Commissioners, working mayors, agencies and other interested organizations, is working to preserve and enrich the Mosquito Fleet history.
Kitsap Harbor Tours offers a unique water tour of the Kitsap area, including the Navy's shipyard and mothball fleet in Bremerton.
From the Mosquito Fleet to the WA State Ferry System
One hundred years later, at the forefront of the new millenium, Kitsap County is rapidly urbanizing and more dependent on its extensive road network and the Washington State Ferry System as means of transport.
One of the most colorful auto ferries to grace the
Puget Sound was the Kalakala (photo), the only Art Deco ferry ever constructed, in service between 1935 and 1962.
The original fleet of ferries, including the unique Kalakala shown above, have been replaced by the larger, modern ferry that carry millions of autos and foot passengers across the sound each year and considered part of the state's highway system.