SS Catalina Steamship Information

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Most of the images below can be clicked on to see a larger image (higher resolution).
March 1998, Ensenada

3/98, Ensenada

Inside at low tide

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1973- Coming into L.A. Harbor

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bulletMore Pictures/Nostalgia
bulletHistory by Shawn Dake
bulletInformation for Veterans
bulletShip Specifications
bulletMartin Cox & Maritime Matters' SS Catalina Web Page
bullet"Internet Connect" Email List
bulletOnline Friends of This Site
bulletListen to 26 Miles (Santa Catalina) by the "Four Preps."
For Real-Player: Here (358kb)
Windows 95/98: Here (2.3mb)
Pure MP3: Here (2.3mb)

Media Coverage:

bullet6/29/00, San Diego Union Tribune -- "Old Ship Catalina Starts Long Journey Back to Splendor"
bullet6/25/00, Torrance Daily Breeze -- "Rescue Call"
bullet6/20/00, Los Angeles Times -- "Catalina Rescue Steams Forward"
bullet3/2000, The Log --"Time, tides, and careless barge operator conspire to keep ‘Ferryship to Fairyland’ stuck in muddy Ensenada"
bullet10/10/99, Los Angeles Times -- "Once-Proud SS Catalina, Now Rusty and Listing, Awaits Rescue Effort"
bullet7/25/99, "California Gold" PBS television show ("Visiting with Hugh" episode #736)
bullet5/6/98, Los Angeles Times -- "Councilman Urges Rescue of Historic Ship Catalina"
bullet5/5/98, Torrance Daily Breeze -- "Effort Under Way to Save Steamer"
bullet5/4/98, Los Angeles Times -- "SOS for a Steamer"
bullet3/13/98, San Diego Union -- "Steamer Catalina may end up as scrap"
bullet2/27/98, The Log
bullet5/8/97, San Diego Reader -- "Half the Town Would Run toward the Pier"

The SS Catalina -- A U.S. National, State of California, and City of Los Angeles historical landmark -- is stranded in Mexico and needs your help!

This ship is unique in design and history -- the only one of its kind on the West Coast of the U.S.  The 1766-ton ship was driven by a steam triple-expansion, 3600-skip propulsion plant.  She used oil rather than coal as fuel, and has a large single funnel aft of her pilothouse, and a distinctive rounded stern.   Help us get this special ship back home so she can be restored and revered again.


This historic steamship, known as the "Great White Steamer," was built by Santa Catalina Island owner and chewing gum magnate William Wrigley in 1924 at a cost of one million dollars.  She was used to elegantly transport passengers to the island of Catalina from the mainland.  From the time of her maiden voyage in 1924 to her retirement in 1975, she ferried over 2.4 million people to and from Avalon Bay on Catalina Island.

During World War II, the SS Catalina did her part by being used in San Francisco Bay to transport a total of 820,199 troops, more than any other Army Transport throughout the war.

On September 1st, 1976 the Great White Steamer was bestowed the honor of being placed on the National Register of Historic Places (reference#: 76000495).  She is also registered as California State Historical Landmark No. 894 and as the City of Los Angeles Historical Cultural Monument No. 213.

In 1977 the Catalina was sold to a private party, and her troubles began.  She was taken to Ensenada, Mexico about 17 years ago.  She began slowly sinking towards the end of 1997 and, as a result of 1998's El Ni´┐Żo season, is now partially submerged, listing 15 degrees to her port side, in the Port of Ensenada.  Divers have inspected the damage, and the Catalina can be repaired and refloated.

Current Situation:

Abandoned by her previous owners, the SS Catalina was seized by the Mexican government.  The Port of Ensenada is building a $21 million cruise ship terminal and the Catalina is in the way.  The Mexican government intends to donate the ship to the rescue effort in a collaborative effort to find a positive outcome for this once beautiful ship.  However, we must come up with the funds to refloat and repair her.  If we fail to raise the needed funds in a timely manner, Mexican officials will be forced to dismantle the Catalina for scrap metal in order to get her out of their harbor.

Bring Back the Catalina!

We need your help to rescue this important part of our United States maritime history, and we don't have much time.  If you love ships, the sea, California, and its history, then you'll feel good knowing that your donation helped save this amazing ship.  Contributions of any amount are warmly welcomed and are tax deductible as allowed by law.

Message from D. Engholm:

January 29, 2006

Dear S.S. CATALINA preservationists/supporters:

On behalf of the S.S. CATALINA STEAMSHIP FUND (SSCFS) and myself we are retracting our endorsement of the RAISING THE CATALINA ASSOCIATION (RTCA) or affiliated associations/organizations.

I personally would like to thank all of the supporters who have contributed funds and time to this endeavor to SAVE THE S.S. CATALINA through the S.S. CATALINA STEAMSHIP FUND (SSCSF) via SAVE OUR HERITAGE ORGANISATION (SOHO), the S.S. CATALINA PRESERVATION ASSOCIATION (SSCPA), and the RAISING THE CATALINA ASSOCIATION (RTCA) from the years of 1998-2005. And special thanks to: Guadalupe Engholm, Vida Brickner, Marlene Koschalk, Sandra Putnam, Linda Hironimus, Ruth Singer, Vern Maynard, the late Captain Lloyd Fredgren, the late Hymie Singer, the late Jay Ware, the late Chief Engineers Ray Burnham & Charlie Beal, the late and colorful Charlie Stillwell who was one of the former owners, Doug Means, Jai Adviento, Gary Hanson, Michael Vanosdol, Phil Thorpe, Raul Arenas, Jason Ware, Phil Munsch, Milton Heyne, Gordon Teuber Jr., Shawn Dake and my late Uncle Joe Quinn.

I feel at this point the S.S. CATALINA CAN NOT BE SAVED taking in small monetary contributions from the S.S. CATALINA supporters/public.

We are not giving up efforts to save the S.S. CATALINA, but will be exploring many new avenues and are always open to ideas/input from the supporters/public to achieve this goal!!!

I would also like to add, that if there are any individuals or companies with the financial means and may wish to SAVE THE S.S. CATALINA on their own, that would be fantastic and is most definitely possible!!!

In closing, I again thank all S.S. CATALINA supporters so very much and hope & pray for success in our endeavor to SAVE THE S.S. CATALINA!!!

David Engholm

For Further Information:
David Engholm
S.S. Catalina Steamship Fund
910 Elrod Avenue
Coos Bay, OR  97420
Tel/Fax: 541-267-0451

Thank you for all your help!


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