Built in 1916 as the first ferry between Marin & Pt. Richmond, the Charles Van Damme has a rich history spanning over 100 years and a compelling story to tell.
She spent 40 years as a working ferry & 25 years as the social hub of the Waldo Point waterfront. She appeared in several feature films & was a unique magnet for the rich & famous, the up & coming AND EVEN the down & out.
- The Charles Van Damme Ferry song written and performed by Joe Tate who performed regularly on the ferry in the band the Red Legs.
During her lifetime she had many incarnations, as 3 different restaurants, as an art & dance studio plus as an all night music venue & hang out for people like Carlos Santana, Janis Joplin, David Crosby & members of the Grateful Dead. The Ferry resided in the Gates Co-Op area at Gate Six Rd, Sausalito, now re-developed into the Waldo Point Park.
- The 9 lives of the Charles Van Damme Ferry told via photos and press clippings.
In 1983 the ferry was demolished leaving just the paddlewheel & smoke stack. But through the determined eﬀorts of the RBMA, the original paddle wheel, smokestack and other artifacts were saved.
Our group, the Charles Van Damme Ferry Project, a sub-committee of our non-proﬁt sponsor, The Richardson’s Bay Maritime Association (RBMA), is now embarking on the ﬁnal phases of our eﬀort to create a public home for the vessel’s paddle wheel and smokestack.
This permanent display will be located where the ferryboat last stood at Gate 5 Road in the Waldo Point Harbor Park in Sausalito. Surrounding the display will be signage depicting the Charles Van Damme’s unique history, educating & inspiring a new generation of fans to maritime and artistic culture.
We have secured and stored the wheel, stack and artifacts. We have an approved location, detailed architectural and structural plans plus acceptable bids from skilled builders and acquired all the required permits to begin this project. We have gathered images & historical evidence to support her stories
The RBMA has pledges for 70% of the $400k needed to complete the project. They are currently fundraising for the last 30%. Some of the pledges are contingent on receiving the additional 120K by January 31st, 2024 for the project to succeed.
Donors gifting $5,000 or more have the opportunity for their names to be immortalized along with the Charles Van Damme Ferry’s artifacts on the public exhibit.
We hope you will join us in supporting this exciting project!
Your tax deductible donation will enable the RBMA to share over 100 years of local waterfront history as a public display, inspiring generations to come.