Steamships and Sternwheelers on the S.S. Virginia V - Atlas Obscura

Seattle, Washington

Steamships and Sternwheelers on the S.S. Virginia V

Journey back to the age of the Puget Sound Mosquito Fleet.

Join Atlas Obscura Society Seattle and Ed Brown, maritime historian and Virginia V deck hand, for an evening exploring the storied history of this remarkable fleet.

Before the Viaduct, before I-5, our region had another complex system for transport and travel: the Puget Sound Mosquito Fleet. This vast network of ships moved people, mail, livestock, and other goods between over 300 waterfront landings from the mid-1800s through the Second World War.

Monuments to both ingenuity and avarice, thousands of these ships served the people and growth of the Northwest, but only one remains: the S.S. Virginia V. Now a National Historic Landmark, the Virginia V is a rare operational steamship and will serve as the backdrop for a presentation on the history of the Puget Sound Mosquito Fleet.

Ed will share a collection of historic photographs and fascinating tales that will paint a vivid picture of this bygone era. You’ll be carried away to a time when trade empires were built and communities were connected by water, and you’ll hear of both triumph and tragedy.

After the lecture, guides will be on hand to offer tours of this timeless and beautiful vessel and attendees will be able to spend some casual time hanging out on the boat, enjoying views of Lake Union.


  • This is a family-friendly event, provided children are accompanied by watchful adults.
  • Local beer and wine will be available for purchase on the boat for those age 21 + with Valid ID.
  • Because of the historic nature of the vessel, not all entryways and bathrooms are ADA compliant. A ramp can be provided to assist attendees in boarding the vessel, but access to the event on the main deck is stairs only.
  • The boat will be docked at the Historic Ships Wharf at Lake Union Park, behind the Museum of History and Industry.
  • City of Seattle parking is available near the area along Fairview, Valley, or Westlake around Lake Union Park, and the area is accessible by public transportation, including the South Lake Union Trolley.


Email Tamara Bunnell at

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Advance ticket sales only. All ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.