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The Balboa Island Ferry is a historic ferry service that operates in Newport Beach, California, providing transportation between Balboa Island and the Balboa Peninsula. Here’s a brief overview of its history:

  1. Early Years: The Balboa Island Ferry service was established in 1919 by a man named Joseph Allan Beek, who recognized the need for a convenient mode of transportation between the Balboa Peninsula and Balboa Island. Initially, Beek used a rowboat to ferry passengers across the water.
  2. Expansion and Motorization: As demand for the ferry service grew, Beek expanded his operations. In 1920, he replaced the rowboat with a gasoline-powered motorboat, enabling him to transport more passengers and vehicles. The service became increasingly popular among locals and tourists alike.
  3. Ownership Changes: Over the years, the ownership of the Balboa Island Ferry changed hands multiple times. In 1928, Joseph Beek sold the ferry to Walter L. Gregory, who, in turn, sold it to S.K. Hoagland in 1934. The Hoagland family would play a significant role in the ferry’s history, operating it for several decades.
  4. World War II: During World War II, the Balboa Island Ferry played a crucial role in supporting the war effort. The ferry transported military personnel, supplies, and equipment between the Balboa Peninsula and Balboa Island, aiding in coastal defense efforts.
  5. Vessel Upgrades: Over time, the Balboa Island Ferry service replaced its original motorboat with larger and more modern vessels to accommodate increasing traffic. The ferries were continually upgraded and expanded to handle the growing number of passengers and vehicles.
  6. Modernization: In the late 20th century, the ferry service underwent further modernization. In the 1980s, the ferries were converted to run on propane, reducing their environmental impact. Automated ticketing systems were also introduced, streamlining the boarding process.
  7. Cultural Icon: The Balboa Island Ferry has become an iconic symbol of Newport Beach, representing its maritime heritage and charm. It is a popular tourist attraction and a beloved mode of transportation for both residents and visitors.

Today, the Balboa Island Ferry continues to operate, connecting the Balboa Peninsula and Balboa Island. It is an enduring symbol of the region’s history and remains an important part of the community’s identity.