The outstanding event of 1890 on Puget Sound was the arrival of the new steamer CITY OF SEATTLE from Philadelphia. When the vessel steamed into Seattle Harbor on 26 Dec 1890, she provided a fitting climax to a year marked by tremendous growth in Puget Sound shipping.
Twenty-four steamboats were launched on the Sound that year, while more than a million dollars was being added to the value of the inland fleet. No single event, however, impressed the people of Seattle as much as did the arrival of the steamer named for their city. A Seattle newspaper reported that some 27,000 persons boarded the ship in a single day, 28 Dec 1890, when she was opened for visitors. More were turned away, disappointed when visiting hours ended at 4:00 PM. Over in Tacoma, meanwhile, a reporter for the Tacoma Morning Globe wrote that “a stranger in the vicinity would have gained the impression that the CITY OF SEATTLE was the only steamer on Puget Sound.
Capt D. B. Jackson, of the Puget Sound and Alaska Steamship Co, had ordered construction of the vessel; she was built at a cost of $225,000. Designed for the Seattle, Tacoma, and Whatcom route, she was built in Philadelphia and completed in May 1890.