The Steamer WILMINGTON
Bill Gibson, II - October 22, 2013
The Steamer WILMINGTON was built in Philadelphia, PA in 1882. It ran on the Delaware River for several years and then in 1890 it was sold to Capt. John W. Harper who brought the WILMINGTON down to Wilmington, NC to run on the Cape Fear River between Wilmington and Southport and the Beaches.
In 1926, the WILMINGTON was converted into an auto ferry boat and went to St. Petersburg to run across Tampa Bay for the Bee Line Ferry. In 1930, the WILMINGTON was remodeled into a diesel vessel and renamed the PINELLAS. During WWII, the PINELLAS was requisitioned by the US Government and renamed the SEABROOK. It ran between the US Naval Base and Jacksonville, FL. After the War, the vessel was sold back to her original owners.
In 1954, the original Sunshine Skyway Bridge was completed which put the Bee Line Ferry out of business. Capt. Joe Winters, one of her ferry boat captains purchased the PINELLAS. She ran as the MISS PINELLAS as a fishing and moonlight excursion boat until 1965 when she was sold.