Crossing the San Francisco Bay by ferry dates back to 1850 when ferryboats operated between San Francisco and Oakland.
In 1868, the Sausalito Land and Ferry Company purchased waterfront land in Sausalito and proceeded to layout streets and subdivide the central waterfront into view lots. They also began to operate ferry service between Sausalito and San Francisco, in part as a promotion for real estate development. The Princess, a small steamer was the first Sausalito ferry to serve San Francisco. A rail line also attracted people to what became a major transportation hub.
In 1875, the North Pacific Coast Railroad purchased the ferries. Then in 1907, the Northwestern Pacific Railroad purchased the railroad lines serving Marin County and the ferry service serving San Francisco. Sausalito became the hub of passenger transportation. In 1920, due to the unresponsiveness of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad to the demand for auto ferries passage, a new ferry company, the Golden Gate Ferry Co., was inaugurated and offered auto ferry service between San Francisco and Sausalito.
Prior to the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge, ferry and rail service flourished. Following the opening of the Bridge in May 1937, ferry service between Marin and San Francisco declined and eventually came to an end on Friday, February 28, 1941. For the next 29 years, driving across the Bridge was the only way to travel directly between Marin and San Francisco. (at Mission, British Columbia)