New Ferry Name
My name is Philip Siegfried and I first thought of naming the first Olympic-class Washington State Ferry the M/V Skykomish back in 2003 when I first learned of the plan to build these new magnificent vessels. First of all though, I want to give you the meaning of the name, and a brief history of the tribe and town so that you can see how the name fits in with our state's cultural heritage and how the town of Skykomish changed the State of Washington.
The name is derived from the native words “skaikh” meaning “inland” and “mish” meaning “people”. Although the Skykomish tribe’s territory was along the Skykomish River near the current town of Skykomish, the tribe’s winter villages were actually located further downstream near the current cities of Monroe, Index and Gold Bar. The tribe most likely used the area surrounding Skykomish for temporary campsites during hunting and berry-gathering seasons. The Skykomish tribe flourished for a while until the 1850’s when the Euro-American settlers arrived in the region, bringing with them several fatal diseases, including smallpox to several Western Washington tribes. By 1900, only a few hundred Skykomish Indians remained.
The town of Skykomish got its start in life when James J. Hill (also known as the Empire Builder and the man that Amtrak’s Empire Builder route was named after) elected to extend his railroad to the Pacific coast from Montana. Hill was in competition with the North Pacific Railroad to capture the Oriental trade entering Puget Sound. So Hill hired John F. Stevens as Chief locating engineer to find a suitable route over the Cascade Mountains and westward into Seattle. After discovering Marias Pass in Montana, Stevens continued west into Spokane and the Columbia River. At this point, he began his exploration of the Cascades to determine the best route to the coast and by so doing; he discovered the pass that would later take his name (Stevens Pass). While traveling, he met John Maloney, whom he hired to help Stevens’s engineers with the survey and development of the railway. Under the advice of Mr. Stevens, Maloney started to develop a homestead that would be an important point in the operation of the railway. The homestead, which was known as “Maloney’s Siding” during the construction of the railroad in 1892, also became well-known when Mr. Stevens became involved in several logging and sawmill ventures in what would be later known as Skykomish. One year later, in 1893, the town opened up a post office and the name was changed to Skykomish. The first train came through the town of Skykomish on June 18, 1893. The man behind the controls of the first train was Patrick McEvoy who later settled in Skykomish and later opened up a saloon known as the “Olympia”. Later changed to the Whistling Post Tavern, the still prospering saloon remains to this day. A store built by Mr. Maloney is still there today and remains in business. Although the last passenger train stopped in Skykomish in 1971, the original passenger station is still standing and can be seen from Amtrak’s Empire Builder.
The name Skykomish is a perfect name for one of the new vessels because it has a great meaning and the railroad industry, which is one of the main ways cargo gets to and from Seattle, was forever changed when John F. Stevens discovered Stevens Pass; the main route over the Cascade Mountains, and put Skykomish on the map by becoming a co-founder of the town of Skykomish. I think that we should honor the tribe and town of Skykomish by naming one of the new ferries, the M/V Skykomish. Join me in helping to name one of the new ferries Skykomish.Thanks for your time and support.
 Source http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=1623
 Source http://www.town.skykomish.wa.us/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=58&Itemid=55