1925, the Sutter and her sister ship began their storied histories ferrying supplies throughout the Bay Area. The Sutter delivered to ports in the San Francisco Bay and Delta, while her sister ran a route between Stockton and Delta ports.
For years, the Sutter carried up to 750 tons of freight per trip, and earned her keep as a valuable workhorse.
After WWII, a network of highways and roads allowed trucks to haul freight faster and more cost effectively. Around 1950, the Sutter’s life as a freighter ended on the westside docks of Sacramento.
Moore's Dream Boat
In 1961, the languishing Sutter began charting her new life as someone’s “dream boat.” A boatyard worker, John Moore, saw the vessel’s potential as a floating bar and restaurant. He borrowed $4,500 to buy the Sutter and began painstakingly renovating, expanding and converting her. It took him 5 years.
A Star is Born
On July 4, 1966, John Moore’s dream came true. “Moore’s Riverboat” opened to joyful fanfare and became an instant success as a restaurant and bar. For 27 years, merrymakers crowded the restaurant, danced to music from the 20's and 30's, and demonstrated their flair for decorating ─ by hanging ladies’ panties over the bar.
A Devastating Fire and Farewell
In September 1993, a fire broke out in the galley. It damaged the unique landmark and forced the restaurant and bar to permanently close. The new building codes for public restaurants made it cost-prohibitive to renovate. Without a future, talks turned to dismantling the beloved vessel.
In 1994, the San Joaquin Yacht Club purchased the Sutter “as-is, where is” for $1.00. Andy Quick performed the high-finance transaction, and volunteers went to work. They towed the Sutter to her new home on Bethel Island’s Dutch Slough, where she lives today.
The club members invested money, time, talent and patience to painstakingly restore the vessel. Today, the Sutter serves as the San Joaquin Yacht Club’s cherished clubhouse, complete with the original chef’s galley, pilot house, full dress lights, 100-foot wooden bar ─ and colorful past.
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