NEW CREWS REPLACE STRICKERS
Ferry Service Resumed; ‘Normal Operations’ Expected At End Of Week By Port Authority
The month-old Bee Line ferry strike is broken.
Limited service, with one of three boats in Operation, was restored yesterday morning at 7:30 o’clock.
Manned by newly-recruited crews from all parts of the state, the smallest of the boats —the Pinellas— maintained a regular schedule throughout the day. A second boat will be placed in service this morning. Normal operations are expected to be restored by the end of the week.
E. Leslie Cole, chairman of the St. Petersburg Port Authority—operating agency of the ferry between St. Petersburg and Bradenton, personally supervised the first “sailing”. He expressed
St. Petersburg Times – Nov 12, 1946
McNeely Takes Over Bee Line
Resignation of E. Roy Baldinger, manager of the Port Authority and head of the Bee Line ferry, was announced this morning by Walter E. Keyes, secretary-director of the state internal improvement commission. Baldinger has been with the commission as its St. Petersburg executive since the state took over the Tampa bay bridge project and the ferry system.
At the same time, Keyes announced appointment of Capt. E. Ray McNeely as successor to Baldinger. McNeely has been operating superintendent of the ferry line since the city acquired it. He had been with the old Bee Line ferry company since 1926 with the exception of the period from Mar. 1942 through Oct. 1945 during which he was with the U.S. Merchant marine. He returned on November ’45 to become cuperintendent for the city.
The Evening Independent – Aug 19, 1949 (Good picture of Baldinger, Keyes and McNeely. McNeely dies just 4 months and 10 days from this.)
Capt. McNeely Succeeds Baldinger as Port Manager
E. R. Baldinger yesterday resigned as Port Manager here for the Florida State Improvement Commission.
Commission Director Walter E. Keyes, who accepted the resignation “with regrets,” immediately appointed Capt. E. Ray McNeely to succeed Baldinger.
McNeely, a veteran ferry boat captain, has served for the past 21 years as superintendent of the Bee Line Ferry which is now operated by the Improvement Commission.
St. Petersburg Times – Aug 20, 1949
Capt. Eugene Ray McNeely
Bee Line Ferry Head, Dies
Capt. Eugene Ray McNeely, 57, operator for the state of the Bee Line ferry and connected with it since 1927, died this morning at his home, 1440 Fifteenth street south, after a protracted illness.
Of a long line of Mississippi steamboat captains and operators, McNeely entered the service of the ferry, then privately owned, immediately on coming here from Natchez, Miss. Previously he had operated the McNeely ferry between Natchez and Vidalia, La. A family enterprise.
Capt. McNeely soon rose in the service of the ferry company and for nearly 20 years was its marine superintendent. When the ferry was purchased by the St. Petersburg Port authority as a part of the promotion of the lower bay bridge plan, he continued in
The Evening Independent – Dec 30, 1949
Boats Made Beeline Across Tampa Bay
Fred Wright, Independent Reporter
Like the song says, on a clear day you can see forever – in this case, Manatee County from Pinellas.
Only about seven miles of water separate the two bodies of land.
For motorists, however, the land of Manatee was as far away from St. Petersburg — up to the 1920s — as if it had been half way across the state.
Now there’s the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, putting weekend vacationers and year-around tourists just a hop, skip and 50-cent toll apart from Pinellas and Manatee.
But up until the 1920s, the trip was formidable. To reach Manatee,
The Evening Independent – Oct 24, 1966