Statement of Significance (as of designation - December 14, 1990):
Built in 1898, BERKELEY is the oldest essentially unmodified passenger and car ferry in the United States, and is the best example of the 3 surviving propeller-driven ferries of the double-ended type, the best known American ferry type. In her 60-year career, BERKELEY survived worked in a rough service around the nationally significant Port of San Francisco. BERKELEY, alone of all American ferries, retains her original, unmodified 19th century steam plant. Moored on the San Diego waterfront, she serves as a floating repository for the San Diego Maritime Museum's collections.