Founder of Argosy Cruises turns 100

Lynn Campbell’s 100th birthday is on Sunday, October 9th, 2011.

Join us in celebrating the birthday of Lynn, who began what was originally Spring Street Water Taxi, renamed Seattle Harbor Tours, and is now Argosy Cruises.

An early Harbor Cruise

Born in Relief, North Carolina on October 9, 1911, Captain Lynn Campbell or Lennie, as he was called, turns 100 this week.  He is friendly, devoted to the waterfront, an ardent outdoorsman, and still lives locally on Bainbridge Island. Here are a few highlights of his busy life.

He is the third son of Thomas and Mary Jane Campbell who farmed and ran a store in the hills of N.C. While still in his teens wanderlust struck Lynn and he headed west. He financed his way working for a traveling carnival lighting their fireworks. Reaching Seattle he signed aboard ships sailing between Seattle and Alaska where his love for the sea began.

With the outbreak of WWII he was turned down for the military service because of a childhood car and train collision so he signed up with Isaacson Steel pouring the huge buckets of molten steel that built tanks and planes for the war effort.  After the war he and a partner started a tugboat log patrol business here in the Northwest and became a familiar sight around Puget Sound. In 1949, at Pier 55, Lynn started Spring Street Water Taxi Company, ferrying people from Seattle to Manchester.

The bustling waterfront enjoying Seattle Harbor Tours

All this cruising gave him a desire to share the beauty and interest all around him with the public. However at the time our now prospering and pleasant waterfront was a workplace with the bows of great ships shadowing the street and boats unloading and processing fish.

But by the next year, he began the one hour Harbor Cruise that took sightseers on a circle tour around the bay with wonderful views of the city, lighthouses and mountains. Then up the Duwamish River to see the dry docks building and repairing ships and to the shipyards loading and unloading from ports all over the Pacific Rim.

Captain Campbell at the wheel

He prided himself that there were no recordings and passengers were treated to live historic stories and current events around the bay. The personal touch was everything. He would always end the tour by saying “Ladies and gentlemen. If you have enjoyed the tour please tell your friends and neighbors because word of mouth is our best advertising.” It worked like a charm and more boats were added until the fleet of Goodtime boats became an everyday sight around the Bay and Sound. It has always been said that he did business with a handshake and his word was gold.


The 1962 the Seattle World Fair provided Captain Campbell with the opportunity to add regularly scheduled tours to Tillicum Village on Blake Island for authentic Indian baked salmon. He and his wife Alice (1920 – 2010) were married in 1967, and together enjoyed running what had become Seattle Harbor Tours. In 1986, after more than 35 years of showing off his city’s water, a huge celebration was held on the pier attended by the Mayor, friends and associates acknowledging his contribution to the great success of the waterfront development. He sold and retired from the six-vessel company in 1990.

Captain Lynn Campbell

Today Argosy is proud to still be a family run company with its roots in a man like Lynn. Happy 100th Birthday, Lynn!


We are offering Lynn’s iconic one hour Harbor Cruise at half price on Sunday to celebrate. Just mention Lynn’s Birthday!


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