Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

April 12, 2013

Kalakala

There was a wonderful old art deco ferry in Washington State, called the Kalakala. It's pronounced: kah-LAK-ah-lah, not Kala Kala.  lol  She was the world's first streamlined ferry and was launched in 1926.  'Kalakala' means bird in the local Chinook language.  She ran between Seattle and Bremerton.

There she is in her hey day.  She was the second most popular attraction at the Seattle World's Fair of 1962, after the Space Needle.  She was not without problems, however.  It had vibration issues and was hard to dock.  Retired in 1967, she was purchased by a fish canning company and sent to Alaska as a factory ship, then as a crabbing ship, and finally beached in Kodiak, AK in 1970 to be used for shrimp processing.

Here's a mural of it in Port Angeles.

It was refloated, towed back to Seattle in late 1998 and moored at Lake Union where it continued to be a controversial eyesore.  No one wanted to spend the money to refurbish it.  It was then towed way out to Neah Bay, the farthest Northwestern point in the state, in 2004.  It was almost immediately evicted by the Makah tribe and then towed back to Tacoma.

Poor old thing began to list horribly in Tacoma.  The Coast Guard declared it a navigation hazard, and the owners tried to sell it for $1.00.  There were no takers.  

It's now in such bad shape that restoration may not even be possible.  A very sad ending to the grand lady of Puget Sound.

25 comments:

  1. Fascinating story. Ships are intriguing...there's just something about them that is so special. Great photos.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a fascinating story with wonderful photos! So sad this ship wasn't saved!

    Thanks for your visit!

    Mary Montague Sikes

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ahh, she was a beauty... such a pity no one could restore her.
    A month of Blog...

    ReplyDelete
  4. That's too bad, it was a pretty boat when it was new.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Never heard of that place, but the poor ferry came to a sad end. I used to take the ferry to Bainbridge Island sometimes to visit a cousin who was living there. Always picked up some fried clams from Ivar's while I was waiting.

    Lee
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

    ReplyDelete
  6. Eep. They need to get rid of that eyesore.

    ReplyDelete
  7. A fascinating story of an invention ahead of her time. In Britain she'd probably have listed status (a preservation order). Unfortunately it seems that she has listed already :)
    Happy A to Z-ing
    Jemima at Jemima's blog

    ReplyDelete
  8. My hubby used to live in Washington state (Issaquah to be precise). I showed him your post as he had attended the Seattle World's Fair back then, but he said he had no recollection of this grand old ferry boat.
    Sad to see it became such a derelict and I think you are right; there is probably not much that can be done to restore it after so many years of neglect. Perhaps the best they could do is make a memorial for her with old photos, press releases and scale models. As for the ferry itself I'm sure that much of the metal could be salvaged and recycled - which is better than just letting it rust away.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have never heard of this ship myself, but certainly loved reading about it. So sad that the life of this ship has to end like this :(

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have never heard of this ship myself, but certainly loved reading about it. So sad that the life of this ship has to end like this :(

    ReplyDelete
  11. What an amazing design for a boat. Personally I think it's a crying shame to let it go to rot.

    If only I were to win the lottery big...

    Very good post, Jojo - until reading this I never knew the vessel existed. Thank you for educating me :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. What a shame... she was a real beauty in her day!

    Every time I read or hear about "Port Angeles", I think of Twilight.

    I am such a nerd.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Sad to see anything becoming old and worn out and not wanted by anyone.

    ReplyDelete
  14. That's tragic. They should put it in its own museum in dry dock.

    ReplyDelete
  15. The photos tell the sad story. What a cool looking ship in its prime!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Perhaps the cost of refurbishing the ferry was too much.

    Something has to go when modernization replaces an older method. We have ferries in British Columbia too. It's expensive to ride them with your car.

    An interesting bit of history!

    ReplyDelete
  17. How sad! It would interesting to be aboard now (even in such horrible shape) just to peak into history. Great post!
    Peanut Butter and Whine

    ReplyDelete
  18. She didn't very pretty and appeared about as seaworthy as a plank, but what a sad, sad ending.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Cool looking ferry! Too bad that it's in such bad condition now.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Awww, all she needs is a good back scrub and for Scotty to fix her engines.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I love boats. This is a heartbreaking story...

    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

    ReplyDelete
  22. How interesting!! Loved the pictures.

    http://STFU4ABetterRelationship.WordPress.com

    ReplyDelete
  23. This was interesting and I loved seeing the photos!

    Kathy
    http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks everyone and it's a very sad thing to see. It would have made a great floating restaurant if they'd just fixed it up. Now it's too late.

    ReplyDelete
  25. So sad. It could have been an amazing floating restaurant like you say...

    ReplyDelete