Saturday, March 17, 2012


It's time for another "Anything Goes" saturday post!

Today's vintage photo features the Kalakala! "What's that, Major Pepperidge?" Well, the Kalakala was a wonderful streamlined art deco ferry that operated on Puget Sound from 1935 through 1967. Isn't it cool? "Kalakala" supposedly means "bird" in the Chinook Jargon.

After the Kalakala's retirement, it was towed to Alaska and used as a cannery for shrimp and crab, and was actually beached and turned into a building, with cement floors and drywall. The indignity! It was discovered in 1984 as a rusting hulk, after much negotiation, it was refloated and towed to Seattle. Since then, there has been much talk about restoring the ferry, but the owners have had trouble coming up with the money.

Here's a 2004 picture of the Kalakala in Neah Bay, Washington.

It was then relocated to Tacoma, Washington; as you can see, it is in rough shape!

At some point the vessel was listing dangerously, and the Coast Guard declared it to be a hazard to navigation. The current owner tried to sell it for $1 to a buyer who would agree to restore it, but as of now, no buyers have been found.

Let us remember the Kalakala in happier times, when it was used during the Century 21 Exposition in Seattle (1962)! In 1963, Seattle World's Fair visitors declared that the Kalakala was the second biggest attraction after the Space Needle.


TokyoMagic! said...

Awwww, what a sad ending for the Kalakala! Maybe the city of Long Beach would be interested in purchasing another boat?

Connie Moreno said...

What a shame!!! That was SUCH a cool looking boat!

Nanook said...

It is a very unique-looking vessal. I drove by its hulking, decaying self many a time while it was anchored in Lake Union, waiting for a benefactor to save it from the inevitable, which sadly has occurred. Never had the opportunity to walk its decks, or touch its hull, but I still think of it when I drive around Lake Union.

Irene said...

I don't think they will find anyone to buy and restore this. Sad really. Reminds me of what happened to the Great White Steamer that plied the waters between San Pedro (or Long Beach or Los Angeles Harbor) and Avalon on Catalina Island.

walterworld said...

Very interesting Major!

More abandoned ship stories please :)

Major Pepperidge said...

TM!, Something tells me that Long Beach doesn't want another old boat!

Connie, I know! I've never seen anything else like it.

Nanook, I gather that the Kalakala still exists, but obviously is in dire condition. I have to agree with irene - unless some miracle occurs, I can't see that - in this economy - that anyone will have the millions it would take to restore it.

Walterworld, I wish I had more!

Nancy said...

so cool, looks like something from outer space...but so sad.

Roger Colton said...

The Kalakala has a rather tragic history. It was originally in service on San Francisco Bay as the ferry Peralta - long before streamlining. In February of 1928 while crossing from Oakland to San Francisco as many as 40 people were swept overboard by a large wave in rough water. At least 10 and maybe more passengers lost their lives. in May of 1933, the Peralta burned to the waterline while tied up at the Key System pier on the Oakland side of the bay.

See the link for more -

Cora said...

I grew up in Seattle and there was often talk of the Kalakala and its on again/off again restoration plans on the news. I guess I forgot all about it since I moved. I'm sad to hear that it STILL has not been restored and can't even find a buyer for $1. Ouch.

Anonymous said...

I live in the place that the Kalakala was docked and grounded for years: Kodiak, Alaska. We had hoped someone would take it from the place it was rotting and return it to it's former glory.

Anonymous said...

I worked on her in the mid seventy,s in Kodiak