SLIDESHOW: The MV Kalakala comes to Salty’s on Alki
Possibly the most famous ferry to ever sail the waters of Puget Sound, the art deco era MV Kalakala, after years of service and even more in moorage has found a final place in West Seattle at Salty’s on Alki.
The ferry was scrapped in a Tacoma dry dock in late January.
Salty’s owner Gerry Kingen bought the parts, which have been placed at the north end of the Salty’s parking lot on both east and west sides with the stern, and rudder assembly facing out to Elliott Bay, and other parts on facing Harbor Ave. SW.
Kingen has plans in place to incorporate these and other parts into the design of a 12 to 15 room boutique hotel he plans to build on the Salty’s site in the next 3 to 5 years. The existing concrete and rebar pieces that are in the location were moved to fit the ferry pieces, by Ness Cranes who did the work on Tuesday Feb. 10.
The Kalakala was built in 1926 and sailed on Puget Sound from 1935 until her retirement in 1967.
The streamlined design was typical of the art deco era and the ferry was popular with residents and visitors alike. During the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair the Kalakaua was voted second only to the Space Needle as an attraction.
She was originally called the Peralta and served in San Francisco but in 1933 the Peralta burned, completely destroying her superstructure. With the hull still intact the vessel was sold to the Puget Sound Navigation Company (PSNC), also called the "Black Ball Line" the subject of a famous Bing Crosby song. The company a refitting near Kirkland to restore the vessel as a ferry.
The newly outfitted vessel was called Kalakala, which means “bird” in the native American Chinook language.
During its service the ferry was noted for being hard to navigate, and suffered from heavy vibrations, thought to be caused by poor alignment of the engines.
She was retired from service in 1967.
She was was towed to Alaska and was converted as a seafood processing ship first for crabbing and later to process shrimp and finally as a cannery where she was beached in Kodiak.
In 1998, she was refloated and towed back to Seattle where she was moored in Union Bay. The dream of restoring the Kalakala could never get enough public or private investment and according after a series of exchanges of ownership, moorages, and legal entanglements it was announced that she would be scrapped.
The final owner of the complete vessel, Karl Anderson announced that the Kalakala would be scrapped and in late January she was towed to a Tacoma dry dock where she was dismantled.