The world’s first streamlined vessel

6-PC 2-6-13.tif

By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
Northeast News
February 6, 2013

Once the pride of the Black Ball Line, the Ferry Kalakala was, and quite frankly, still is the world’s first streamlined ferry. The Kalakala was originally built as the Ferry Peralta in 1926. An arson fire in May of 1933, however, spelled the end of the Peralta as it was once known. The ship’s hull was largely intact after the blaze, and in October 1933 she was sold to the Puget Sound Navigation Company for the princely sum of $6,500.

Captain Alexander Peabody commissioned Boeing Engineer Louis Proctor to design something modern and streamlined, something in line with the Art Deco style that was all the rage in the 1930s. The result was the world’s first streamlined vessel, the Kalakala, the Chinook term for flying bird.

On July 3,1935, the Kalakala made her maiden voyage to a ticker tape parade and much fanfare. Carrying 500 invited guests of the Puget Sound Navigation Company, the Kalakala steamed on her maiden voyage from Seattle to Bremerton, Wash. More than 8,000 people greeted the ferry at the dock at 4 p.m. The next day, the Kalakala began daily service between Bremerton and Seattle, making six trips daily. A moonlight cruise was offered, too, complete with dinner, dancing and live music by Joe Bowen and the Flying Birds.

The Kalakala maintained daily service through October 1967 when she completed her last trip as one of Washington’s longest running ferry services. She was sold to a crab processing facility in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Over the next 20 or so years, she was sold from one processing company to the next. At one point, the old vessel was towed to Kodiak, Alaska, floated into a sand bed and beached until 1992 when proceedings began to buy the ferry from the state of Alaska and restore her, which were undertaken by a local sculptor and commercial fisherman. In 1998, the Kalakala was re-floated and towed back to Seattle for restoration. Sadly, however, proposal after proposal have failed to produce the proper funding to restore the hulking, Art Deco stainless steel vessel. In November of 2012 she was sold at auction to a Tacoma businessman who is entertaining ideas for the ship, including either scrapping or restoration.

The promotional postcard was sent on Feb. 25, 1945, to Mr. & Mrs. J.A. Eakins of Ottumwa, Iowa. The personal message reads: “Gene and I just crossed to Bremerton on this ferry. We are staying at a tourist cabin near the ocean in Aberdeen. Have seen Grandpa and Leslie. Plan to see Fritz too. Received you’re your letter yesterday, sure glad to hear from you. Hope you are fine. We are. Will be here a week. Love, Margie.”

 

 

Comments are closed.

  • Mt. Washington still a peaceful respite

    November 12th, 2014
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News November 12, 2014 This postcard published by the Webb-Freyschlag Mercantile Company shows a peaceful view […]


    Eagle’s lodge once a place of history

    November 5th, 2014
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News November 5, 2014 This week we take a look at the Queen Anne-styled James Ogelbay […]


    Haunting Halloween Greetings

    October 28th, 2014
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News October 29, 2014 Marked by old greeting postcards like these, the tradition of Halloween traces […]


    KC’s first fire fighters honored

    October 21st, 2014
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News October 22, 2014 In March 1867, the Missouri Legislature granted permission to allow Kansas City, […]


    Majestic hours once lived on Armour Blvd

    October 14th, 2014
    by

    This postcard published by the Elite Postcard Company of Kansas City doubles as an advertising postcard for the Jenkins Music […]


  • Parade's a downtown tradition

    October 7th, 2014
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News October 8, 2014 This week’s historic postcard is a Real Photo postcard that shows a […]


    It’s American Royal time again!

    September 30th, 2014
    by

    By Michael Bushnell Northeast News October 1, 2014 About two years after the opening of the “new” Hannibal Bridge over […]


    Oldsmobile Rhythmic ride!

    September 23rd, 2014
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News September 24, 2014 This marketing postcard was produced by the Oldsmobile Motor Company for Kansas […]


    Brush Creek synonymous with Plaza living

    September 16th, 2014
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News September 17, 2014 This Kodachrome postcard published in the late 1950s shows the numerous apartment […]


    Grand Old Opera house

    September 9th, 2014
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News September 10, 2014 The Grand Opera House located at Seventh and Walnut is this week’s […]


  • Local Weather