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.

  • Park lit up the night and imaginations

    October 11th, 2017
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News   Electric Park View is the title of this postcard published in 1913 for Electric Park […]


    In the beginning, Northeast High School is newly constructed

    October 4th, 2017
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News According to the Nor’easter, Volume 1, Number 1, under the leadership of Editor Nathan Scarritt, the […]


    Racetrack’s legacy endures

    September 27th, 2017
    by

    Michael Bushnell The Northeast News The Kansas City-Smithville Race Track grandstands and the first turn are pictured on this postcard […]


    Kansas City’s First Streetcars

    September 20th, 2017
    by

    by Michael Bushnell Northeast News Kansas City’s street railway began humbly in 1869 with the advent of small, animal-drawn  cars […]


    Benton Circle: The Early Days

    September 13th, 2017
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News This week, we feature a card John Straley published between 1925-1930 titled “The Benton Circle,” […]


  • Community still served from stately edifice

    September 6th, 2017
    by

    In January of 1885 a lot at the corner of 9th and Harrison was purchased by T.M. James for the […]


    A tribute to the American worker

    August 30th, 2017
    by

    By Michael Bushnell Northeast News The postcards shown this week are real photo postcards from the estate of long-time Northeast […]


    Memories of the 1908 flood

    August 23rd, 2017
    by

    By M. Bushnell The Northeast News This week’s postcard shows the result of countless days of rain and the lack […]


    “One of the greatest playgrounds in America”

    August 16th, 2017
    by

    by Michael Bushnell Northeast News The description inside this vintage 1930s Curt Teich linen postcard folder of the Lake of […]


    The Mother Of All Rallies

    August 9th, 2017
    by

    By Michael Bushnell Northeast News In honor of the 77th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in the Black Hills of South […]


  • What’s Happening

    KCMO Parks Director elected president of national organization

    By Melissa Wharton Northeast News Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation Director Mark McHenry was elected in September as president […]

    Northeast Newscast Episode 29 w/ KCPD’s new Community Initiative Officer Jason Cooley

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News This week on the Northeast Newscast, KCPD’s newly appointed Community Initiative Officer, Jason Cooley, sits […]

    
New design revealed for high-crash Paseo Gateway intersection

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News According to Parks and Recreation project manager James Wang, the intersection of Independence Avenue and […]

  • Local Weather