Kalakala making final sailing to scrapyard

Time has run out on the Art Deco ferry Kalakala, which wobbled between Bremerton and Seattle for 35 years. Tacoma industrialist Karl Anderson, who wound up with the Silver Slug through foreclosure in 2012 and has been barely keeping the rotting, rusting vessel afloat, plans to scrap it. He’ll have it towed to a nearby graving yard on Jan. 22, according to a story in The News Tribune.
Anderson was just being a nice guy when he let dreamer Steve Rodrigues moor the Kalakala on his company’s property on Hylebos Waterway. It had already been booted from Seattle’s Pier 66, Lake Union and Neah Bay while awaiting restoration.
Rodrigues wasn’t good about paying the cheap moorage or maintaining the boat, so two years ago Anderson foreclosed on it. He didn’t want the Kalakala, but hoped to prevent it from sinking and fouling the bay. He’s spent $500,000 keeping it safe and secure, and will put out at least that much on demolition.
It’s hard to believe what happened to the cool ship. Washington State Ferries sold it in 1967 to an outfit that towed it to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and turned it into a crab processing operation. In 1971, it was sold again and towed to Kodiak for use as a fish cannery. It was abandoned when the operation failed.
It just sat there until a Seattle artist had it towed home to Seattle in 1998. It was in awful shape and nobody ever succeeded in raising the funds to restore it, though there was much talk from several cities, including Bremerton.

I was 12 when the Kalakala stopped ferrying people. I don’t remember riding on it, but my mom and dad and a whole lot of you do.