Kalakala Ferry to Return to Kirkland as Public Art Along Cross Kirkland Corridor

Kirkland purchases parts of iconic ferry Kalakala to be placed on Cross Kirkland Corridor

The streamlined ferry from the future, the M/V Kalakala was launched from Kirkland's Lake Washington Shipyards, in Houghton, on July 2, 1935 (at the current site of Carillon Point). The vessel carried commenting workers between Seattle and the Bremerton Naval Shipyards between 1935 and 1967. Kalakala spent the next 31 years in Alaska, serving as a crab processor in Dutch Harbor and later near Kodiak where it was run aground and used as a fish cannery.

The only thing left of the iconic art deco ferry that bears any resemblance to its original rounded-steel hull is the pilot house.

Now sliced in half, the rusted, elongated dome rested Saturday on a flatbed trailer with a noticeable dent, waiting to be delivered to its new owner.

Private buyers bought some of the more prestigious pieces of the boat, including the pilot house, bulkheads with windows, rudder and cargo doors to preserve a small piece of the state’s maritime history.

The city of Kirkland also purchased a piece of the vessel to be placed in a park, said Mike Lano Sr. of Rhine Demolition Inc. Lano was the manager in charge of the boat’s structural demolition.

He said he expects some of the salvaged items to pop up in Seattle for people to view.
— Tacoma News Tribune

After several failed attempts to raise funds to restore her, Kalakala was unceremoniously hauled around Pugest Sound waters, a rusting hulk from a long gone era. She was moved to Tacoma in September 2004, her final port of call.

On February 11, the City of Kirkland approved the purchase of several "souvenirs" salvaged from the historic M/V Kalakala to adorn the Cross Kirkland Corridor as public art. The items authorized for purchase include:

  • Wheel room (excluding the front section made of copper)
  • Two large doors - where cards entered
  • Valve wheels (4)
  • Hand railings
  • Top silver section of the front of the boat with approximately 6 port holes


The authorized purchase price for this salvaged piece of Kirkland history was $50,000. 

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Tacoma News Tribune