Posted by: Brad Nixon | December 7, 2011

Kalakala Update: For Sale!

Scant weeks ago, we discovered the Kalakala, a spectacular streamline moderne ferry that once plied the waters of Puget Sound. Dad and I first encountered it in the form of a 75 foot-wide mural on a building in Port Angeles, Washington by artist Cory Ench.

Kalakala Ferry Mural Panorama Brad Nixon (800x238)

CLICK HERE to see my original post about our discovery.

I assumed that mural was a far-out idealization of another era of travel, along the lines of the futuristic inventions one used to see featured in Mechanics Illustrated. I was stunned to discover that the ferry in the mural is a real object, still berthed near Tacoma. The blog post generated a reasonable amount of attention, including from a young blogger in Washington, Shawn, who’s a volunteer in the effort to restore and save the Kalakala from extinction.

Now, in a post dated December 3, 2011, Shawn tells us that the owner of Kalakala, Steve, who’s invested heavily in an attempt to restore Kalakala and see it return to service, has put the ship up for sale.

She could be yours. Asking price: one dollar or best offer.

CLICK HERE to read Shawn’s blog announcing the decision. Once you’re at her blog, you can read through many other articles she’s posted about this captivating visitor from another era. Give her a hit or two; she’s done a good job of capturing a real-life drama about the restoration.

Kalakala Ferry historical photo

Kalakala in its heyday

It’s a daunting task, to be sure. The ship must be brought into compliance with Coast Guard regulations in order to remain afloat, and, given the long, tortuous history of this icon of design, the challenges are immense. It has suffered endless indignities during its 77 years of existence. Still, it would be wonderful to see it sail again.

Visit, the official website, for details about the current offer of investment/sale. (There are more historic photos there, too.)

If you know someone who’s looking for that perfect worthy cause in the name of timeless design, or a retiree who needs something to keep them off the golf course and out of the pub, pass them the word: Kalakala is waiting. I regret that I will not be Kalakala’s saviour. However, I volunteer to be first in line to buy a ticket when it sails again.

An update to this post relates the subsequent acquisition of Kalakala by another owner: CLICK HERE.

November, 2015: Kalakala was scrapped in early 2015. I have a final word about her HERE.

Kalakala mural is the work of Cory Ench. No commercial use of any kind permitted without express permission of the artist.

© Brad Nixon 2011, 2017


  1. This looks like something out of a James Bond movie!


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