Of all ferries, this one fully deserves a good place in Dieselpunk Hall of Fame:
July 3, 1935 12:45 PM
The Kalakala commences her maiden voyage with great fanfare. With confetti and ticker tape, an estimated 100,000 citizens crowd Coleman Dock and the adjacent water-front to witness this remarkable event. Under command of Capt. Wallace Mangan the Kalakala makes a speed of 17.3 knots and is expected to do better after refinements are made. On board are 500 guests of the Puget Sound Navigation Company. 8000 people greet her as she makes port in Bremerton at 4:00PM. At 4:30PM she departs with 2000 school children for a cruise of the sound and upon her return she is open to the public from 6:00 till Midnight when she leaves to return to Seattle.*
"Before there was the Space Needle there was the Kalakala– serving as the principal symbol of Seattle and Puget Sound. The ferry was introduced in 1935 to help locals take their minds of the Great Depression. The Black Ball Line named her after the native Indians’ mythical “flying bird” and advertised her as the “world’s first streamlined ferry.” The publicity worked. Puget Sound’s first streamlined symbol was known from Peoria to Peking.**
"The Kalakala’s function, however, did not follow its form. It vibrated badly, and was not particularly fast. Its daily wartime work of transporting nearly 5,000 ship workers between Seattle and Bremerton earned it the proletarian title “Workhorse of the Sound.”
"The tear-shaped vessel was first sketched by the avant-garde industrial designer Norman Bell Geddes, and so apparently not by a Boeing engineer as is widely believed. Bell Geddes managed to design an auto ferry that did not resemble a steam-powered garage. The Kalakala’s aluminum skin was stretched over the burned-out hull of the San Francisco Bay ferry Peralta, towed north in 1934 for its transmutation.
"Here, the Kalakala is on an excursion through the Chittenden Locks on April 24, 1947. Twenty years later, her wings were clipped and she was towed to Kodiak, Alaska, where she was landlocked as a crab-processing plant. (This feature first appeared in Pacific on Nov. 3, 1991, when the magazine was still credited to both the big local pulps then, “The Seattle Times/Seattle Post-Intelligencer.”This explains the timing and hopeful fancy of the remaining copy.)
"Ever since, persons of energy and imagination have labored to bring the “flying bird” back to Puget Sound, the waterway for which she was once an international symbol. Most recently this effort has been organized by the Kalakala Foundation. "
P.S. The Kalakala still exists. Listing, deteriorating, her fate unclear, this magnificent ferry is alive - and must be saved.
And some more pictures of the Kalakala: