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January 20, 2015 at 10:42 AM

Kalakala headed to demolition site this week

The Washington State ferry Kalakala at Coleman Dock in 1946. (Seattle Times archives)

The Washington State ferry Kalakala at Coleman Dock in 1946. (Seattle Times archives)

The owner of the former state ferry Kalakala said the 1927-vintage vessel  will be moved this week to a site where it can be demolished.

The 276-foot boat, which has been moored in Tacoma’s Hylebos Waterway since 2004, will be moved Wednesday night and Thursday morning to a type of dry dock called a “graving dock,” on the nearby Blair Waterway, said Karl Anderson, senior vice president of Concrete Technology Corp.

Anderson said he wasn’t sure when the actual demolition will start, because it’s not clear how long it will take to secure the boat.

Coast Guard boats will accompany the Kalakala, which has been deemed a hazard to navigation.

Anderson, who took over ownership of the vessel in 2012 after the boat’s previous owner failed to pay rent, said the hull is too fragile to support workmen working with torches,  so it will be crushed piece-by-piece by an excavator.

Since word came out early this month of Anderson’s plans, he said most of the people who have contacted him have thanked him for removing the eyesore.  The remains of the boat are so fragile, Anderson said, inspectors have told him the barnacles and mussels on the hull are all that’s holding it together.

He has heard from several people who said they wanted to make a last-ditch effort to save the art-deco boat.  Anderson said he was willing to sell the boat for $1 if a new ower would move it by Wednesday this week, but no realistic proposals came forward.

“And I haven’t heard from anyone who thinks we’re destroying a national treasure,” Anderson said.

The Kalakala was a state ferry from the 1930s to the 1960s, often used on the Seattle-Bremerton route.  Later, it was beached in Kodiak, Alaska, and used as a fish cannery.

It was towed back to Seattle in 1998, but efforts to raise enough money to restore it were unsuccessful.

 

 

Comments | Topics: Kalakala, Washington State Ferry

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