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Was This Boeing's First Ship?

Sat Apr 09, 2005 11:45 am

With thanks to the ugly cars thread... This post is a little tongue-in-cheek, but fun.

Not built from the keel up, but everything above the main deck designed by

Boeing engineer and airplane model maker, Louis Proctor, moonlighting for Capt. Peabody, shapes a 5' builders model of the new streamlined design.

The reason why I say that this may be Boeing's first "unofficial" ship is because Boeing has built hydrofoils before, in an attempt to diversify the company.

KALAKALA's original incarnation as San Francisco Bay Ferry, PERALTA - Vernon J. Sappers Collection

PERALTA hull at Lake Washington Shipyard, November 1934 - John F. Snapp photograph

This photo shows how revolutionary the KALAKALA was in 1935, compared to the BAINBRIDGE, a typical ferry of the day. Don Gray Collection.

The KALAKALA makes the final run across the Tacoma Narrows - Tacoma Public Library

She was built like a typical Boeing: tough. (not that this excuses running into things)

November 4, 1936 KALAKALA and the ferry CHIPPEWA collide in Rich Passage and tears a 40-foot hole in the latter. The KALAKALA is only dented and breaks some windows. Five cars on the CHIPPEWA are demolished.

September 27, 1938 The KALAKALA rams Colman dock. Ten passengers are slightly injured. In the same year, she shears pilings on the Bremerton side as well.

1943 The KALAKALA rams a barge off Glover Point, knocking two railroad cars into Puget Sound. The KALAKALA is barely damaged - and found not to be at fault.

August 1949 The KALAKALA rams Colman Dock. Witnesses declare that it looked like she would continue up Marion to 1st. Ave. The KALAKALA suffers a small hole and is taken out of service for only one day. Colman Dock is closed for six months.

February 21, 1966 The KALAKALA rams the brand new WSF ferry terminal in Seattle. The rammed slip is out of commission for two months. The KALAKALA returns to service in a few weeks.

She also carried the United States' first commercial radar:
February 4, 1946 The KALAKALA receives the first commercial radar, FCC license # 001.

She was powered by a 10-piston, 3,000 horsepower Busch-Sulze, which was the most powerful ever installed in a ferry at that time, and had the longest crankshaft of any boat for many years. And yes, it's that Busch. Augie Busch kept his brewery open during Prohibition by building diesel engines.

Looking forward in KALAKALA's original upper observation lounge. - Asahel Curtis photo - Washington State Historical Society

After being sold in 1967, due to larger and more efficient ferries coming online, Kalakala was transformed into a cannery and eventually grounded in Kodiak, Alaska.

Today, there is a restoration effort. I'm a fan of the Art Deco period, and I wish them the best luck and success.

Tuesday, March 9, 2004 - the KALAKALA heads into the Ballard Locks. Photo courtesy Art Skolnik
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RE: Was This Boeing's First Ship?

Sat Apr 09, 2005 12:25 pm

Well if it is a Boeing... now we know where the 737 eyebrow-windows come from  Wink

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