Sailors, Scavengers and Souvenirs

By Washington, Our Home|March 13, 2015|History, Puget Sound, Western Washington|1 comments

On the morning of Friday, March 13, 2015, the bones of Washington’s most well-known ferry were picked clean. Kalakala supporters who desperately searched for years for a way to save the prodigious icon could finally relegate their desire to restore the grand ship to the what-could-have-been. And history buffs longing to claim a piece of her for their own could finally do so, for as little as ten bucks.

Kalakala crowdI couldn’t help wondering if we were saviors or scavengers.

At first, the scene looked like any other estate sale. Without a second thought about the one who had passed, resellers and artifact-hunters clambered to get first dibs on a hatch, or a door, or a railing, or set of stairs. The image of beetles and flies finishing off a carcass even briefly entered my mind. But the more I listened to the conversations going on around me in the enormous and ever-growing checkout line, the more I began to see that those who showed up early we here to honor the old matriarch, not pound nails into her coffin.

Like me, many of these folks were eager for a tactile historical experience. Some were talking about the fond memories they had as children, recalling standing on the bow of the passenger deck with their arms outstretched like the cliché scene from an oft-quoted movie. Others talked about having worked for the ferry system all those years ago, and remembered seeing the Kalakala pass by on the routes that crisscrossed the Sound.

kalakalaStill others, myself included, recognized the importance of such a unique and wonderful icon to Washington state history. As memorable as the narrows bridge or the space needle, the Kalakala will forever be remembered as the art deco flagship of a world-renown ferry system; a tough old gal who lived past her prime but met her end with dignity and grace. Still afloat.

The newspaper reported all the Kalakala items had sold out in just over an hour. But I, too, got my small token to keep the Kalakala in my thoughts from time to time.

Kalakala brassClick any of these images to see a gallery on Flickr.

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About Washington, Our Home

My name is Erich R. Ebel. I was born in Spokane and moved to Colville, Bothell, Tacoma, and back to Spokane again, all before I was 14. I attended Washington State University in Pullman, graduated and moved back to Spokane. In 2000, I enlisted in the United State Army Reserve and spent six months at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Then it was back to Spokane. After six years, it was time to get out and see the world. And what better place to start than Las Vegas, Nevada! I met my beautiful wife while working at KVBC-TV in Las Vegas, and after three years of suffering in the extreme heat and undeniably long nights, we were called back to Washington State. Landing first in Lakewood, we suffered for a year in an uncomfortably old and small apartment before a shooting and a kidnapping in our complex strongly urged us to leave town. After relocating to Lacey, we have now settled and spend as much time as we can exploring the fine facets of this beautiful state. From Tenino to Tonasket, Brewster to Blaine and Vader to Vancouver, I have enjoyed every moment of this great state.

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  1. Pingback: USS Plainview: The ship that flew | Washington, Our Home

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