Recently while browsing through one of the new books in the store (a definite perk of working at Nautical Mind) I came across a model someone had built of the MV Kalakala. The ship was incredible looking, like nothing I had ever seen on the water.
I decided I had to look into her story. Kalakala was originally built in the 1920’s as the Peralta, but when Peralta burned in 1933 the hull was sold to new owners who decided to go all out with their construction. The new owners happened to be the Puget Sound Navigation Company, and the Kalakala served as a ferry in Puget Sound from 1935 to 1967. Nowawdays the hull is sitting in Tacoma awaiting her fate. The Coast Guard has declared it a hazard to navigation, but there is a dedicated team of volunteers trying to save the beautiful ship. You can read more about the ship and the efforts to save her at kalakala.org
While doing my research I also came across another incredible art deco ship, the SS Admiral. She was built as a Mississippi steamboat, and cruised the river for may years. Unfortunately she has recently been taken to the breakers yard, as it was going to be far too costly to bring the ship back to her former glory and up to Coast Guard safety standards.
I could not find any website specifically about the Admiral, but this page does have some great photos and personal recollections.
To read more about these amazing ships, and others like them, you can check out Ship Style: Modernism and Modernity at Sea