Arriving from San Francisco on December 16, 1937 was the ferry Golden Age, which Black Ball renamed Klahanie. Black Ball assigned the vessel to the
Edmonds-Port Townsend route on 21 January 1938, where the ferry worked until the first Elwha replaced her. The Klahanie moved to the Winslow (Bainbridge
Island) route where she remained until 1950, working with near sister Kehloken.
State ownership changed her livery and her profile. In an effort to distinguish her from the Chetzemoka, WSF covered her large rectangular windows on the
car deck with plywood sheets, each with a round "porthole" in the center. This actually made the Klahanie look more like her cousins, the Steel Electric Class,
which also had their large windows replaced by portholes during the 1950's.
From 1950 until 1958 the Klahanie worked the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Harper route. She was the last ferry to make a landing at Harper in September of 1958,
after which time ferry traffic began using the new dock at Southworth.
Her career began to slow after 1958. Starting in 1959 she worked the Kingston route, with daily service in the summer but only weekends in the fall, winter, and
After eight years as a Kingston ferry, the state moved the Klahanie to Fauntleroy in 1968 where she operated as the third boat, working five days a week.
Finally retired and taken out of service in 1972, the ferry spent a few years at Eagle Harbor, then was purchased in 1975 to be a floating shopping center and
restaurant in California, but for some reason the Klahanie never went south. After spending time in Everett, the ferry was moved to Tacoma. There were
questions about who actually owned the vessel at the time, and it was seized by US marshals. She was sold again, this time the ferry landed in the mud along
the banks of the Duwamish River.
The Klahanie's last years are, sadly, probably the ones she is most remembered for. Thousands of people saw her rotting remains slowly decaying on the
shore of the Duwamish River behind Boeing Field. Her passenger cabin began to fall in and fall apart, exposing it to the elements and further decay.
After a humiliating decade of decline, the ferry either caught or was set on fire in late July of 1990. News reports of the incident at the time did not even include
her name—she was already that forgotten.
The ferry burned to the hull and remained a crumbling wreck along the Duwamish. When the first Superfund monies arrived to clean up the river, the carcass
of the Klahanie was finally broken up in late 1998. Today the spot is marked with a "recovery" estuary for ongoing restoration of the much-neglected Duwamish
BUILT: 1928, General Engineering & Drydock Co., Alameda, CA PREVIOUS/LATER NAMES: a. Golden Age, b. Klahanie
OFFICIAL NUMBER: 227249 CALL SIGN: WG7101 L/B/D: 241 x 57 x 11' GROSS/NET TONNAGE: 779/480 PASSENGERS/AUTOS: 601/55
PROPULSION: Ingersoll Rand, Diesel Electric, 1200 HP SPEED: 10 knots
NAME TRANSLATION: Chinook, “great out of doors.”
FINAL DISPOSITION: Upper works destroyed by fire, 29 July 1990; hull broken up by the Department of Natural Resources as part of the Duwamish River
habitat restoration, 1998.
The Klahanie in 1937.
At left, the Golden Age sailing past Alcatraz.
Right, the Klahanie in 1990, just weeks before the fire. The full scale decay of the vessel is evident. Photo courtesy of Tom Sanislo.
Below, the burned out hulk on the Duwamish. Courtesy of Brandon Moser.