The bilge pumps failed, the restaurant tipped and dropped to the shallow bottom while its piano floated around the cocktail lounge.
ON THE FRIDAY morning of June 8, 1956, the graduating seniors of Bellevue High School were served a “pirate breakfast” aboard the Four Winds floating restaurant at the southwest corner of Lake Union. By then, many of the 194 seniors were surely nodding after an “All Night Party” of movies, dancing Dixieland and a nightclub show at Seattle’s Town and Country Club. All was paid for by their parents, who also served as chaperones.
For the seniors, the pirate theme was extended that morning with gifts of jewelry, aka booty. For the city, the thieves’ theme was marked by what the eccentric restaurant’s management advertised as their “huge pirate atop the ship Four Winds, Headquarters for the Seattle Seafair Pirates.”
Ron Edge found a print of this years ago in Bernie’s antique shop on Bothell Way before Bernie closed the shop for good. Ron Jensen, the photographer, is listed in the 1956 City Directory as a City Light photographer, and herein lies an irony. On July 22, 1966, the Surfside 9 (its last name) sank into Lake Union for want of paying City Light. When the bilge pumps failed, the restaurant tipped and dropped to the shallow bottom while its piano floated around the cocktail lounge.
Built in Everett in 1900 as the City of Everett, the long-lived mosquito fleet steamer was later widened into the auto ferry Ballard for Puget Sound crossings to Port Ludlow.
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The Four Winds, aka Surfside 9, will be remembered by many magazine readers because the sunken vessel rusted and rotted until lifted in 1972 by Mason Construction’s floating derrick, the Viking. In the environmental spirit then prevalent, Mason donated the Viking’s labor and the Army Corps contributed two haul-away barges. The Corps buried the pieces in a landfill near Everett.
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