The 276-foot Kalaka was torn apart piece by piece in Tacoma.

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She was loved more for her looks than her performance.

The sleek, art deco ferry Kalakala served on Puget Sound from the mid-1930s until 1967, shaking and rattling her way across the waters mainly on the Seattle-Bremerton route.

The sleek, Art Deco ferry Kalakala served on Puget Sound from the mid-1930’s until 1967,shaking and rattling her way across the waters mainly on the Bremerton route. Now, it’s being deconstructed. (Alan Berner / The Seattle Times)

“It shook a lot, it always vibrated, making your teeth chatter,” says Don Duncan, retired Seattle Times writer who first rode the vessel in 1935 and likened it to a DeSoto Airflow.

The 276-foot Kalaka is still shaking, but now as Rhine Demolition is tearing her apart on a dock in Tacoma.

Mike Lano, superintendent with Rhine, says, “It’s putting up a fight. It doesn’t go quietly,” as steel panels are ripped away and smashed.

Large excavators crush, then load scrap into tractor-trailers.

Light pours through holes where rivets are long gone. You can see through what once were walls into compartments. The steel hull has eroded, and what remains is paper thin.

People are calling, wanting souvenirs — nuts, bolts, rivets.

Rhine is saving the copper-clad wheelhouse, light fixtures, railings, rudder, anything unique to the vessel.

There were several failed restoration dreams for the Kalakala, long ago deemed a hazard to navigation. “It was way beyond it,” Lano says.

Rest in peace.