Former Names: Liberty, City of Everett. Built: Built in Everett in 1900. Rebuilt at the Ballard in 1931. Length: 134' Beam:
Propulsion: Washington Estep Diesel Horsepower 650
| The old ferry Ballard is probably remembered more for her stint on Lake Union as the "Four Winds" restaurant and later as the "Surfside 9" where she sank not only once, but twice.
Constructed in 1900 as the City of Everett the passenger steamer was stripped down to her hull and rebuilt as the Liberty in about 1924. She worked for the Kitsap County Transportation company, who eventually changed her over to a diesel ferry and renamed her Ballard.
As the Ballard, she worked on the Suquamish-Indianola-Ballard route for many years. Quite unrecognizable as her former trim Mosquito Fleet steamer, the ferry nevertheless had touches of elegance built into her. After taking over for KCTC, Black Ball pulled the Ballard from service and removed her diesel engine for use on the Rosario.
Sold off by Black Ball, she later opened as the upscale "Golden Anchors" and later the "Four Winds" and was a top-rated restaurant. Later, after the world's fair was over, she became the kitchey "Surfside 9" complete with an leering oversized pirate attached to her roof .
Then one morning in July, 1966 the cook arrived and found the dining room, kitchen and bar flooded with water that reached table-top level. A police patrol boat and the Seattle fire department were called in to pump the boat dry. Meanwhile a piano floated like an iceberg in the bar and the tropical fish in an aquarium stayed "dry" just inches from the lake water. She had settled upright in 24 feet of water after Seattle City Light had cut off the power for non-payment of the electric bill. The pumps in her bilge, which had been keeping her dry, stopped and the water filled the hull and the boat sank. The restaurant sued and the case ended up in the state supreme court, which ruled that City Light was within their rights to shut off the electricity for non-payment of the bill.
Dried out, the venerable ferry was purchased by Youth Adventures Inc and was about to be converted to a youth center when literally hours before she was to be moved into drydock on May 13,1967, she sank again, this time on an uneven keel at a 45 degree angle.
Raised a second time, the old ferry was finally broken up.
The rumor is that the policy at Seattle City Light has been to leave the power on to vessels despite deliquent bills ever since--figuring it better to rack up debt than to be the cause of sending a vessel to the bottom and creating a costly clean up mess instead.
|The interior of the Ballard was fairly plush, and included carpeting in the passenger cabin--something of a rarity at the time. At right, the Ballard in her prime. Author's collection.|
|To The SEATTLE
|Now serving seafood....
The old ferry Ballard went through a number of name changes and owners as the years progressed. She started out as the "Golden Anchors" and was moored on Lake Washington. She then moved to Lake Union and operated as the upscale "Four Winds" for many years. By the end of her career, and in a slightly run down condition she operated as the "Surfside 9." It was in the last guise she sank on Lake Union.
The Seattle Times snapped the photo the next morning after the Ballard had sunk on the lake. Note the rediculous pirate on the texas deck that acted as an icon for the "Surfside 9." Courtesy Seattle Times Inc.