Virtual Art Museum
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The authoritative magazine of the history of engine-powered vessels and the legacy of man's journey on the world's seas and waterways.
In this issue:
- Bob-Lo Steamer Columbia
- Hoboken’s Fifth Street Pier
- A Hog Islander's Odyssey In World War II
- Sailing (or Avoiding) The Exiles’ Line to India
- U-Boats Off New England 1942–45
- Ship Research, Part 2
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Funding for the SSHSA educational outreach program is made possible in part by a grant from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities (an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities), the National Maritime Heritage Grant Program, and the Heritage Harbor Foundation.
Threatened Vessels (Saved, Preserved or Lost)
This category includes great success stories of vessels that will continue to have a future role in today's society, although they may not be in service as originally intended.
RMS Queen Mary
Site of SSHSA's West Coast Office and located in Long Beach, California, Queen Mary continues to serve as America's best example of a classic, early 20th Century ocean liner experience. Permanently moored and adaptively used for 40 years now, Queen Mary continues to evolve as a hotel, conference center, museum, retail establishment, and major attraction on the west coast. www.queenmary.com
RMS Queen Elizabeth 2
Autumn 2008 marked the final departure for Cunard Lines' famous ocean liner Queen Elizabeth 2. The ship was sold to an organization in Dubai and set to undergo renovations to begin its new life as a hotel. Due to the economic meltdown, however, plans have changed and the current outlook and timeline for re-use of the QE2 is in question. www.Qe2.org.uk
This ship is now "Up For Sale" after being re-used as an attraction in Holland for the last two years. After extensive renovation along with restoration of certain areas, Rotterdam - SSHSA's 1996 "Ship of the Year" recipient - emerged as a new adaptive use facility in The Netherlands. Known as traditional today, but very unconventional when launched in 1958, her loyal passengers continue to consider her the "Greatest Ship at Sea"! In May of 2010 SSHSA representatives returned the 1996 Ship of the Year plaque to the vessel for permanent mounting. www.ssrotterdam.net
SSHSA is highlighting the status of many ships currently threatened. This includes ships whose future remains unknown or uncertain. These vessels require immediate action as change is on the horizon. You may follow links to the organizations dedicated to these vessels and contact information.
This is America's oldest surviving excursion steamer, having served hundreds of thousands of amusement park daytrippers from 1902 to 1991 on the Detroit River to and from Bob-Lo Island. A National Historic Landmark mothballed for 20 years, an effort is underway to bring this impressive vessel to New York City for restoration and resumed service on the Hudson River. As of September 2014 Columbia was towed to Toledo, Ohio for drydocking and hull repair in preparation for a tow to NYC in 2015. www.sscolumbia.org
SS Delta Queen
This iconic National Historic Landmark has been plying America's rivers and inland waterways since 1928. This is the last traditional steamboat carrying passengers overnight in the USA. October 2008 was the last voyage as former owner/operator Majestic America Cruise Lines had been unable to obtain an exemption from the US Congress. Current efforts have the DQ moored and available for overnight stays as a hotel. www.save-the-delta-queen.org
SS Milwaukee Clipper Word comes from leaders trying valiantly to maintain, preserve and restore this famous vessel that the struggle continues and her fate remains perilously close to the edge. She is tied-up at the old Grand Trunk Railroad Dock in her home port of Muskegon, MI. For the latest information on the Clipper, SSHSA's 2004 Ship of the Year, visit www.milwaukeeclipper.com
SS Ste. Claire
This partner ship to Columbia was also used to ferry passengers in the Great Lakes area to Bob-Lo Island Amusement Park from 1910 until 1991. This vessel continues to be towed to various locations in the Detroit area as money is raised through "haunted" fundraisers and voluteers as well as professional contractors make progress toward determining its ultimate fate. www.bobloboat.com
SSHSA's 2011 Ship of the Year, the Cruiser Olympia, a gallant hero launched in 1892 and veteran of the Spanish-American War and World War I, is in peril. She is one of America's most revered naval treasures and was on the verge of being lost until recently when the Independence Seaport Museum has announced plans to continue efforts to conserve her. www.phillyseaport.org
SS United States
America's greatest, and the world's fastest passenger carrying ocean liner, the SS United States remains afloat today, over 40 years after ceasing operation. Languishing in Philadelphia, The Big U was owned and maintained by NCL America (perhaps known best for Norwegian Cruise Lines). NCL had stated intentions of converting the SS United States into a modern cruise ship, however after seven years of ownership by NCL the nation's flagship remained tied up with only hopes of a re-birth. Several organizations are involved in attempts to move efforts forward, and film documentaries have been produced to help tell the story. Recently Philadelphia philanthropist Gerry Lenfest stepped in and pledged up to $5.8 million dollars to allow the SS United States Conservancy to acquire the ship from NCL's parent company. The terms allowed for the parties until February 2011 to complete the title transfer and take possession. This occured and today The Big U is owned by the SS United States Conservancy. Major fundraising efforts are underway as the ship is funded for at best a year at the current pier while planning and refurbishment studies to take place. The Big U was named SSHSA's 2010 Ship of the Year.
Vessels sent to the Breakers/Lost or Destroyed
The following vessels have recently been lost or are currently at the breakers, with no hope of future salvation.
SB Becky Thatcher
SS E.M. Ford
SS Norway a) France