contest

Instagram Contest: Model the SS United States

 

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Longtime supporter Michael O’Byrne recently donated a small plate, punch cup, and beverage server to the SS United States Conservancy. The three items were originally used on the SS United States during the ship’s years of service and remained on board until being purchased by Gwendolyn Wilder in an auction held in October of 1984. Gwendolyn then gifted the items to her dear friend, Michael. Michael’s donation of these items was made in honor of Gwendolyn whose life and love of the ship is briefly detailed below.

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The SS United States remains afloat today only because so many people have rallied in support of America’s Flagship.  From the Conservancy’s advisory council, chapter chairs, key donors, board, staff, former passengers and crew, and active volunteers, our community is incredible. Here are a few updates from key members of the Conservancy’s “family”:

Conservancy co-founder Dan McSweeney has taken the helm of the United War Veterans Council, departing from his position as managing director of the Conservancy’s SS United States Redevelopment Project.  Dan has made enormous contributions to the Conservancy over the years, and we are thrilled that he will remain on the Conservancy board as he assumes an important leadership role on behalf of the nation’s veterans.   

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Dutchman wants to save SS United States from demolition, April 23, 2015 – RTL Nieuws

The SS United States was featured on Dutch national television (RTL Nieuws.)  The story highlighted Conservancy Advisory Council member Casper van Hooren’s work on the successful conversion of the SS Rotterdam, an encouraging model for the SS United States.  Conservancy executive director Susan Gibbs and Conservancy supporter Charles Howland’s incredible collection of artifacts from the SS United States were also featured.

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SS United States Journey August, 1969

By Suzanne Jarvis

 

In August of 1969 my family and I sailed on the SS United States from England to New York. It was one of the last crossings of the Atlantic before the ship was retired. We traveled with our very close family friends Marge and George Felton and their daughters. The crossing started out fun with bingo, practical jokes and a dance contest. And then we met Debbie.

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1964

1964

American gospel singer Mahalia Jackson was among the great number of famous personalities who crossed the Atlantic aboard the SS United States. Although she almost always suffered from seasickness, sailing on the ocean was one of the things she most loved to do. In an excerpt from her personal diary, written aboard the ship between March 30th and April 4th, 1961 Miss Jackson described her journey this way:

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Howard E. Lee (left) observes the funnels smoke trail during the wind tunnel test.

Howard E. Lee (left) observes the funnels smoke trail during the wind tunnel test.

“Preventing fumes on decks from the funnels has always been a headache for ship designers. Although it was proved that the streamlined funnel design of William Francis Gibbs used previously on the SS Santa Rosa and her three sister ships and on the SS America, was also suitable for the great SS United States, some changes were made in order to definitely improve the results. The idea was surprisingly simple and consisted of modifying the fins angle by making them parallel to the ship’s keel and not raked aft, as in all of Gibbs’ previous designs.

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The Legacy Project is an on-going initiative aimed at collecting, preserving, and archiving photographs, visual materials, and the stories related to passengers and crew who traveled in, helped build, and/or served aboard our nation’s flagship, the SS United States. For more information, visit our website. Want to share your story? Email us at info@ssusc.org.

SSUSC-OralHistory-Bauer01-1

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For Engineer, Penn State Was Another Big Ship by Amy Caputo, February 12, 2015 - www.news.psu.edu

The man’s name is Nick Landiak. He has quite an impressive background, and he’s eager to share it. Landiak accrued two careers, similar in nature but vastly different in execution; he once was a senior engineering officer for the world’s fastest ocean liner before coming to Penn State and helping to rebuild the University’s internal utility systems in the 1970s and ’80s before retiring in 1986.”

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Inspired by Pollin Challenge Grant, Anonymous Donor Jump-starts 2015 Fundraising with Generous Gift for Curatorial Planning

As we enter a new and exciting year for America’s Flagship, the Conservancy is proud to announce that we have received of one of our largest ever individual contributions. The gift of $250,000 was made by an anonymous donor who was inspired by the generosity and passion exhibited by cruise industry executive Jim Pollin. Last year Jim donated an initial $120,000, followed by a generous challenge grant. Supporters from across the country and around the world answered Jim’s call to action by donating $120,000, prompting Jim to match this amount. Jim was recently honored with the Conservancy’s National Flagship Champion Award.

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Macaulay — Stern Image #1

Here are some sketches from the stern–the business end of the United States. In number 1, I’m just trying to get the scale of everything right as I show some of the key elements such as the propellers, bossings, and rudder. The bossing is the wing-like structure that supports the propeller shaft. Since there are two propellers on each side of the ship, there are also two bossings on each side. The structure is partly disassembled here to show some of the subassemblies that make up the structure around the rudder. The space between the steel plates, depending on exactly where they are, is filled either with seawater or fuel oil.

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2014 Conservancy Highlights

Thanks to support from our members throughout the year, the tide has finally begun to turn for the SS United States.  The Conservancy recently announced an initial redevelopment agreement with partners committed to covering the ship’s carrying costs as their plans advance.  While many challenges loom – converting the magnificent liner into a spectacular mixed-use museum and development complex is a daunting undertaking – we’ve never been closer to saving the SS United States.  Your continued support will help us advance our shipboard museum and educational center, build our archival and curatorial collections, document and disseminate the ship’s history, plan for contingencies, and prepare the ship for her next journey.

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Dear SS United States Conservancy Supporters:We are very pleased to confirm that we have now entered into a preliminary agreement in support of the redevelopment of the SS United States.  Negotiations have been underway for some time, and planning will continue with a variety of stakeholders. While further due diligence is conducted, the Conservancy will receive financial support to cover the vessel’s core carrying costs for at least an additional three months.

The project remains at an early and delicate phase, but we wanted to update our supporters about this encouraging development. As you can appreciate, the ship’s potential redevelopment represents a multifaceted engineering, real estate, and curatorial undertaking that will take considerable time to advance. Many challenges must still be overcome. However, we are fortunate that our new partners are very well equipped to handle this unique project’s scope and scale, and the Conservancy looks forward to working closely with them in the months to come.

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SS United States Conservancy Has “High Hopes” To Save Famous Liner;
Reaches Major Funding Milestone
by Josh Koshuta, October 9, 2014 – www.travelpage.com

The Conservancy announced that it had raised $122,167 from donors in 44 states in 17 countries in amounts spanning one dollar to ten thousand. In response, Jim Pollin upped the ante: “Our nation’s flagship isn’t just an historic vessel,” Pollin said. “It also represents the people of a great and determined nation that once again have demonstrated they can rise to any challenge. In response to the generosity of so many supporters of the SS United States, I am proud to match their recent contributions with an additional donation of $120,000 to save this enduring symbol of our country.”

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SS United States Crow's Nest

Photo courtesy Christine D. Hower

In June, cruise industry executive Jim Pollin pledged to match up to $100,000 of new supporter donations to benefit the SS United States. Last week, the Conservancy announced that we were only $2,072 away from that $100,000 goal. Just one week later, we are thrilled to announce that we have received $122,167 in donations eligible for matching — prompting Jim to raise his initial pledge by $20,000, and match $120,000!

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America’s Lost Liners by Jonathan Boonzaier, September 2014, Trade Winds Magazine.

“Over the next two to three months we will either pull this off or we will have to face the unthinkable,” Gibbs adds. That would probably involve scrapping America’s most famous passenger ship — an ironic situation in a country that has managed to preserve almost every major battleship it ever built.

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Supporters rush to save Newport News-built liner, SS United States by Hugh Lessig, September 29, 2014 – www.dailypress.com

The SS United States Conservancy, the nonprofit group that owns the ship, recently announced an 11th-hour bid to raise money so the ship can become a pier-side retail and educational complex in New York, where there are potential sites, according to news reports. Its fate could be decided in a matter of hours. The conservancy said last week in a news release that it would decide the ship’s future by the end of the month, which is Tuesday.

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  • Without Additional Charitable Support or Development Deal, A Decision To Scrap or Sell the Historic Vessel Must be Made at End of Month
  • As Discussions with Developers andCity and State Officials Continue Conservancy Urgently Needs Additional Support
  • 650,000 sq ft Mixed-Use Development and Museum Complex Would Create 2000 Jobs, Revitalize Manhattan or Brooklyn Waterfront

NEW YORK, NY — Time is nearly up to save America’s Flagship. With 2,000 jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity hanging in the balance, America’s Flagship, the SS United States, is making her final push to return home to New York in time to avoid being sold for scrap. The SS United States Conservancy, the non-profit organization that owns the legendary 990-foot-long liner, has announced it will need to make a determination about the ship’s future by the end of this month unless resources are found in short order to help cover the vessel’s ongoing maintenance costs.

The Conservancy is urgently discussing with developers and city and state officials plans for transforming the world’s fastest ocean liner into an exciting hospitality, retail, event, restaurant, entertainment and museum complex. As was reported by the New York Times in July, potential sites for the ship are under consideration in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

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Dock Star by Phoebe Magee – Columbia Magazine

Illustration by Amber Magee

Illustration by Amber Magee

You could call it patriotism, or respect for design, but people talk about the SS United States with something that sounds like love.

Read the full article here.

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America’s flagship: Admirers of SS United States send an S.O.S. by Aaron Ernst and Joie Chen, August 12, 2013 – Al Jazeera America

As the clock ticks down, one potential investor recently submitted a formal proposal to New York’s Economic Development Corporation to bring her back home.

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Propelled by a dream, by Michael E. Ruane, July 31, 2014 – Washington Post

The SS United States Conservancy's mission makes the front page of today's Washington Post.

The SS United States Conservancy’s mission makes the front page of today’s Washington Post.

“This ship has to be saved,” she says. “It’s beyond me and my family. There’s a potency and a power that lives on. We can’t let it go.” – Susan Gibbs, Executive Director

Read the full article here.

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SS United States Could Move to Brooklyn in Months, by Dan McQuade, July 16, 2014 – philadephiamag.com

A report in the New York Times on the ship notes the Conservancy, which owns the ship, is in deep discussions about the future of the 990-foot-long ocean liner. The ship has 500,000 square feet of service…the Conservancy believes it would take $170 million to $300 million to convert it into spaces for businesses and retail uses. And, well, it’s not going to stay in Philadelphia. The Conservancy looked at many sites, but New York seems to be the most sensible one. A person “optimistic” about the chances of a deal say the move to Brooklyn could be OKed “within four to six months.”

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Keeping a Historic Ship Afloat, by Jon Hurdle, July 15, 2014 – nytimes.com

Saying the ship could be only months away from being broken up, the conservancy is in talks with three developers about its potential to become a hotel, museum, shopping and restaurant mall, entertainment complex, conference center, educational facility, or some combination of all options for reuse.

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Saving the SS United States, interview by Marty Moss-Coane (audio podcast), July 2, 2014 – WHYY Radio Times

We talk to Gibbs’ granddaughter, SUSAN GIBBS, Executive Director of the SS United States Conservancy and STEVEN UJIFUSA, historian and author of A Man and His Ship: America’s Greatest Naval Architect and His Quest to Build the SS United States.

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Outside the Box: Beyond the Sea with the SS United States, July 1, 2014, by Tom Huntington – National Trust for Historic Preservation

“Look at her!” says Susan Caccavale as we approach the SS United States at Philadelphia’s Pier 82 on the Delaware River. “She’s so majestic!” Even in its current state — rusting, paint peeling, colors faded — the once elegant ocean liner still has that certain something.

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Jim Pollin Throws A Lifeline to SS United States by Martin Cox, Maritime Matters, June 17, 2014

 With the SS United States‘ historic five-bladed propellers just days away from being scrapped, cruise industry executive Jim Pollin has donated$120,000 to the SS United States Conservancy to save the propeller and support a national campaign to re-purpose America’s Flagship. The donation, as well as a pledge to match an additional $100,000 in other contributions for the ship’s upkeep, was announced this morning in front of the once Top Secret 60,000-pound propeller on board the SS United States.

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CBS Philly, June 17, 2014

Cruise industry executive Jim Pollin has donated $120,000 to preserve the last of the ship’s enormous, five-blade propellers, the design of which was top-secret during the Cold War.

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Jim Pollin throws lifeline to the crumbling ‘50s ocean liner SS United States by Michael E. Ruane, Washington Post, June 16, 2014

Tuesday morning, Pollin, son of the late Washington philanthropist and sports team owner Abe Pollin, announced a $120,000 gift to the District nonprofit group that owns the ship and boost to the campaign to save the liner from the scrap yard.

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Cruise Industry Executive, Son of Late Capitals, Wizards Owner Saves Historic Propeller from Destruction, Makes Largest Contribution toward Saving the United States Since 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA – With the last of the SS United States’ historic five-bladed propellers just days away from being scrapped, cruise industry executive Jim Pollin, has donated $120,000 to the SS United States Conservancy to save the propeller and support a national campaign to repurpose America’s Flagship. The donation, as well as a pledge to match an additional $100,000 in other contributions for the ship’s upkeep, was announced this morning in front of the once Top Secret 60,000-pound propeller on board the SS United States.

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Conservancy Urgently Searching for Buyer to Pay Maintenance Costs for Nation’s Flagship Will be Forced to Sell 60,000lb Propeller to Recycler If Not Sold by June 3rd,  2014

PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Conservancy fighting to save America’s Flagship is in a race against time to save the historic vessel and has taken the unusual step of offering one of its propellers for sale.  The organization needs the financial resources to care for the nearly 1000-ft long vessel as they continue to negotiate with potential developers and investors to repurpose the ship as a museum and mixed-use destination.

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The Legacy Project is an on-going initiative aimed at collecting, preserving, and archiving photographs, visual materials, and the stories related to passengers and crew who traveled in, helped build, and/or served aboard our nation’s flagship, the SS United States. For more information, visit our website. Want to share your story? Email us at info@ssusc.org.

 

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Macaulay first introduced us to the peak tank here. In the previous post, he investigated the tank’s construction.

In the final installment of Macaulay’s peak tank series, we see the final stage of constructing the peak tank and how it is lowered onto the keel blocks. Click to enlarge the image and read Macaulay’s notes.

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The Legacy Project is an on-going initiative aimed at collecting, preserving, and archiving photographs, visual materials, and the stories related to passengers and crew who traveled in, helped build, and/or served aboard our nation’s flagship, the SS United States. For more information, visit our website. Want to share your story? Email us at info@ssusc.org.

WRITTEN BY: William Newell “Pete” Guild

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ISM_SSUS_Poster WEB - Copy

The SS United States Conservancy is proud to announce the upcoming exhibit, SS United States: Charting a Course for America’s Flagship, opening at the Independence Seaport Museum

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Jim Nantzx

Three-time Emmy Award winning sportscaster Jim Nantz is supporting the effort to save America’s Flagship, the SS United States. Nantz joins the likes of tennis legend Billie Jean King and NFL coaching icon Dick Vermeil in endorsing the global effort to protect this irreplaceable piece of our history.

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By: Peter Paul, Guest Writer

View of the SS United States wake from her fan tail. Photo courtesy Henry Brunjes.

View of the SS United States wake from her fan tail. Photo courtesy Henry Brunjes.

More than a half-century ago, a very young boy of not more than five years of age, stood on the bottom rung of the guardrail (which ran around the huge ship’s fantail), his chin resting on the topmost pipe, held firmly in place by his mom. The weather was awful, it was cold, yet he took no note of the inhospitable conditions:  he was stunned by the scene in front of him – the enormity of the ocean behind the ship, the cauldron of white foam that was the ship’s wake. The sheer wildness of it all stretched, to his young eyes, from horizon to horizon. He couldn’t yet grasp the impossibly violent, yet beautiful panorama, a sight he would remember to this very day.

He had been “rescued” by a sailor, a young Navy guy who had just married his mom, the three of them having been plucked from the unspeakable carnage that was Hamburg, Germany, a city that had been bombed to dust just a few years earlier. Now, they were on their way to a new and better life: a life in the States. That youngster was, of course, me and the ship I stood on that winter day was the SS United States.

We were westbound, headed to New York City, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and dreams, carrying very precious cargo. In order to appreciate this ship, we need to warp ourselves back in time and try to imagine a country that today, only vaguely resembles what it once was. Cars were slower, the interstates not completed, trains belched smoke, and a giant of an industrial powerhouse of a nation was just beginning to come out of war mode. We could do anything, and that included showing the world how to build an ocean liner with more speed, safety features and sheer class than anything yet built.  The fact that she became, arguably, the most graceful ship afloat – well, I’ll leave that for you to judge.

The “Big U” was the brainchild of noted naval architect William Francis Gibbs, who designed the ship from a very unique vantage point: he was the chief naval architect for the US Navy in World War II. The liner was actually a joint commission, with shared sponsorship undertaken by the United States Lines and the Navy, which saw the need for additional troop transport capacity – this was before mass airlift capability. Gibbs decided that this ship, the culmination of a brilliant career, would be like no ship ever built, and when he finished, his prophetic dream came to pass.

Some 990 feet long, 101 feet wide and standing some twelve stories tall, the SS United States was powered by four steam turbine engines which produced a stunning 261,000 horsepower, a surfeit of power that would assure her first place in the Trans-Atlantic Crossing record books.  Her sea trials in 1952 enabled her to reach a jaw dropping 38 knots, although exact numbers are elusive. It was well known that she was never pushed to the maximum, thought by some to be over 50 miles per hour, a speed capability unheard of today. She crossed the Atlantic in three days, 10 hours and 40 minutes, winning the “Blue Riband”  (yes, blue ribbon!), a record still unbroken today.

But Gibbs’ legacy showed itself in more than statistics and speed records. A less known fact was that Navy specifications for wartime were used in the hull and safety features, plus the capacity to ferry an entire Army division to Europe and turn around without refueling – a ten thousand mile range. Simply amazing! The ship was a sea-going tank and experienced not a single mishap, breakdown or significant incident during its service years. They say they don’t build things like they used to: in this case, it’s really true.

Check back soon for the next installment of “SS United States: Soul of a Nation” by guest writer, Peter Paul.

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The Legacy Project is an on-going initiative aimed at collecting, preserving, and archiving photographs, visual materials, and the stories related to passengers and crew who traveled in, helped build, and/or served aboard our nation’s flagship, the SS United States. For more information, visit our website. Want to share your story? Email us at info@ssusc.org.

David and Carole Larson with the SS United States in the background. Pier 86, New York City.

David and Carole Larson with the SS United States in the background. Pier 86, New York City.

In 1955 artist David Henning Larson greeted his bride-to-be, Carole Hill, as she arrived from England aboard the SS United States. David and Carole Larson were married 50 years until his death in 2007. Carole still resides in Maine where the couple had lived for over 35 years. A large collection of David’s paintings are on permanent display at the Larson Studio & Gallery at South Penobscot, Maine. (Update: The Larson Studio & Gallery is now closed, for more information on where you can see David’s work, visit the Larson Studio website.)

The photo above was taken by David’s father, renowned NYC-based photographer, Frank Oscar Larson. Thanks for Frank’s eye (and lens), such casual moments in American history have been captured.

Special thanks to Carole and David’s son, Soren for sharing his grandfather’s photo, and to Paul Stipkovich for producing this lovely story.

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Herb Douglas

Bronze medalist Herb Douglas answers the call to save the SS United States.

Support for the SS United States is growing by leaps and bounds, and now more than ever the Conservancy is calling on all Americans to rally for our country’s namesake Flagship. Now that the world’s attention is focused on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, we are proud to announce that legendary Olympian Herb Douglas has answered that call and has pledged his support for saving the SS United States.

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In the previous post, Macaulay introduced us to a very important, though rarely seen portion of the ship: the peak tank. Read it HERE.

Here, Macaulay investigates the nitty-gritty details of the peak tank’s construction. The sketch on the bottom left demonstrates the scale of the tank, which could be described as a relatively “small” part of the ship. Click the image in enlarge and read Macaulay’s notes.

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United States Lines Menu

United States Lines Menu Cover

Inspired by the rising popularity of the fine cuisine offered on board, the United States Lines created the cookbook, The Captain’s Table, in 1966. The book included some of the most famous recipes ever served on the SS United States and the SS America and was offered to passengers so they could try their hand at preparing their favorite SS United States dishes at home.

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The Legacy Project is an on-going initiative aimed at collecting, preserving, and archiving photographs, visual materials, and the stories related to passengers and crew who traveled in, helped build, and/or served aboard our nation’s flagship, the SS United States. For more information, visit our website. Want to share your story? Email us at info@ssusc.org.

 

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“There is nowhere on the SS United States that doesn’t reward careful study and includes the things you can’t actually see,” says author-illustrator David Macaulay.

In this post, Macaulay reveals the intricate construction methods of a part of the ship that is normally under the waterline and not visible: the peak tank. Click the image to enlarge and read Macaulay’s notes.

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Ravi Giberson with his lego model of the SS United States.

The Philadelphia Chapter was proud to have Ravi Giberson attend the January 2014 chapter meeting. Here, Ravi presents his lego model of the SS United States.

Ravi Giberson’s passion for the SS United States is infectious. Conservancy members and Big U fans will remember a speech he gave at a Conservancy event last summer. The Philadelphia Chapter was proud to have Ravi attend their January 2014 chapter meeting held on January 18, 2014 at Champp’s restaurant.

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Chota Peg

Chota Peg shown with the Funnel in background. Photo courtesy Charles Anderson.

Along with the thousands of passengers who traveled aboard the SS United States during her years of service, there was a very special crew member that delighted all who knew him: Chota Peg. A lovely cockerspaniel, Chota lived his entire life aboard the various ships on which Captain Anderson worked.

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By: Peter Paul

Photo courtesy Nick Landiak.

Photo courtesy Nick Landiak.

Thus, the “Big U” plied the waters of the Atlantic, ferrying the wealthy and gaining fame thus, but paying her way with the more modest fares drawn from the rest of us. Below decks, small and cramped, cabins were a sort of commercial “steerage”, yet by my “standards” then, more than adequate. These crossings signaled what was thought to be the start of a long history for her, but the times, as they say, were a-changing. They changed more quickly than anyone ever imagined.

People’s ever-faster lifestyles spelled the doom of the SS United States (and others of her kind) and her removal from active service. Impatience “to get there”, (as opposed to appreciating the journey), coupled with the price of travel, the advent of the commercial jet liner and the expense of keeping her massive machinery running, eventually became too much for the shipping line. Her last voyage, taken just seventeen years later, in 1969, ended with her decommissioning at a berth at the Newport News Shipyards, Virginia, which had built her. There she stayed, tied up, a former greyhound of the seas, leashed to the dock, for all the years until 1996, when she was moved to Philadelphia, which is where she still lies in wait.

This ignominious ending was only the beginning of another phase of her “life”, a time of slow decay, a ransacking of her interior and utter neglect due to zero maintenance. Anyone who has ever seen a fine ship turned derelict knows whereof I speak: there is a sadness to the sight that sinks to the heart of those of us who love ships. It sometimes seems as if some small piece of ourselves, our soul if you will, has died too.  It may be overstated, but the sight makes you want to cry.

Slowly though, over time, the public, perhaps not quite willing to say goodbye just quite yet, showed an interested in saving her. The SS United States Conservancy was organized to save her, with the express mission of returning the ship to her former glory. Small at first, the Conservancy eventually commanded thousands of members and attracted the attention of the media. This attention came in the form of newscasts, feature articles and TV specials and a full length documentary narrated by no less an icon than Walter Cronkite, a newscaster who once held the unquestioned title of “the most trusted man in America” – an honorarium bestowed on very few people in my lifetime.

 

The internet, now of age, publicized her fate. Along the way, the ship had been purchased by several private investors for salvage value. They had high hopes, big dreams and in the end, less money. It was obvious to anyone with a knowledge of ships, especially one this size, that restoration to modern standards would come at a steep price. Estimates vary, but $500 million could not be ruled out. Efforts were made to interest the same Defense establishment that helped build the ship, to help secure her future by granting her status as an Historical Landmark and perhaps share in her rebuilding, but the love of ships and history proved unpersuasive.

Funds are always short, even in this time of stimulus money and memory is even shorter. Her benefactors inside the Congress were largely gone; her official “fanbase” among our politicians could not hold sway, or better said, showed no interest at all. She wound up becoming a Registered Historical Landmark, but sans the funds to do anything with her. A halfway measure, if there ever was one. The spirit, this time, could not be roused.

She had gone to one final auction and had caught the attention of a major cruise line, which won the bid and intended to refit the ship to its former glory if at all possible.

Check back for the next installment of “SS United States: Soul of a Nation.”

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SS United States sends out an SOS by Hugh Lessig, dailypress.com, January 5, 2014

As the SS United States Conservancy looks ahead to the future, we are constantly reminded about how many lives the “Big Ship” touched. Our work to preserve and re-develop the ship into a mixed use facility and museum will not only create business and jobs, but also “keep alive a legacy that still means something to” many people around the world.

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Will the SS United States Find a New Life in 2014? by David Gambacorta, Philly.com, January 5, 2014

With a new year underway, the SS United States Conservancy is looking forward to a productive – and hopefully successful – 2014. From museum exhibits to increased media coverage and celebrity support, the Conservancy has a lot planned for the upcoming year.

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The newly formed Hampton Roads Chapter will be holding it first meeting at 7:00 on Dec 12th. The meeting will be held at the Newport News Gibbs & Cox office located at 700 Thimble Shoals Blvd Suite 100, Newport News, Va. 23606.

This meeting will be a meet-and-greet where we will discuss the newly formed Chapter and work together on plans for a path forward and future events. We will also have a small presentation. Reviewing some recently taken pictures of the ship, walking deck by deck looking at the current condition of some of our favorite spaces on board the “Big U.”

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Philadelphia Holiday Party

Join the Conservancy leaders and the Philadelphia Chapter for a festive gathering with fellow SSUS supporters. Susan Gibbs will provide an up-to-the-minute update on the current status of the ship and our efforts to save her, as well as goals for the new year.

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Bow

Image of the SS United States’ bow, courtesy of Matt Rourke/AP

The Associated Press released a major story that was picked up by media outlets worldwide regarding our efforts to prepare the SS United States for redevelopment. From locations spanning California, Indiana and Washington, DC, to Nova Scotia, Australia, and the UK, people are reading about America’s Flagship’s plight and potential and sharing their stories and support. If you missed it, the full article and photos can be viewed HERE.

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Shipway No. 10

SS United States in her dry dock, Shipway Nº 10 at Newport News, VA.

We’re very excited to announce the new, official blog of the SS United States Conservancy, Shipway Nº 10. SS United States supporters and fans will enjoy regular content featuring highlights from the ship’s history, passenger memoirs, little-known facts about the SS United States and William Francis Gibbs, posts by guest writers, insights into the ship’s future, and more!

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Detail from Wanderer Above Philadelphia, Jonathan Ryan, 18″x24″ gouache on paper, 2013.

Local artist and MFA student, Jonathan Ryan, and his colleagues at the Tyler School of Art will open their studios to the greater Philadelphia public this weekend. Tyler is ranked among the top 10 MFA programs in Painting by U.S. News and World Report. Several of Ryan’s paintings feature the SS United States and depict parts of the ship from a unique, fresh angle.

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As those of you who have seen the SS United States at her pier in Philadelphia know, last year the Conservancy installed a 96-foot long colorful banner announcing our SavetheUnitedStates.org Campaign. Sadly, the banner has been battered by the elements and needs to be replaced. We are urgently seeking sponsors to help cover the $2,000 cost or reproduce the banner on a pro bono basis. We have already received donations from some of our generous supporters. Please let us know if you are able to help!

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SS United States Conservancy Executive Director Susan Gibbs’ op-ed on the intersection of current U.S. politics and the enduring symbolism of America’s Flagship ran in several maritime outlets including Maritime Executive and Marine Log. To read the full piece, click here.

On Thursday, October 10, 2013 the SS United States was featured on Radio Once More’s “Live Show.” Host Andrew Fielding spoke with Conservancy Executive Director Susan Gibbs about the ship and the Conservancy’s efforts to Save Our Ship, to ensure that “America’s Flagship” inspires and endures for generations to come. Visit Radio Once More’s Facebook page here.

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Wondering what our chapters do? They provide local area support to the Conservancy and plan several fundraisers throughout the year. Chapters work closely with Conservancy staff to recruit members, secure local media coverage, and raise public awareness of the SS United States. If you’d like to see if we have a Chapter in your area, please visit our Chapters Page. And if there is not yet a Chapter near you, please reach out to us and we’ll help you start one!

Florida Calling all Florida residents! Would you like to take a more active role in helping to save the SS United States? We’d love to hear from you! The former chairman of the Conservancy’s Philadelphia Chapter has relocated to Florida and is looking for members to help get our Florida Chapter launched! The Chapter is planning a holiday celebration in December as its official kick-off meeting for anyone who would like to become a member.

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Laying the Keel

A ship is only as sound and strong as her hull. The SS United States‘s hull was still incredibly solid – a testament to her superb engineering and construction. Here, David Macaulay explains the steps involved in assembling the her keel and hull. Click the image to enlarge.

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The Conservancy is pleased to announce the launch of an innovative pre-development program that will help prepare the SS United States for conversion into a mixed-use development and museum complex.  This program will include the selective reclamation of obsolete materials aboard the vessel that will help cover the ship’s carrying costs as well as advance our future SS United States Center for Design and Discovery.  Since the kick-off of the Conservancy’s $500,000 “Save Our Ship” Campaign earlier this year, we have been vigorously pursuing a range of creative fundraising approaches.  While we continue to search for a permanent location for “America’s Flagship,” this pre-development program will generate crucial revenue in support of our key goals.

Guided by an expert group of marine engineers, naval architects, maritime historians, and museum specialists, the Conservancy has identified materials aboard the vessel that must be removed prior to the ship’s redevelopment.  These items are located below B Deck in spaces closed to public view, are not part of our future preservation or curatorial plans, and are not vital to the vessel’s structural integrity.  This program will support the Conservancy’s core stewardship mission and will not alter the historic vessel’s appearance or design. All work will be carried out in full compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations.

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Engine Room

This is just one of four power plants that helped give the ship its’ speed. Two sets of turbines sit at the bottom of each engine room hatch (there are two) about 120 ft below the base of each funnel. We have cold air being drawn or forced (I don’t know yet) into the engine room through ducts that line the hatch. This ocean air is in the 50s so things are kept fairly reasonable in the engine room. The exhaust air travels up the open space in the center of the shaft. I made this sketch from lots of different pieces to see how it all fits together.

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Into the Funnel

Macaulay atop funnelHere is a glimpse inside one of the SS United States‘ funnels. This looks not unlike some long lost mysterious tomb. But in fact it’s just a big empty shape used to cover a purely functional sheet metal chimney. You’d never know it from the dark and dust and hints of aluminum framework, but from the outside, this funnel and its partner once conveyed the very essence of unprecedented speed.

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Boiler Room Sketch

20 BurnhamAt left is a photograph of the house I grew up in. The one we left in 1957. It is the same width and height (more or less) as one of the boilers on the ship (sketch above). ONE of the eight boilers. No wonder my mother was delighted when I offered to go out and play leaving my brother and sister at home with Mom.

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David shares a working sketch for his upcoming book, Ingenuity: A Journey, and explains why he chose the SS United States to be the central focus of this project.

SS United States study

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Dear SS United States Conservancy friends and supporters,

Macaulay BooksI am delighted to announce that eminent author and artist David Macaulay has joined the Conservancy’s advisory council and has pledged his support for our urgent SOS Campaign to save and repurpose the SS United States. Mr. Macaulay, who immigrated to this country on board the ship at the age of ten, will be advising the Conservancy on the development of the SS United States Center for Design and Discovery. He has also kindly consented to share his perspectives on the ship’s meaning and importance while working on his latest book: a history of technology centered on the design and construction of the SS United States. His book, with the working title of Ingenuity: A Journey will be published in 2015 by David Macaulay Studio, an imprint of Roaring Brook.

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The SS United States Conservancy’s recent outreach events in Philadelphia–including massive illuminations atop the PECO Building and the Cira Centre and a rally in LOVE Park rally on June 18th–to save Philadelphia’s own ‘Lady in the Harbor’ and America’s Flagship, the SS United States, has garnered significant attention in the local media. Sources such as The Philadelphia Inquirer, local CBS and FOX television news affiliates, WHYY Newsworks, and iradiophilly have covered the event, highlighting the ship’s plight, the Conservancy’s SOS Campaign to raise $500,000 for the preservation of the ship, the crowd-funding platform employed at Save The United States, and the designer William Francis Gibbs’ connections to Philadelphia.

“It’s quite an extraordinary experience to go aboard the ship,” Conservancy executive director Susan Gibbs WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR affiliate. ”Even though it’s dark and there is a flashlight in hand, the ship still evokes the seagoing glamour of the 50′s and 60′s.”

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SUPPORTERS TO RALLY TUESDAY FOR PHILLY’S OWN ‘LADY IN THE HARBOR’ – THE SS UNITED STATES

Event in LOVE Park in Center City to Feature Contests, Prizes, ‘Jimmy and the Parrots,’ to be Followed by Movie Screening at Independence Seaport Museum

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PECO BUILDING AND CIRA CENTRE TO BRING AMERICA’S FLAGSHIP TO DOWNTOWN

WHAT:  Philadelphia residents and visitors will notice something different about the city’s historic skyline next week as both the iconic PECO Building and Cira Centre will simultaneously be lit with colorful graphics and messages with the hope of raising awareness about the plight of America’s Flagship, the SS United States. Graphics will encourage viewers to visit www.SavetheUnitedStates.org to participate in saving the ship.

The PECO Building, with it’s famous wrap-around marquee will display a color scale graphic of the greatest American ocean liner while the Cira Center’s 400 foot facade will be transformed into a giant red, white and blue funnel – one of the most recognizable design elements of the fastest passenger ship ever built.   The SS United States has been moored in Philadelphia harbor for nearly two decades.  The SS United States Conservancy is currently in the midst of a national S.O.S. campaign to raise funds to prevent the historic vessel from being scrapped.

WHO:  The SS United States Conservancy, PECO Building, Cira Centre

WHEN: Buildings will be lit nights of June 17, 18 and 19, 2013

MEDIA:  Media wishing to obtain B-Roll footage of the buildings may do so from any suitable public viewing area.  Press wishing to interview SS United States Conservancy leaders can contact 917-579-2216 or TBasile@Empirestrategy.com.

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Billie Jean King
Hall of Fame Tennis Legend Will Serve as Advocate for Saving America’s Flagship, Joins Advisory Council

PHILADELPHIA, PA…May 27, 2013— This time it’s not a Battle of the Sexes, it’s a race against time as one American champion lends a hand to save another. With the SS United States Conservancy continuing its SOS campaign to save America’s Flagship, Tennis Hall of Famer and owner of the Philadelphia Freedoms of Mylan World TeamTennis, Billie Jean King will be assisting the non-profit group in raising awareness about the plight of our nation’s most historic maritime achievement. King will also serve as an honorary member of the Conservancy’s Advisory Council.

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S-O-S: Save Our Ship!, by Nate Rawlings, TIME.com, May 20, 2013

The plight and potential of the SS United States was covered by TIME Magazine as part of our growing media coverage during our urgent “SOS” campaign.

“Given the right location and project, the conservancy hopes the United States could become a popular attraction, serving as a monument to the age when ocean liners connected the far ends of the world.”

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Hidden City Philadelphia, a blog dedicated to inspiring curiosity about the city and its “remarkable but lesser known places, and to give their time, resources and ideas to realize new futures for the places and communities where we work,” has featured a photo essay on the SS United States.

The photographer, Chandra Lampreich, first saw the ship during a family trip, and the image stayed with her ever since. As she mentions in her title, the United States is one-of-a-kind, and her heritage is irreplaceable.

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The Maritime Executive, a weekday magazine and blog, has featured the efforts of the SS United States Conservancy, with particular emphasis on the upcoming rally to be held in Herald Square this Friday, April 19th.

The rally, which will highlight the Conservancy’s development plans and SOS campaign, will be held from 6 AM until 9 AM, with remarks beginning at 7:30 AM.

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Susan Gibbs on CNN

CNN reporter Sarah Hoye recently covered the SS United States‘ plight and potential in a video package and article, featured on the front page of CNN.com. Conservancy Executive Director Susan Gibbs and SS United States Redevelopment Project Managing Director Dan McSweeney were both interviewed. “This is an extraordinary American achievement,” said Gibbs. “An amazing expression of our post-war history, and it would be so tragic to see it destroyed.”

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A Continuous Lean, a blog dedicated to the “appreciation of style, quality and provenance” has featured the Conservancy’s efforts to preserve the SS United States.

Post author Kate Dulin remarked in particular to the attention to detail to “ensure that the SS United States would secure its place in history as the greatest passenger vessel of our time.”

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SS United States Redevelopment Project Managing Director Dan McSweeney discusses the SS United States with Fox News' Steve Doocy on "Fox and Friends", March 27, 2013

SS United States Redevelopment Project Managing Director Dan McSweeney discusses the SS United States with Fox News’ Steve Doocy on “Fox and Friends”, March 27, 2013

Fox News’ national morning show Fox and Friends today featured an interview with Dan McSweeney, Managing Director of the SS United States Redevelopment Project. In addition to featuring the Conservancy’s work, McSweeney discussed the Conservancy’s crowdfunding platform, SavetheUnitedStates.org, as well as the tremendous redevelopment potential of the ship.

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Dear Friend of the SS United States:

I wrote to you last fall about the need to extend the timeline of our Request for Proposals for redevelopment of the SS United States.  At that time, I held much hope that one of the potential real estate partners with whom we were negotiating would enter an agreement with the SS United States Conservancy to re-purpose the ship as a permanently moored mixed-use development.

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After the SS United States Conservancy’s announcement that the United States faces dismantling within the next two months unless sufficient funds are raised, the world’s news organizations once again began to buzz with stories about the fabled ship.

The Associated Press featured the ship’s plight on “The Big Story” page, in addition to offering a summary of the liner’s career and the Conservancy’s subsequent campaign for her preservation. The full story can be read here.

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Dear SS United States Conservancy supporter,

This week we are launching an urgent “Save Our Ship” campaign to raise funds to extend support for the 1,000-foot-long vessel’s carrying costs while we continue to advance our museum and redevelopment plans.  Click here to view our press release and click here to read today’s Associated Press story.  While we have made great strides over the course of the year, our efforts have now reached a critical threshold.

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AMERICA’S FLAGSHIP MAY SOON BE LOST DUE TO HIGH COSTS

Though Progress Has Been Made, Historic SS United States Could Face Destruction Without Political Will, Public Support and Private Investment

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The Philadelphia Inquirer recently published this fantastic story about the Conservancy’s SaveTheUnitedStates.org campaign, our new SS United States: Made in America online film, and some of the people who have special personal connections to this ship, including our executive director, Susan Gibbs, whose grandfather was the ship’s designer.
To learn more about the personal stories of some of the people who felt called to help save the SS United States and how you can help us, read the full Inquirer article here.

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Amid the recent buzz that Australian billionaire Clive Palmer plans to build a full-size operational replica of the RMS Titanic, NBC News Travel ran a great piece this week (click HERE to read it) comparing the Titanic“rebuild” with the challenges and potential of restoring other existing liners – particularly the SS United States.

As Conservancy Executive Director Susan Gibbs first wrote in her USA Today column back in April (click HERE to read it), the “most famous ocean liner that never sank still bears the proud name United States.“  In this week’s NBC  Travel story, renowned maritime blogger Peter Knego agreed: “For people who appreciate classic skyscrapers and old movie theaters, scrapping the United States would be like demolishing the Empire State Building.”  Again, you can read the full article HERE.

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