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Thread: SS United States

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    Default SS United States

    I remember seeing the SS united States Many times in the 1960's, we often tied up near her. Well here is a story you don't want to miss. Try this link



    Sending out an SOS for America's greatest ocean liner - CNN.com







    STORY HIGHLIGHTS
    Historic ocean liner SS United States is running out of money and may have to be scrapped
    Ship designer's granddaughter: "We have to save her"
    Supporters hope to make the ship a stationary entertainment complex and museum
    The ship set the trans-Atlantic speed record, hosted stars like Grace Kelly, Duke Ellington

    Philadelphia (CNN) -- For me, touring the SS United States felt kind of like I was exploring my grandmother's attic for the first time, not knowing what I'd find.

    The ship offers lots of room for surprises. It stretches the length of New York's Chrysler Building and is 100 feet longer than the Titanic.

    Its legendary decks were the site of untold stories, where movie stars rubbed shoulders with famous musicians and kings.

    And it's fast. On its first voyage, the SS United States set a trans-Atlantic speed record -- three days, 10 hours and 42 minutes -- a feat that has never been surpassed.


    Click here to see photo gallery

    The ship's late designer William Francis Gibbs constructed the vessel with fireproof materials, saying, "You can't set her on fire, you can't sink her, and you can't catch her."

    Now, six decades after its heyday, the vessel dubbed "America's flagship" is in need of a rescue. Expensive maintenance may force the owners to sell the historic ship for scrap metal, unless a solution can be found.

    During my tour through the dark and damp shell of former grandeur, the vastness of Gibbs' creation became even more evident.

    Gibbs, a naval architect responsible for nearly 5,500 Navy vessels that helped win World War II, put everything he had into his ultimate ship. The 2,200-passenger liner also was meant to double as a troop transport ship if war broke out.

    Gibbs' obsession with creating the perfect ocean liner has now transformed into his granddaughter's obsession with saving it.

    "My grandfather was once asked who do you love more, this ship or my grandmother, and he said, 'the ship, a thousand percent,' " said Susan Gibbs, executive director of the SS United States Conservancy. "This is an extraordinary American achievement, an amazing expression of our post-war history, and it would be so tragic to see it destroyed."

    Standing in the sunlight flooding the hefty enclosed promenade, Gibbs admits she never traveled aboard "The Big U."

    "I didn't know my grandfather. He died when I was young," she said, gazing out the floor-to-ceiling windows. "But I've gotten to know him through this ship. His spirit is here."

    "He felt this was the perfect ship and loved what she said about the nation. He saw the ship as a metaphor for the nation's post-war strength, pride and accomplishment."

    Gibbs remembers traveling to Philadelphia from her home in Washington to see the SS United States for the first time. Along the way, she read her grandmother's diary out loud in the car.

    The journal revealed tales about the ship's maiden voyage and a joyful conga line celebrating the new speed record. It unveiled a bygone era when passengers donned mink stoles and enjoyed a liquor selection that included 49 kinds of scotch.

    Full of nostalgia, Gibbs snapped back to reality when the car edged closer to the dock. She gasped at her first sight of the weathered ship.

    "When I walked on board, it was only a shadow of that," she said. "I was saddened, but determined that we cannot let the ship go."

    Walking through the ship's empty belly, I can feel that sadness too. Gone are the stately furnishings and decorations. All that remain of the cabins are outlines on the floor, accompanied by plugged toilet holes.

    It was hard not to feel like I was trespassing on property that was ransacked. Only this was no robbery -- the ship's interior fittings were auctioned off in the '80s.

    Despite the missing fittings, the SS United States remains nothing less than majestic.

    The longer I was on the ship, the easier it was to imagine it full of life. I could picture Marlon Brando chatting with artist Salvador Dali in the ballroom; hear Duke Ellington on stage tickling the ivories on one of the ship's fireproof pianos; or watch President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy strolling on the decks.




    This is going to create jobs and be the crown jewel of a waterfront district.
    Dan McSweeney, SS United States Redevelopment Project

    Dan McSweeney's father worked as a steward on the SS United States. Today, he oversees the liner's redevelopment project and is looking for partners to help save it.

    Out of service since 1969, the former reserve ship for the U.S. Navy has been docked in Philadelphia since the mid-1990s.

    The goal is to turn it into a stationary entertainment complex and museum.

    "It's an irreplaceable part of American history, and once it's gone, it'll never come back, and we'll never have anything like it in the future," said McSweeney, managing director of the SS United States Redevelopment Project. "It's not a vanity project. This is going to create jobs and be the crown jewel of a waterfront district."

    "If we lose it, we'll never get it back."

    For now, the clock is ticking.

    Keeping the ship afloat costs nearly $80,000 a month for basic maintenance, insurance and security.

    The SS United States Conservancy launched a website where visitors can sponsor a piece of the ship for $1 per square inch.

    Gibbs says they have about two months before they'll have to sell the ship for scrap -- something she won't even allow herself to think about.

    "Its name is the SS United States, and she's been here (in Philadelphia) for 17 years because she's not done yet," Gibbs said. "We have to save her."

    As Gibbs and I found our way off the ship, my shoes crackled against the crumbling, faded green surface of the outside deck -- like walking across an abandoned tennis court.

    We waved goodbye, and I wandered across the dock and turned around. Tilting my head back as far as I could, I stared up at her mighty bow.

    I couldn't help but notice the ship's towering sides were stained with streaks of rust -- the tears of a once proud iron lady.
    Last edited by Lewis; 9th April 2013 at 03:31 AM. Reason: Added information.
    This is my picture from my Discharge book Circa 1962.
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    Smile United States

    She certainly was a fine sight at sea in the sixties zooming past us rolling our way across the Atlantic on the Cunard cargo boats,
    Nice post Lewis,
    Stuart
    R396040

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    Like most Ship Restorations its left too late, the interior is gutted, heavy corrosion externally, should have done something years ago, would have thought a big Nation as the USA is could easily have saved her, one Dollar per head contribution would not hurt anyone, the monthly maintenance cost is scary, just for basics, sad for the thousands who have allready donated, even if the money was found i cannot see her paying for her keep. the cost of restoring her interior is just too much, the Queen Mary was maintained from the day Cunard sold her, this one has been left to rot.
    Tony Wilding

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    Default s.s. United States

    Yes Tony, seems sad that a country that can save one of our symbols for posterity cannot save one of their own. We know there is no comparison between the two and the 'Queen Mary' served both countries well both in war and peace and the 'United States' did not have that distinction, but she was a fine example of what could be achieved in modern shipbuilding at the time she was built, and lets face it Ameriky wasn't renowned for its fine Liners, so it would be a shame to let a good looking vessel end up as razor blades. If they cut out one nuclear test they could have the 'Queen Mary', United States', 'Savannah' and a Liberty ship all moored and maintained in the same port; what a great sight and attraction that would be, and if there was any money left over they could have one of our old trawlers (we sent them 50 during the war) which acted as armed escorts and minesweepers along the USA Atlantic seaboard to protect American convoys (After American Admiral King finally woke up and accepted convoy system, he was very anti British systems). Lets hope the 'United States' society can raise the necessary dough.

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    I remember when I was on the Old Franconia of Cunard in 1956, I was talking to a couple of American passengers, they had sailed on the United States. They said she rattled a lot, due to all the cabins etc just being bolted together for a quick change to being a trooper.
    They preferred to sail on real Liners like Cunard.
    Their words not mine.
    Cheers
    Brian

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    There was a lot of Aluminium used in teh superstructure , I would be wary of the condition of that , and with the current Boilers and Engines it takes 900 tonnes a day of fuel to run it , that is three times what it took the old Mail boats , and they were uneconomical
    Rob Page R855150 - British & Commonwealth Shipping ( 1965 - 1973 ) Gulf Oil -( 1973 - 1975 ) Sealink ( 1975 - 1986 )

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    Saw her come into Southampton on her maiden record breaking run.

    The wife of a friend was a passenger on her in a cabin at the after end. She said that the vibration was terrible.

    I believe she is past her time for resurrection. Too bad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert T. Bush View Post
    Saw her come into Southampton on her maiden record breaking run.

    The wife of a friend was a passenger on her in a cabin at the after end. She said that the vibration was terrible.

    I believe she is past her time for resurrection. Too bad.
    Having taken the Blue Riband . Interviewed on arrival.So'ton.Bob Hope, Cracked, "Cunard gave them a 21 Torpedo Salute"

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    There is only one Real Liner worth preserving and that is Queen Mary, a wonderful ship to visit and stay on board, enjoy the real thing.
    Cheers
    Brian

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    Whilst I agree Brian there were a couple of others that maybe could have been preserved had the UK gov done the right thing. Windsor Castle comes to mind as she was in theory the biggest passenger cargo ship of her kind.Some may disagree on that though.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
    World Traveller

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