Bow section of former DEL ORLEANS, USS CRESCENT CITY, GOLDEN BEAR at Brownsville awaiting salvation. Photo courtesy of Charles Jennings.
As workers demolish the 1940-built PACIFIC STAR (ex DEL ORLEANS, USS CRESCENT CITY, GOLDEN BEAR, ARTSHIP) at the ESCO Shipyard in Brownsville, Texas, Oakland, California-based Charles Jennings has launched a noble campaign to save the tip of the bow of this extremely historic ship but needs help from the likes of fellow enthusiasts to find a home for it. Here is his open appeal to the community of shiplovers around the world:
“My fellow Mariners,
I am writing in regards to the TS Golden Bear II/USS Crescent City that is currently being scrapped in Brownsville Texas. Upon the scrapping of this vessel, she will be the last of her kind in many ways. It is my hope that with your help we will be able to preserve a small piece of her, paying homage to the merchant mariners and the ship that served our country proudly during WWII.
While the ship cannot be saved, preserving a small piece of her bow would be a fitting tribute to her generation, those who served on her and American ingenuity. By saving this small piece today, a new generation will be able to see, touch and literally stand on the deck of this historic vessel in the exact same spot where countless sailors stood their watch.
This is a chance for generations of WWII veterans, California Maritime alumni, USN and their families to stand together on deck while both being inspired and reminiscing about a proud bygone era of American shipping history.
Over the past few months I have been working with ESCO Marine in Brownsville Texas and they have graciously worked to help in this important feat by cutting and saving the bow section of the ship and offering to save it as long as they can (see photo). ESCO has gone above and beyond in this service and is to be commended for their willingness to help preserve this piece and donate it to an educational institution, museum, or sale of this piece to a maritime enthusiast. While a museum is the ideal home for her, any home but the cutting torch is to be considered. But time is running out. I have contacted the California Maritime Academy and several museums and all have turned down the offer.
I am now turning to you for help. Do you know of a museum or entity that may be willing to save her? Even by sending this letter to persons that may be of interest may help. Please do not contact ESCO Marine or the California Maritime Academy at this time unless you have some serious pull at the Maritime Academy or are willing to purchase this fine piece of maritime history. If you have any suggestions or are willing to contact museums on your own, please feel free to do so. Once you have secured interest in the bow please contact me with your findings or connections. I will then be happy to pass on all pertinent information. This is now a team effort my friends, and time is running out.
About the Ship: There are very few ships today that have served this country as she has. While briefly outfitted as the Passenger/Cargo ship “Del Orleans”, she soon was requisitioned by the US NAVY during WWII and renamed “USS CRESENT CITY”. She went on to serve in all the major theaters of war in the Pacific, earning ten battle stars for her WWII service. During this time, she was also used to treat injured and dying American soldiers as a hospital ship in
She was the last surviving ship from the battle for Guadalcanal. During the battle of Guadalcanal torpedo planes and dive-bombers attacked her. Rear Adm. Daniel Callaghan was killed in one of those battles as he stood on the bridge of the cruiser San Francisco, which was protecting the Crescent City at the time. That battered bridge wing now sits at Lands End in San Francisco, a memorial to the admiral and other men lost during the war.
She later served her country and countless cadets for 24 years as the educational platform TS Golden Bear II, a training ship at the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo California.
As you will recognize the significance of this ship both in terms of WWII history and its direct connection to the Maritime Academy makes the this call to action even more urgent!
Call to Action: I am looking for those of you that can make this happen. This is an invitation for you to get involved in the process by contacting potential museums and/or collectors who might be interested in helping preserve this part of the ship. If you have a museum or entity that is interested, please contact them ASAP.
Please feel free to contact me at Charles@bayvoyager.com if you have specific questions.
Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea. With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications. Knego also runs the www.midshipcentury.com website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India. He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."
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