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~ Kathy M.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The U.S. Wakerobin:

Among my Great-Uncle John Hedrick's photos, was there was one of the U.S. Wakerobin, a former Coast Guard Lighthouse Tender.  Either Uncle John took the photo himself, or somebody sent it to him; there was no writing on the back of the picture.  It is nowhere near Oregon, but Uncle John was stationed in the midwest for a while during WWII, so maybe he stopped by to see it in his travels.

According to the USCG Military History website:

"The Wakerobin was constructed as a river tender for service in the upper Mississippi River. 

She was designed to work in tandem with a construction barge that she pushed off her bow. She was the last stern-wheel tender built for the U. S. Lighthouse Service. 

She was commissioned on 15 April 1927 and was assigned to the 13th Lighthouse District at Rock Island, Illinois. 

During World War II she was assigned to the 9th District and was stationed at Keokuk, Iowa and then Vicksburg, Mississippi. From Vicksburg she was used to tend aids to navigation on 438 miles of the lower Mississippi River, from Mile 400 to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.   

In early 1945 she underwent a refit and was then transferred to Memphis, Tennessee where her area of operations included the area between Cairo, Illinois to the mouth of the Arkansas River. 

Due to "exorbitant" operating and maintenance costs, Wakerobin was laid up at the Coast Guard Depot at Paris, Tennessee and placed "out of commission in reserve" on 18 December 1948. She was loaned to the "U.S. Army Engineers Corps" on 18 April 1949 and the transfer was made permanent on 20 April 1955."

The U.S. Wakerobin is 182' long, beam 43', draft 4'.02"  It displaces 622 tons and cost $187,500 to built. The Dravo Construction Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania built the ship and it was commissioned to the Coast Guard in 1927. 

Here are several more photos of the Wakerobin over the years: 

 Photo source: Cincinnati Library

 Photo source: Cincinnati Library

 Photo source: Cincinnati Library

 Photo source: Cincinnati Library

 Photo source: Cincinnati Library

 Photo source: Cincinnati Library

This is what it looks like now, in a photo taken by Bill Alden on September 11, 2004.  Now known as a haunted boat (it is/was turned into a haunted-house type of tourist attraction), The U.S.S. Frightliner, it is docked in Louisville, Kentucky:

"A new life, a 63-year-old boat idly 
waiting for it's second chance."

"History of the U.S. Wakerobin"

Scroll down to #8 for the U.S.S. Frightliner

So, there you are, my friends.  If you enjoyed this story, please visit my Sepia Saturday friends by "CLICKING HERE" to find other neat photos and stories. To read more about my family and other stories featuring old photos, memories and more, please look for this picture of me and my dad on the left-hand sidebar to read whatever else catches your fancy.  Thanks so much for visiting! 

~ Kathy M. 

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

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Karen said...

Interesting post. There is so much history tied up in these old vessels.

Mike Burnett said...

Unique to the Mississippi, I always think of them as 19th. century passenger boats, and Gamblers and the Haunt of Maverick, not as a working boat.

Shame to see the old girl languishing even if she looks like a floating prefabricated office block.

Brett Payne said...

Another sternwheel paddlesteamer, thank you Kathy for the great series of photographs. This one looks very sad in its current incarnation, although I must admit it's a bit of a surprise to see it still afloat. Hopefully it will see the restoration that it's so obviously crying out for.

KathyB. said...

I found this very interesting. I did not know there were such boats inland.

I wonder why it is now known as a haunted boat.

Postcardy said...

That's interesting boat about the same age as the Delta Queen. It's current status is frightful, but not as bad as being scrapped or sunk which has been the fate of most ships.

Bob Scotney said...

I woyld like to know the story that led to it being called the haunted boat. What a shame to see it so apparently neglected.

Debora said...

Hi Kathy!
Thanks for paying me a visit! I a-followin' you now! I think somebody needs to buy that old ship and turn it into a home. Somebody with lots of imagination and tons of money!

Kathy Morales said...

I love these old boats that traveled the Mississippi. It is sad to see it in such disrepair, but since it is still around maybe there is hope that someone will restore it.

Bookie said...

Hi, Kathy...interesting about the boat and amazing it is still afloat in Kentucky! Looks bedraggled but might be good again someday with enough money.

Thanks for visiting my blog...yes, waiting on spring.....

tony said...

Oh! A Boat with Ghosts and such...Shiver My Timbers ! But,yes,tis a shame she has let herself go. A Fascinating Post.

L. D. said...

I am really fascinated with river boats. Iowa sits between the two rivers and they travel up and down them many years ago. The riverboat museum in Kansas City, shows the rescued cargo from a riverboat that had been buried in many feet of mud many years ago.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

You've got some of the neatest old family pictures and stories. The Wakerobin was a fine looking vessel. In a way, it's kinda sad that's she a "haunted" tourist attraction now, but that wouldn't stop me from going aboard if I were given the chance.

Alan Burnett said...

In some ways there is something so "un-boatlike" about their shape, but they are magnificent vessels all the same.

Mike Brubaker said...

Boats and ships always strike the heart of romance and adventure. And photos always enhance the effect.

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