USS Massachusetts - History

USS Massachusetts - History

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(ScGbt: t. 70; 1. 178'; b. 32'2"; dr. 15'; a. 4 guns)

The first Massachusetts, a wooden steamer, was built in the shipyard of Samuel Hall, Boston, Mass., under the supervision of Edward H. Lielano for Mr. R. B. Forbes in 1845 as an auxiliary steam packet, she helped pioneer commercial steamer service between New York and Liverpool, England. She was purchased by the War Department in 1847 and during the Mexican War served as a troop transport for the Army. In 1848 she steamed 'round Cape Horn to San Francisco; she was transferred to the Navy at Mare Island Navy Yard 1 August 1849, and commissioned the same day, Lt. L. Knox in command.

Assigned to the Pacific Squadron, Massachusetts operated along the west coast in a project for the selection of sites for lighthouses and buoys by the Joint Navy and Army Commission. She departed San Francisco 12 August 1-2; steamed via ports in Ecuador, Chile, and Brazil and arrived Norfolk 17 March 1853. She decommissioned the following day.

Massachusetts recommissioned at Norfolk 2 May 1854 Lt. Richard W. Meade in command. After fitting out, she departed for the Pacific 5 July, reached the Straits of Magellan 13 December, and arrived Mare Island 8 May 1855. During June and July she cruised the coast between San Francisco and the Columbia River, thence, she sailed for Central America 25 August. She showed the flag from Mexico to Nicaragua and returned to San Francisco 9 January 1856.

Following an Indian uprising along the coast of Puget Sound, Washington Territory, in October 1855, Massachusetts departed Mare Island 17 February 1856 with guns and ammunition for Seattle where she arrived 24 February. She operated in Puget Sound and the Straits of Juan de Fuca for more than a year, visiting ports in Washington Territory and the British Crown Colony of Vancouver Island. She departed the Pacific Northwest 4 April 1847, reached Mare Island 9 April, and decommissioned there 17 June.

On 5 January 1859 Secretary of the Navy Isaac Toucey ordered the Commandant of the Mare Island Navy Yard to fit out off Massachusetts prior to transfer to the War Department. She was turned over to the Army Quartermaster Corps in May 1869 and during the next several years cruised Puget Sound "for the protection of the inhabitants of that quarter." The Quartermaster General of the Army ordered Massachusetts re transferred to the Navy 27 January 1862. Subsequently, she was placed in ordinary at Mare Island and surveyed.

Massachusetts underwent conversion to a storeship. Her engines were removed, and she was converted into a bark. Renamed Farallones in January 1863, she com missioned 17 June 1863, Acting Master C. C. Wells in command. She served ships of the Pacific Squadron as a storeship until February 1867 when she decommissioned at Mare Island. She was sold at San Francisco to Moore & Co., 15 May 1867.

USS Massachusetts

The oldest existing American battleship, USS Massachusetts was one of three "Indiana" class battleships authorized in 1890 for the new "Steel Navy." Among the most powerful ships of their time, Indiana, Massachusetts, and Oregon were the first heavy-caliber, heavy-armor battleships to be built by the United States, and the first to be given hull numbers. Officially commissioned by the Navy on June 10, 1896, she was over 350 feet long, with a beam of 69 feet and a draft of 24 feet.

Massachusetts saw her first battle during the Spanish-American War. She sailed to Cuba to help blockade the ports of Cienfuegos and Santiago. In the following years Massachusetts performed a variety of duties, conducting battle practice in several different ports. In 1906, she was decommissioned, but in 1910 was refitted with a caged mainmast and other modern hardware, including one of the first shipboard wireless telegraphs. Massachusetts was placed in reduced commission to serve as a summer practice ship for midshipmen. She also served as a gunnery practice ship for naval reserve crews after war was declared with Germany.

In 1919, Massachusetts returned to Philadelphia and was decommissioned for the final time. Stripped of her guns and furnishings, the obsolete ship was towed to Pensacola in January 1921 to be used as a target for experimental artillery, and scuttled just outside the entrance to the bay. Scarred and torn, the ship sat peacefully for years in the Gulf, attracting fish and fishermen alike. In the late 1950s, several salvage companies tried to salvage the wreck but with the support of the people of Pensacola, the state filed an injunction to prevent salvage, and when the case was brought before the Supreme Court, the title to Massachusetts was awarded to the State of Florida.

C lick the thumbnails below to view larger versions of these historical images of USS Massachusetts.

USS Massachusetts BB-59

The USS Massachusetts is one of four WWII South Dakota Class Battleships. BB-59's specifications are:

Length: 680 feet
Beam: 108 feet
Draught: 26 feet 9 inches
Crew: 2,500
Displacement: 35,000 tons (42,000 tons fully loaded)
Max Speed: 30kts (35mph)
Fuel Capacity: 7,000 tons of fuel oil
9 16" 50 caliber rifled guns in 3 triple turrets
20 5" 38 caliber rifled guns in 10 twin enclosed gun mounts
68 40mm Bofors AA guns
40 20mm Oerlikon AA guns
Aircraft: 3 Vought Kingfisher Seaplanes with 2 Catapults
Armor: 16" at the sides
Power Plant: 8 oil fired boilers powering geared steam turbines driving 4 screws with 130,000 Shaft Horsepower
Launching Date: September 23, 1941 at the Bethlehem Steel Company Quincy, MA

You can visit the Battleship USS Massachusetts in Fall River, Massachusetts. Allow yourself a full day and get there early. There is a LOT to see and if you enjoy naval history and hardware you'll feel like a kid in a candy store.

The armor piercing tip of a 16 inch shell fired from the USS Massachusetts at fortifications that was recovered from the shore after the Battle of Casablanca in 1942.

The USS Massachusetts is a very impressive ship. There's a great deal to see inside and you really get a feel for what it might have been like for our fathers and grandfathers to have lived and fought in such a crowded environment. Many of the crew's areas have been restored to a very high standard. Some are accessible and others can be viewed through plexiglas screens. Staff and volunteers continue to paint and scrape and get more compartments ready for visitors. The interior is like a small city, complete with a barber shop, post office, laundry, sick bay, dentist's office, brig, and more. They even have a snack bar/grill on board and the food was quite passable (although it may have seemed that way as I was starved after spending a full morning climbing through and exploring the ships and submarine).

Don't miss a visit into BB-59's aft turret. You can pass by and miss the open hatch quite easily. The entrance hatch is on the bottom of the back of the turret and it is not well marked but you can climb inside and see the components and workings of the turret interior (You will need to be somewhat flexible as there is some climbing and bending involved in getting around the turret interior. It is not handicapped accessible). There is a short audio tape playing on the starboard gun which is lowered to give the visitor a better view of the breach and loading mechanisms. One of the 5" turrets (gun mount is the more correct term) is open also. It's even more of a climb but there is more headroom than in the 16" turret.

If you visited the ship a few years ago, you may want to make another visit. While I was there the USS Massachusetts staff and volunteers were busy painting and scraping two more compartments that had not been open before, so there will be more compartments open to see today. Hopefully one day the engine rooms will be accessible as that is one area of the ship I thought would be really interesting.

Before you leave the museum, take a stroll along the boardwalk along the shore of the river. From here you can best take in the whole scene of the Battleship USS Massachusetts towering over the other ships moored before you. It really is a spectacular scene (If your camera has a panorama mode, this is the best place to shoot pans). The ship is positioned roughly north/south, on the east side of the river, so the most interesting lighting is early in the morning.

Along with USS Massachusetts at Battleship Cove in Fall River there are two restored WWII PT Boats (the Elco PT Boat PT 617 and a Higgins PT 796), a WWII US Fleet Submarine USS Lionfish, the Destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy, and the Soviet Missile Corvette Hiddensee.

USS Massachusetts [ edit | edit source ]

Battleship Massachusetts in 2012.

The largest ship in the Battleship Cove fleet, USS Massachusetts (BB-59) is the centerpiece of the collection. Known as "Big Mamie" to her crewmembers during World War II, a battleship of the second South Dakota class, was the seventh ship of the United States Navy to be named in honor of the sixth state. Her keel was laid down 20 July 1939 at the Fore River Shipyard of Quincy, Massachusetts. She was launched on 23 September 1941 sponsored by Mrs. Charles Francis Adams III, and commissioned on 12 May 1942 at Boston, Massachusetts, with Captain Francis E.M. Whiting in command.

Massachusetts received eleven battle stars for World War II service and earned a reputation as a "Work Horse of the Fleet". During World War II, no United States Navy personnel were killed in action while aboard the Massachusetts. It is said that "Big Mamie" fired both the first US Navy 16 inch shells of World War II (at the Vichy French battleship Jean Bart in the Naval Battle of Casablanca during Operation Torch) and the last (at a Japanese steel works at Hamamatsu), hours before the war ended.

The USS Massachusetts is one of only eight United States battleships remaining, of the many that were produced in the first half of the 20th century.

USS Massachusetts - History

Massachusetts V
BB-59: dp. 33,000 1. 080'10" b. 108'2" dr. 29'3" s. 27 k. cpl. 1793 a. 9 16", 20 5", 24 40mm., 35 20mm., cl. South Dakota)

Massachusetts (BR-59) was laid down 20 July 1939 by Bethlehem Steel Co., Quincy, Mass. launched 23 September l941 sponsored by Mrs Charles Francis Adams and commissioned 12 .May 1942 at Boston, Capt. Francis E. M. Whiting in command.

After shakedown, Massachusetts departed Casco Bay, Maine, 24 October 1942 and 4 days later made rendezvous with the Western Naval Task Force for the invasion of north Africa, serving as flagship for Adm. H. Kent Hewitt. While steaming off Casablanca 8 November, she came under fire from French battleship Jean Bart's 15-inch guns. She returned fire at 0740. Firing the first l6-inch shells fired by the U.S. against the European Axis Powers. Within a few minutes she silenced Jean Bart's main battery then she turned her guns as French destroyers which kind joined the attack, sinking two of them. She
also shelled shore batteries and blew up an ammunition dump. After a cease-fire had been arranged with the French, she headed for the United States 12 November, and prepared for Pacific duty.

Massachusetts arrived at Noumea, New Caledonia, 4 March 1943. For the next months she operated In the South Pacific, protecting convoy lanes and supporting operations in the Solomons. Between 19 November and 21 November, she sailed with a carrier group striking Makin Tarawa and Abe mama in the Gilberts, on 8 December she shelled Japanese positions on Nauru, and on 29 January 1944 she guarded carriers striking Tarawa in the Gilberts.

The navy now drove steadily across the Pacific. On 30 January Massachusetts, bombarded Kwajalein, and she covered the landings there 1 February. with a carrier group she struck against the Japanese stronghold at Trok 17 February. That raid not only inflicted heavy damage on Japanese aircraft and naval forces, but also proved to be a stunning blow to enemy morale, On 21 to 22 February, Massachusetts helped fight off a heavy air attack on her task group while it made raids,on Saipan, Tinian, and Guam. She took part in the attack on the Carolines in late March and participated in the invasion at Hollandia 22 April which landed 60,000 troops on the island. Retiring from Hollandia' her task force staged another attack on Truk.

Massachusetts shelled Ponape Island 1 May, her last mission before sailing to Puget Sound to overhaul and reline her gun barrels, now well-worn. On 1 August she left Pearl Harbor to resume operations in the Pacific war zone. She departed the Marshall Islands 6 October, sailing to support the Landings in Leyte Gulf. In an effort to block Japanese air attacks in the l,Leyte conflict, she participated in a fleet strike against Okinawa 10 October. Between 12 and 14 October, she protected forces hitting Formosa. While part of TG 38.3 she took part in the Battle for Leyte Gulf 22 to 27 October, during which planes from her group sank four Japanese carriers off Cape Engano.

Stopping briefly at Ulithi, Massachusetts returned to the Philippines as part of a task force which struck Manila 14 December while supporting the invasion of Mindoro. Massachusetts sailed into a howling typhoon 17 December, with winds estimated at 120 knots. Three destroyers sank at the height of the typhoon's fury. Between 30 December and 23 January 1945, she sailed as part of TF 38, which struck Formosa and supported the landing at Lingayen. During that time she turned into the South China Sea, her task force destroying shipping from Saigon to Hong Kong, concluding operations with airstrikes on Formosa and Okinawa.

From 10 February to 3 March. with the 5th Fleet Massachusetts guarded carriers during raids on Honshu. Her group also struck Iwo Jima by air for the invasion of that island. On 17 March, the carriers launched strikes against Kyushu while Massachusetts fired in repelling enemy attacks, splashing several planes. Seven days later she bombarded Okinawa. She spent most of April fighting off air attacks, while engaged in the operations at Okinawa, returning to the area in June, when she passed through the eye of a typhoon with 100-knot winds 5 June. She bombarded Minami Daito Jima in the Ryukvus 10 .June.

Massachusetts sailed 1 July from Leyte Gulf to join the 3d Fleet's final offensive against Japan. After guarding carriers launching strikes against Tokyo, she shelled Kamaishi, Honshu, 14 July, thus hitting Japan's second largest iron and steel center. Two weeks later she bombarded the industrial complex at Hamamatsu, returning to blast Kamaishi 9 August. It was here that Massachusetts fired what was probably the last 16 inch shell fired in combat in World War II.

Victory won, the fighting battleship sailed for Puget Sound and overhaul I September. She left there 28 January 1948 for operations off the California coast, until leaving San. Francisco for Hampton Roads, arriving 22 April. She decommissioned 27 March 1947 to enter the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Norfolk, and was struck from the Naval Register 1 June 1962.

"Big Mamie," as she was affectionately known, was saved from the scrap pile when she was transferred to the Massachusetts Memorial Committee 8 June 1965. She was enshrined at Fall River, Mass., 14 August 1965, as the Bay State's memorial to those who gave their lives in World War II.

USS Massachusetts - History

Commissioned by the US Navy to restore a 1939 Copeland refrigerator has been commissioned by the US Navy to restore a 1939 Copeland refrigerator. In January of 2002, the curator of the USS Massachusetts, a WWII battleship, contacted us about restoring a refrigerator that had been located in the belly of the ship. Although the battleship was pulled from mothballs years ago to undergo a full restoration, the refrigerator was only located in storage this year. In researching the naval serial number tagged to the refrigerator, it was determined that this refrigerator was originally located in the Admiral’s Pantry of the ship. This discovery prompted the restoration team at Battleship Cove to contact AntiqueAppliances.Com for the full make over of their new found treasure. The real dilemma that we faced in taking on this project was time! The USS Massachusetts floating museum in Battleship Cove near Boston was established in the mid-1960’s. However the Admiral’s quarters has just been restored to its glory and was slated for opening to the public in mid-May, 2002. With restoration projects already booked on our calendar through March of 2003, we were hesitant, but eager to take on the project. Given the prestige of restoring this prized refrigerator for our countries naval forces was an opportunity we simply could not pass up. Projects already in the works were not to be set aside, as every client we have deserves our utmost attention and priority. The vote of our crew of restorers was simply to work the project in alongside others.

The folks at Battleship Cove crated and shipped the ‘39 Copeland to us in early February. The refrigerator was immediately photographed for documentation of the transformation that was to take place. Next, the unit was carefully dismantled with parts being tagged and cataloged for the rebuild stage of the process. The stripped down refrigerator was taken to the sandblasting room where some 7 layers of paint were removed. It was obvious that this fridge had been repainted about every ten years. Layers of color were removed like turning pages in a history book…. mint green, pale yellow, avocado green, coffee brown and beige. As the original color of the refrigerator was white, white will be the color applied when the cabinet is refinished.

The interior of the refrigerator compartment was shipped to Custom Ceramic Coatings in Lenzburg, Illinois to have the porcelain interior refinished. While the liner was in Illinois, we designed and built a new mechanical cooling system for the refrigerator, as it is expected to be functional once back on-board ship. With the sandblasting of the cabinet complete, needed body work was performed to areas damaged by years of military life. When the cabinet repairs were complete, the unit will received its shiny new white finish. In the meantime, door latches, hinges and other hardware were refinished. As soon as the interior liner returned from its trek to Lenzburg, the refrigeration system was reinstalled, the cabinet received new insulation and the newly refinished liner was refit into the box. The final reassembly included the installation of a replicated front grill, custom made by our expert team. The original grill was missing from the refrigerator, but research and perseverance unearthed what the original grill looked like. Much time and detail work went into the final assembly to produce a restored piece of history that our US Navy can be proud of. The completed project was shipped back to the museum at Boston in early May.

Many thanks to John Ballentyne of Custom Ceramic Coatings for understanding the urgency in getting the piece we sent him refinished. John, like us, is booked months in advance but saw the importance in working this item in to meet our deadline.

USS Massachusetts - History

(BB-2: dp. 10,288 1. 350'11" b. 69'3" dr. 24' s. 16.21 k., cpl. 586, a. 4 13", 8 8", 4 6", 2 3", 20 6-pdrs., 61-pdrs., 6 18" tt. cl. Indiana)

The fourth Massachusetts (BB-2) was laid down by William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia, Pa., 25 June 1891 launched 10 June 1893, sponsored by Miss Leila Herbert daughter of Secretary of the Navy Hilary Herbert and commissioned 10 June 1896, Capt. Frederick Bodgers in command.

Underway for shakedown 4 August 1896, Massachusetts conducted trials and maneuvers off the middle Atlantic coast until 30 N ovember, when she entered New York Navy Yard for overhaul. Following a brief voyage to Charleston, S.C., 12 to 20 February 1897, the battleship departed New York 26 May for Boston, arriving 2 days later for a celebration in her honor, including the presentation of the Massachusetts Coat of Arms 16 June, and a gift of a statue of victory the next day. She departed Boston on the 15th to cruise to St. Johns, Newfoundland, arriving 23 June. Sailing on the 28th the warship operated off the Atlantic coast for the next 10 months, participating in training maneuvers with the North Atlantic Squadron off Florida and making calls at major east coast ports. On 27 March 1898 she was ordered to Hampton Roads, Va., to join the "Flying Squadron" for the blockade of Cuba.

Massachusetts departed Norfolk 13 May for Cienfuegos, Cuba, where she took up blockade duties vn the 22d. On the afternoon of 31 May in company with battleship Iowa (BB-4) and cruiser New Orleans, she bombarded the forts at the entrance to Santiago de Cuba, and exchanged fire with Spanish cruiser Cristobal Colon, forcing the enemy ship to retire into the inner harbor of Santiago. The battleship remained on patrol off Santiago, intermittently bombarding Spanish fortifications, until 3 July, when she stood out to coal at Guantanamo Bay. Missing the Battle of Santiago, the battleship steamed back to
her station on the 4th, arriving in time to help battleship Texas force cruiser Reina Mercedes to beach and surrender at midnight 6 July. Following duty in support of the American occupation of Puerto Rico, 21 July to 1 August, Massachusetts steamed for home, arriving New York 20 August.

During the next 7 years, Massachusetts cruised the Atlantic coast and eastern Caribbean as a member of the North Atlantic Squadron. From 27 May to 30 August 1904, the warship served as a training ship for Naval Academy midshipmen off New England and then entered New York Yard for overhaul. Departing New York 13 January 1905, the battlewagon then steamed for the Caribbean on training maneuvers, operating there until she returned north to cruise off New England in May. Putting into New York 12 November 1905, she underwent inactivation overhaul and then decommissioned 8 January 1906.

Massachusetts was placed in reduced commission 2 May 1910 to serve as a summer practice ship for Naval Academy midshipmen. During the next 4 years she made three midshipman cruises—twice to Western Europe— before entering the Atlantic Reserve Fleet in September 1912. Following a brief voyage to Nev York 5 to 16 October for the Presidential Fleet Review, the warship returned to Philadelphia where she remained until decommissioning 23 May 1914.


USS Massachusetts began life in a shipyard at Quincy, Massachusetts. The Navy brought her into service with her commission in May 1942. After initial operations, the ship participated in the invasion on North Africa in November 1942. In early 1943, the ship reported for duty in the Pacific. For the next few months, USS Massachusetts patrolled waters in the South Pacific. Later that year, she saw action during the invasions of the Gilbert and Marshall Islands. She participated on various islands raids and in the Hollandia invasion in April 1944.

Summer 1944 saw USS Massachusetts in dry dock for an overhaul. When she returned to action, she saw action with raids at Okinawa and Formosa later that year. She spent the remainder of 1944 with the Battle of Leyte Gulf and in various raids of the Philippines. With the opening of 1945, USS Massachusetts participated in the invasions of Luzon, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. For the summer months, she bombarded various Japanese home islands before the surrender. After the war, she spent a few months patrolling along the West Coast. The Navy decommissioned her in March 1947 and she remained part of the Reserve Fleet until June 1962. A few years later, the State of Massachusetts brought her to Fall River where she sits today as a museum.


Battleship Cove: (MA) Explore the world's most complete collection of historic fighting ships. Home of the Battleship Massachusetts and her sister ships, Battleship Cove is open daily, year round, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Visitors get their hands on history as they work the 40mm guns aboard Battleship Massachusetts, explore the decks aboard Destroyer Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., dodge torpedoes aboard Submarine Lionfish, see the only two PT boats on public display in the world, and Hiddensee, the only Russian missile corvette on display in the world.

Beverly Historical Society & Museum: (MA) The Beverly Historical Society & Museum preserves and interprets Beverly's maritime, social, artistic, and cultural history. It fulfills this mission by maintaining historic properties by collecting, exhibiting, and conserving artifacts and archival materials made, used, or associated with Beverly and by making available to researchers library collections.

Boston National Historic Park: (MA) "Old Ironsides," the USS Constitution, oldest still-in-commission warship, major maritime museum with "gobs" of historic photos and information.

Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum: (MA) Over 200 years ago on a raw December night, a scraggly band of angry patriots, loosely disguised as Indians, crept along the darkened streets of colonial Boston. With fire in their eyes, they moved stealthily through the murky night to Griffin's Wharf and a rendezvous with history. Now at the Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum, experience the drama of the single most important event leading to the American Revolution. Discover for yourself what political and economic conditions caused the Boston Tea Party and how it changed history forever!

Cape Ann Historical Museum: (MA) The Cape Ann Historical Museum is a fine regional museum where thousands of visitors come to the quaint fishing town of Gloucester, Massachusetts to see our collections every year. the fine arts, decorative arts and furnishings, fisheries and maritime artifacts, the historic sea captain's house.

Cape Cod Maritime Museum: ( MA) The Cape Cod Maritime Museum in Hyannis, MA showcases the Cape's maritime history with a variety of permanent and temporary exhibits. Opened in 2004 the center is where the region's mritime history is celebrated and studied. And planning is underway for a new building and will establish its own permanent collection of artifacts and displays. From the clambakes of early native americans, to the heroics of 19th century sea captaiins, to today, the sea continues to play a vital role in the economic and recreational lives of Cape Codders and visitors. Ours is a coloful history captured in images, local historical societies, private

Captain Forbes House Museum: (MA) The Forbes estate is in the heart of the Milton Hill Historic District, three miles from the Adams National Historic Site in Quincy. The estate affords a sweeping view of Boston Harbor, where Forbes ships once docked with their exotic cargoes from the Far East. The mansion was occupied by the Forbes family into the 1960's, and later housed the China Trade Museum until 1984. It is now restored to approximate its Victorian appearance in the 1870's, when Alice Bowditch Forbes and James Murray Forbes raised their family here.

Charlestown Navy Yard: (MA) Discover the revolutionary generation of Bostonians who blazed a trail from colonialism to independence. Boston National Historical Park is an association of sites that together give the visitor a coherent view of the city's role in the nation's history. Near downtown Boston, in the Charlestown Navy Yard, is one of the nation's first naval shipyards and the USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. Also in Charlestown, visit the Bunker Hill Monument, the site of the first major battle of the American Revolution. Seven of the eight privately, municipally and federally owned and managed historic sites that comprise Boston National Historical Park and are connected by the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile (4km) walking tour of 16 sites and structures of historic importance in downtown Boston and Charlestown.

Egan Institute of Maritime Studies: (MA) Situated in the historic Coffin School, the Egan Institute of Maritime Studies was established in 1996 to advance the scholary study and application of the history , literature, art, and maritime traditions of Nantucket Island. The Egan Institute seeks to perpetuate the legacy of the school's founder, Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin, through its support of nautical training for the youth of Nantucket.

Essex Shipbuilding Museum: (MA) Essex Shipbuilding Museum, founded in 1976, honors the shipbuilders of Essex who built more two-masted vessels than anywhere else in the Western World &mdash over 4,000 two-masted schooners. Museum exhibits at the 1835 schoolhouse, at 28 Main Street, portray the evolution of the American fishing schooner from the Chebacco boat to Schooner Gertrude L. Thebaud.

Expedition Whydah: Pirate Ship: (MA) Welcome to a Site devoted to the pirate shipwreck Whydah--the only documented pirate wreck discovered ever! Commanded by the pirate Sam Bellamy, the Whydah was wrecked off Cape Cod in 1717 by a howling nor'easter. She went to her grave with 144 men--and treasures from over fifty captured vessels aboard! Quickly swallowed up by the hungry sands of the "Graveyard of the Atlantic", the whereabouts of the Whydah's treasures remained a mystery for centuries. Now, ten years, and over 100,000 artifacts later, the work continues on the recovery of the treasures of the pirate ship Whydah--the world's only authenticated pirate reasure and are displayed in the Museum on the Pier in Provincetown, Cap Cod, Massachusetts.

Falmouth Historical Society Museums: (MA) The Falmouth Historical Society has an excellent whaling exhibit At The Conant House Museum, 65 Palmer Avenue, On The Falmouth Village Green in Falmouth, MA. Spermaceti, a waxy solid taken from the heads of sperm whales, was used to make fine clean-burning candles. Whale oil was also used for lighting because it burned with a much finer flame than did the tallow candles of the times. The discovery of crude oil in Pennsylvania resulted in greatly reducing the cost of clean-burning lamp oil and replaced the more expensive whale oil and spermaceti candles. This clean-burning crude oil, a fossil fuel, eventually was responsible for the decline of the whaling industry in New England.

Gloucester Adventure: (MA) A bowspritless "knockabout," 121'6" from stem to stern, the Adventure was solidly built of oak and pine in Essex, Massachusetts in 1926. Carrying a full sailing rig, diesel engine and 14 dories, she spent the next 27 years fishing the North Atlantic's bountiful outer banks from her home port of Gloucester.

Hart Nautical Collections: (MA) The Hart collections began with a gift in 1903 of ship models, drawings, books, photographic materials, and marine art. Worth a visit.

Hull Lifesaving Museum: (MA) The Hull Lifesaving Museum -- the museum of Boston Harbor heritage -- preserves the region's lifesaving tradition and maritime culture through collections, exhibits, experiential and interpretive education, research, and service to others. The museum's open water rowing programs in Boston Harbor educate young people about themselves while developing a constituency that takes stewardship for its maritime history. The deeds, traditions, and ethic of the nineteenth century coastal lifesavers - Skills, Courage, and Caring -- are the foundation of the museum's exhibits and programs, and its underlying commitment to working to impact society, and individual lives, for the better.

Kendall Whaling Museum: (MA) A world-class collection of artworks, maritime artifacts located in a New England countryside where whaling history is a prime focus. Come visit.

Lowell's Boat Shop: (MA) Lowell's Boat Shop in Amesbury built the dory that was the choice of fishermen who entrusted their lives and livelihoods to these able craft. By 1870, the world's largest fishing fleet was located in the port of Gloucester in Essex County, Massachusetts. The bulk of its fishing was done from dories designed and built along Salisbury Point in what is now the Town of Amesbury. Founded by Simeon Lowell in 1793, Lowell's Boat Shop is one of the oldest businesses in America and the country's oldest boat building shop -- still building and repairing boats.

Marblehead Historical Society: (MA) Stroll through history! Located in the lovely seacoast town of Marblehead, MA., nestled among charming and restaurants, harbor views, historic homes and and stunning sea vistas from nearby parks. Maritime and artifacts toys and children's furniture historic gardens, are featured at the Museum -- Jeremiah Lee 1768 Mansion. The colonial Georgian mansion was owned by wealthy ship-owner and patriot Colonel Lee.

Maritime & Irish Mossing Museum: (MA) The Maritime & Irish Mossing Museum is a truly unique experience. Set in the 1739 residence of Capt. Benjamin James, a series of videos specific to each exhibit tell the stories of a community rich in the maritime traditions. Museum Designer Pam Martell, whose credits include the Norman Rockwell Museum, has created six exhibits: The Shipwreck Room, The Life Saving Room, The Shipbuilding Room, The Captain's Room, The Irish Mossing Room, and The Orientation Room contains artifacts from Scituate's treasure ship, the Forest Queen, wrecked in 1853 and various changing exhibits and an orientation video.

Martha's Vineyard Historical Society: (MA) Founded in 1922, the Martha's Vineyard Historical Society's Museum's mission is to preserve and share the history of Martha's Vineyard. Collections number over 25,000 items and iinclude the Fresnel lense form the Gay Head lighthouse, boats, carriages, costumes, household goods, tools, Native American artifacts, fossils, art, photography, films, oral histories, and much more. Open year `round, the Vineyard Museum is where you meet the people who have left us such a rich legacy.

Mary Celeste Museum: (MA) The Mary Celeste was launched in Nova Scotia in 1860. Her original name was "Amazon." She was 103 ft overall displacing 280 tons and listed as a half-brig. Over the next 10 years she was involved in several accidents at sea and passed thru a number of owners. Eventually she turned up at a New York salvage auction where she was purchased for $3,000. After extensive repairs she was put under American registry and renamed "Mary Celeste".

Massachusetts Lighthouses: (MA) Massachusetts Lighthouses website provides the visitor views of many of the important and beautiful lighthouses along the Massachusetts Atlantic shoreline.

Middlesex Canal Museum: (MA) The old Middlesex Canal by the Merrimack River, ran from Lowell, MA, to Boston, a distance of twenty-seven miles, during the first half of the nineteenth century. The water link actually extended beyond Lowell, MA, to Concord, N.H., with the addition of a series of bypass canals around the rapids and falls on the Merrimack River in New Hampshire. Construction on the old Middlesex Canal was started in October of 1794 and was completed on schedule on December 31, 1803. Originally, the canal ran from Lowell to the Mill Pond in Charlestown, MA.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: (MA) The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, houses a collection of of 35 ship models and associated maritime artifacts. Also displayed are works by noted marine artists from the nineteenth century are on display including famous paintings by Fitz Hugh Lane and Winslow Homer.

Nantucket Life Saving Museum: (MA) This outstanding museum is dedicated to the human drama of man's efforts against the relentless sea and is testimony to those early Nantucketers who saved hundreds of lives in and near the island's treacherous shores and shoals. It tells the stories of people pitted against the angry demands of the sea. people who risked their lives to rescue others. people who knew and understood the little-known motto of the United States Life-Saving Service and the United States Coast Guard: You have to go out, but you don't have to come back. Waiting for you is one of the last four Mass Humane Society surfboats, its horse-drawn carriage, the only Mass Humane Society beachcart left in existence, two "Race Point" surfboats from the U.S. Life-Saving Service and early U.S. Coast Guard period, relics, artifacts, photographs of the early life on Nantucket's many life-saving stations, Lyle and Hunt guns, a Francis Life-Car, and a completely restored early U.S. Coast Guard beachcart that is still used to demonstrate the beach apparatus drill.

New Bedford Free Public Library: (MA) The main library in New Bedford, MA, has significant historical holdings including the third largest collection worldwide of American Whaling materials, early 19th century Quaker materials, and an extensive genealogy collection. Portuguese language materials are available at the Casa da Saudade branch and Spanish language materials are available at the Howland Green branch.

New Bedford Whaling Museum: (MA) Step inside to learn about one of the most adventurous chapters in our history -- the story of American whaling and its most prominent nineteenth-century port.

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park: (MA) The National Historical Park and the adjacent National Register Districts in New Bedford embody the historical and cultural resources associated with and located in New Bedford where its role as the whaling capital of the world during the early to mid-19th century is evident. New Bedford was the world capital of the whaling industry during the decades leading upto the Civil War. The whaling merchants of New Bedford operated a complex business network of finance, shipbuilding, barrel making, insurance, ship supply, and rope and sail making. The sponsors and agents of the ships earned huge profits and for a time and New Bedford was considered to be the "richest city in the world." Today, the Park includes a broad array of business, residential and institutional structures exemplifying the Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate and Victorian styles of architecture museums, historical exhibits, and records. which convey the importance, diversity, and financial power of the whaling era

New England Pirate Museum: (MA) The New England Pirate Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, provides for the unique and little-known history of New England sea-robbers which comes alive at the Museum. Tour here first, then go to the Museum to learn about notorious pirate captains, such as Kidd, Blackbeard, Bellamy and Quelch, who roamed the waters off Boston's North Shore, known as the Gold Coast, while so-called witches were being hanged at Salem.

Old Harbor Life-Saving Station: (MA) "You have to go, but you don't have to come back." Thats what the life- savers' motto was. Life-Savers were stationed on Cape Cod between 1872 and 1915 and its history is preserved in the Old Harbor Life-Saving Station at South Wellfleet, Massachusetts on Cape Cod.

Osterville Historical Society and Museum: (MA) The Cape Cod Boat Shop Museum highlights the boat building industry in Osterville. Even before the Crosbys, boats were built in Osterville since the early part of the 18th century. The Crosby family has been building wooden boats here since 1798. Our boat shops represent the only museum in Massachusetts devoted to the wooden boat building industry A recent addition to the museum is a 1960 Crosby Striper fishing boat. This new addition expands the reach of the museum to power boating, in addition to sailing and rowing craft.

Peabody Essex Museum: (MA) Salem, the seat of America's maritime prowess, can be explored here. Displays of over 400,000 objects are shown at the museum's several sites.

Pilgrim Hall Museum: (MA) Pilgrim Hall Museum was built and opened to the public in 1824. The Museum has been in continuous operation in the United States. A maritime exhibit is in the recovered and preserved lower half of the hull and frame of the Sparrowhawk, an ocean-going vessel sunk off Cape Cod in 1626. Sparrowhawk was found in May 1863 the timbers were excavated from marsh-mud and sand. Long after Pilgrim Hall Museum had been erected, respect for the indomitable spirit of the Pilgrims continued to motivate the Pilgrim Society, as it still does today.

Plimoth Plantation (MA) Brings 17th century New England to life in the 1627 Pilgrim Village and onboard Mayflower II where visitors find themselves transported in time by Pilgrims and the ship's crew speaking in period dialects as they perform the tasks of daily life.

S. S. Nobska Steamer: (MA) The Nobska served the islands of Martha'a Vineyard and Nantucket from Woods Hole, from 1925 to 1973. She's now in drydock at the Charlestown Naval Yard in Boston being refurbished. Stop by and see her.

Salem Maritime National Historic Site: (MA) Derby House and the Custom House here in Salem is the site of great shipbuilding during the 19th century, now fully restored by the National Park Service.

Salt Pond Visitor Center: (Eastham) The Salt Pond Visitor Center of The National Park Service, built the Salt Pond Visitor Center in 1965 at Eastham, MA, and has served close to 500,000 visitors annually ever since. Wooden Ships and Men of Iron is a fascinating review of the maritime history of Cape Cod with emphasis on the whaling industry and the development of sea rescue activities that later evolved into the modern Coast Guard at the Salt Pond Visitor Center. It contains historical footage taken aboard sailing ships. It is Cape Cod National Seashore's main visitor facility, with orientation movies on the half hour, a well-stocked bookstore, a comprehensive museum and restroom facilities.

Sandy Bay Historical Society and Museums: (MA) The Sandy Bay Historical Society and Museum, organized in 1925 at Rockport, MA, is dedicated to the preservation of Rockport history. It was founded under the guidance of Dr. Marshall H. Saville, professor of American Archaeology at Columbia University. The Society was incorporated in 1926.

Schooner Ernestina Commission: (MA) Schooner Ernestina at New Bedford, MA, is a powerful place to teach and a compelling place to learn. On February 5, 1894, a single line in the Gloucester Daily Times recorded an addition to the Massachusetts fishing fleet: "The new schooner for J.F. Wonson and Co. has been named Effie M. Morrissey." This marked the commonplace birth of a schooner that would become famous not only as Grand Banks fisher, but also as arctic expeditionary vessel under the command of Capt. Robert Abram Bartlett and World War II survey vessel under Commander Alexander Forbes. The vessel's educational programs and seminars are tailored to meet the specific needs of schools, colleges and other educational and cultural organizations. The ship continues to make history as a cultural resource rich in tradition and diversity, often serving as a memorable setting for civic, social and corporate

Scituate Lighthouse: (MA) Scituate Lighthouses had their beginning in 1811 and moved through history being deactivated, relit, and finally a proper monument to the life saving it afforded. At the relighting ceremony in August 1994, Kathleen Laidlaw, one of the heroines of Scituate Light, said, "The lighthouse has become almost the symbol of Scituate. The light will bring it back to life."

SUBMARINE: X1B U-boat - PROJECT CA-35D: (MA) The Greatest find since the "Titanic". A Type X1B U-boat has been located off Cape Cod, MA and we are in the process of recovery!! Come visit and out the exciting details of this discovery!

Tugboat Luna: (MA) The Luna Preservation Society (LPS) is a non-profit preservation of the tugboat Luna, a National Historic Landmark moored in Boston, MA. The Luna was the first commercial diesel-electric ship-docking tug of its kind and played an important role in the development of Boston Harbor. She is the last surviving full-sized wooden tug on both the Gulf and Atlantic coasts and isin need of major refurbishing.

United States Naval and Shipbuilding Museum: (MA) The United States Naval Shipbuilding Museum is located in Historic Quincy, Massachusetts. The USNSM is the home to the USS Salem (CA 139), the world's only preserved heavy cruiser. USNSM is also home to a large Military Archive and Ordnance Collection, housed aboard Salem. This collection covers many aspects of military history from the pre- Revolutionary War era to the present day.

USS Massachusetts - History

By Mark D. van Ells

Many associate Massachusetts with the Kennedy family, and its influence is evident at Battleship Cove. The World War II record of the Kennedys is a distinguished one. Lieutenant John F. Kennedy, who would later become president, was nearly killed fighting the Japanese in the South Pacific. Fittingly, an exhibition hall holds two PT boat specimens. PT 617, the type on which Kennedy served, is the last surviving Elco-class ship in existence. PT 796, painted with menacing shark teeth on its bow, was the product of the famous Higgins shipyards in New Orleans. Both of these were constructed in 1945 but never saw combat.The New England coast is studded with countless bays and coves. One of these watery inlets, known as Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts, is home to a floating museum complex that holds some priceless World War II treasures. All the ships on display here but one—the Soviet-built missile corvette Hiddensee—date to the Second World War. The State of Massachusetts has a long and distinguished naval history, and most of the vessels have a Bay State connection as well.

The Ships of Battleship Cove

One of the most impressive displays is the PT boat exhibit. Usually associated primarily with the Pacific, these small, plywood boats actually saw service in European and Mediterranean waters as well. They were organized into squadrons of about 15 boats. In the Battleship Cove exhibit, each squadron has its own display case housing photos, news clippings, and other souvenirs the sailors brought home and later donated to the museum. The exhibit also gives a sense of the war’s immense scope. The wide range of ethnographic artifacts include a war club from the Philippines, a grass skirt from New Guinea, and a miniature totem pole from Alaska.

Bow of PT 796, with shark teeth.

Moored nearby is the destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., named in honor of JFK’s older brother, who died during a top-secret air mission (Operation Aphrodite) in August 1944. Constructed at Quincy, Massachusetts, and commissioned in December 1945, the Kennedy just barely missed World War II. However, she saw extensive service during the Cold War, most notably during the Korean War and the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The ship contains exhibits about the role of destroyers in U.S. Navy history and also serves as the Bay State’s official memorial to its citizens killed in Korea and Vietnam.

Moored next to the Kennedy is a Balao-class submarine, the USS Lionfish (SS-298). Completed in Philadelphia in 1943, the Lionfish conducted its shakedown cruise in New England waters and then saw action in the Pacific on two war patrols, battling Japanese ships and rescuing downed American fliers. She has been at the museum since 1973.

The USS Massachusetts

The main attraction is the 35,000-ton battleship USS Massachusetts. “Big Mamie” was constructed at Quincy and commissioned in May 1942. She did not have to wait long to see action. In November 1942, the Massachusetts took part in Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa. Off Casablanca, Morocco, she engaged in a duel with the Vichy French battleship Jean Bart, still under construction in Casablanca harbor the Massachusetts won.

She then headed to the Pacific and played a role in some of World War II’s greatest battles, including Leyte Gulf and Okinawa. Decommissioned in 1947, the Massachusetts was destined to be sold for scrap until Bay State children raised enough money to save her. She was brought to Fall River in 1965.

Standing on the deck of a battleship is an awe-inspiring experience. Walking onto the Massachusetts’ 680-foot deck and looking up at its massive 16-inch guns–more than 60 feet long and pointing skyward–one cannot help but simply say: “Wow!” Having been decommissioned so soon after the war, the ship has changed little since its days in combat. Indeed, scars from the ship’s duel with the Jean Bart are still evident. Numerous pock marks, accentuated with red paint, mark where a Vichy French shell hit her on the morning of November 8, 1942, some of the first shots fired at Americans in the fight against Hitler.

The impressive 16-inch main guns of the USS Massachusetts.

The interior of the ship is like an entire city encased in steel. Indeed, during the war it was home to more than 2,000 men. Many rooms are left much as they were during the war. Walking through the main galley, the sick bay, the machine shop, and even the brig gives one an intimate sense of the sailor’ workaday environment.

“The World’s Largest Naval Ship Museum”

Those interested in naval combat will also want to explore the barbettes––the massive circular structures that protect the workings of the 16-inch guns. Video monitors play interviews of the ship’s veterans, further enhancing the experience. Many portions of the Massachusetts have been converted into museum exhibits covering a wide range of World War II topics, from Pearl Harbor to Rosie the Riveter.

Battleship Cove bills itself as “the world’s largest naval ship museum,” and the ships certainly are magnificent. While some of the museum exhibits seem rather careworn, they still successfully capture the experience of the American sailor in World War II, with all its joys and hardships, heroism, and sacrifices.

Planning a Visit to Battleship Cove

5 Water Street, Fall River, MA 02721

April 1 – Columbus Day, 9:00am-5:00pm – 7 days a week
October – December 31st, 9:00am-4:00pm – 7-days a week
January 1-March 31, 9:00am-4:00pm – Friday – Sunday. The museum is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.