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USS CONSTITUTION c1933

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USS CONSTITUTION c1933
This photo captures the bow of The USS Constitution, America's oldest commissioned warship of The US NAVY as it is towed out of New Bedford Harbor in 1933 after a fund raising stop in the city in 1933. The Palmer's Island Light is in the background. The USS Constitution embarked on a 3-coast tour (1931-1934), visiting 76 ports and hosting 4.6 million patriotic citizens who helped in her massive restoration effort. New Bedford,MA had the privilege and honor to host "Old Ironsides". USS Constitution went into Dry Dock #1 in 1927 for her most comprehensive restoration to date. However, in order to finance the massive work, which was first estimated at over $400,000, Congress authorized a nation-wide fund raising effort beginning in 1925. They targeted school children, asking them to donate their pennies. Within the first year, the children collected $148,000, and the restoration plans began. The young motion picture industry aided the campaign with Paramount Pictures releasing the silent movie "Old Ironsides." Another part of the effort included noted marine artist Gordon Grant, who created a painting of the ship under full sail. Over one million lithographic copies were sold to individuals and corporations; the original painting is part of the White House collection. Wood and copper removed from the ship were again made into souvenirs; ashtrays, bookends, and inkstands were some of the more popular items bought and sold to help finance the restoration. As the Great Depression hit the United States in 1929 fund raising became more difficult. With the restoration half completed and little money coming from the campaign, Congress appropriated the remaining monies. USS Constitution floated out of dry dock in March 1930, restored as close to her original configuration as possible. In order to thank the Nation for funding the restoration, USS Constitution embarked on a 3-coast tour (1931-1934), visiting 76 ports and hosting 4.6 million patriotic citizens. 5 years after this photo was taken, the keeper's (Capt. Arthur Small) house (far left) was swept away and his wife Mabel Small was killed in the 1938 Hurricane. Video clip here: http://www.westislandweather.com/apps/videos/videos/show/1534395-old-ironsides-in-new-bedford-1931
Posted on April 16, 2011 Slideshow

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