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Keeping Hope Afloat

S.S. United States

Resting at Philadelphia’s pier 82, the S.S. United States—launched in 1952—is showing her age. Rust has enveloped her once-proud exterior; the artwork and furniture from her cruise-liner days have been sold off, and today the boat teeters on the precipice of the scrapyard. 

Originally built by Gibbs and Cox to be the fastest ocean-crossing cruise liner, she claimed numerous speed records. The power needed to perform such a task came courtesy of four 77,000-horsepower engines—that’s more than a quarter-million horsepower. 

“She’s a marvel of American engineering,” says S.S. United States Conservancy spokesperson Thomas Basile. “In this country before there was a 747, before there was a personal computer or an iPhone, the symbol to the world of America’s power, progress, and innovation was the S.S. United States.” The conservancy is working with developers to give the ship a second life as a museum/hotel (as shown in the rendering below), but they are relying on donations to keep her afloat until they find a buyer. For more information on the effort to save this iconic ship, visit

S.S. United States rendering