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Old Posted Sep 30, 2006, 11:26 AM
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nomarandlee nomarandlee is offline
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Floating maritime museum may dock downtown

not a big development but could serve as a nice little downtown tourist attraction.....

Floating maritime museum may dock downtown

September 30, 2006

Ahoy, Chicago: A new floating museum aboard a former Coast Guard ship is coming to the city, with plans to eventually moor downtown.
The 180-foot-long, 74-foot-tall cutter, built in 1944, will be moved in mid-October from Indiana to the Far South Side, where it will dock for the winter at an old U.S. Steel boat slip, Gov. Blagojevich announced Friday.

Obtained at no cost to the state as federal government surplus, the USCGC Acacia is "essentially a complete time capsule," said Marty Hecker, an official with the nonprofit group that will oversee the craft.

"She's in excellent shape," said Hecker, vice president of the American Academy of Industry, the group that plans to open it in 2007 as a museum of maritime and military history.

Blagojevich envisions the ship as a downtown tourist attraction.

The city has discussed docking the red-and-black boat on the Chicago River or at Northerly Island, the former home of Meigs Field, Hecker said.

Or, the craft could end up anchoring the 17-acre site of the former steel plant at 87th and the lake, now being converted into park land by the Chicago Park District, Hecker said.

Similar vessels in other cities have been used as places for youth groups such as the Boy Scouts to "camp" overnight -- a role Hecker envisions for the Acacia.

More than 6,000 crew members served on the Acacia during its 62 years of service. Used primarily on the Great Lakes as a rescue and maintenance vessel and for ice breaking, it never saw combat.

Another group, the Chicago Maritime Society, has also expressed interest in a museum at Northerly Island. Board member David Metzger said Friday his group still wants to open a permanent museum.
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