Friday, April 06, 2007

Let's bring LST-325 to Pittsburgh

Before I begin this post I feel a need to disclose that via e-mail I was offered free tickets to an upcoming Pittsburgh City Theater play... apparently just because I blog. Nothing wrong with them making the offer I suppose. Whether it made sense to extend it to me is questionable, and it does show an appreciation for new media. Nonetheless, I don't plan on taking up their offer just because it just does not seem quite right. I am sure the idea is to spur some review of their work and I would not want to feel beholden for the, albeit nominal, gift.

It is coincidental that I made it to the very last show of City Theater's production of Mezullah, 1946 last weekend and it really was quite good. I may not be a qualified theater critic , but I did live in NYC for several years and remain spoiled by the chance to regularly see productions on Broadway. I have to admit my deeper interest was in the play itself which centered around the massive exodus of women from the labor force after World War II ended. The play could have (should have?) been set in Pittsburgh. Not just the impact of women in the workforce but the entire impact of WWII on Pittsburgh is something I think more needs to be written on.

Related to that, I have to admit I have had only minimal luck at sparking any interest in even trying to bring LST 325 up to Pittsburgh for a visit from it current home in Evansville, Indiana. Evansville, like Pittsburgh, was a major shipyard during WWII and most of the LST's built in WWII came from shipyards on the Ohio River. As with the Boeing workers highlighted in the play, the Pittsburgh shipwrights and boilermakers included large numbers of women all but drafted into service during the war. I really think that there is still a large part of that workforce still alive and would enjoy the chance to see the product of their workmanship.
The picture above is the launching of LST-750 launched in Pittsburgh on May 30, 1944 from the Dravo Shipyard . LST-750 would have a long glorious career and be sunk just 6 months later at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. I have previously blogged about LST-1 which was also built here in Pittsburgh. When you consider how slow Pittsburgh industry was to change in the half centuries before and after WWII, it is strange to think that for the duration an entire shipbuilding industry was created, thrived, and was shut down literally in months.
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5 Comments:

Anonymous T Kosto said...

LST-325 and Pittsburgh's role in LST production.

Combining Dravo - Neville Island and American Bridge - Ambridge LST production between '42 and '45 exceeds the Evansville production record by about 100 ships. The women welders at the Ambridge yard could and did build and fit out an LST faster than any other location in America. It would be a tribute to bring LST-325 to Pittsburgh and in fact moor the vessel overnight at the fitting out dock in Ambridge, adjacent to the Hussey Metals operation there.

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