The ships were built by the nationally renowned Oregon Shipbuilding Company. Its shipyards, based in the Willamette marsh and mud flats across the river from this park, established a new model for emergency construction of high quality ships. The Liberty ship Joseph N. Teal was completed just ten days after its keel was laid.
During the Second World War years, “Oregonship” yards constructed more Liberty ships for the national fleet than any other shipyard in the country, a total of 330. The sturdy utilitarian Liberty ships had a cruising speed of 10.5 knots and a dead weight capacity of 10,800 tons. In 1943, Oregon Shipbuilding Company switched to the construction of Victory class ships, which could carry the same weight at a faster 15 knots.
During a twenty year span after the war, Zidell Exploration brought over 100 Liberty ships home to Portland as they ended their military or commercial service. This last resting place of their bows honors the many great ships that Oregon workers built for the nation in a time of great need.
Portland’s Naito family created this maritime park dedicated to the Liberty Ships and to the US Merchant Mariners.
(Text courtesy of Liberty Ship Memorial Park.)
The park has several bow sections resting on the grass and a Liberty Ship anchor.
Most of the bows are buried out of view. Some are visible at water’s edge where they help shore up the embankment.
Here’s a complete list of ship’s bows:
Note: As of 2006 this park no longer exists; it was redeveloped into a high-end condo community. The sign, anchor and bow sections in the grassy area are gone. There is one small, mounded grassy area remaining; I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a bow section or two left buried there. The bow sections at the water’s edge are still there if you know where to look.