Re: Another museum ship! USS LUCID (MSO 458)
- The USS Lucid, an aging wooden minesweeper in need of restoration, will be part of an educational program in Stockton.
Students to begin restoring old shipHope for polished vessel is to become museum on Stockton's waterfront
But a major milestone in the life of the 69-year-old minesweeping ship is drawing near. Its restoration is about to begin, and for those behind the effort, the excitement is growing.
"This has been a dream of ours for a long time," David Rajkovich, executive director of the Stockton Historical Maritime Museum, said last week.
The start of the refurbishment will be marked by a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday morning at a dock near Louis Park. The dock is adjacent to the Building Futures Academy, a training program in the trades run by the San Joaquin County Office of Education. The work will be done by at-risk students in their late teens and early 20s.
"A lot of them are very enthusiastic about being involved in being able to create something that will hopefully be a permanent part of downtown Stockton's waterfront," Rajkovich said.
The Lucid MSO-458 (short for Mine Sweeper Ocean) is one of 101 ships in its class built for the U.S. Navy and NATO in the early 1950s. Though the Lucid was built in a shipyard in New Orleans, it is identical to other MSOs constructed during the same era in Stockton.
The last of the Stockton-built ships was scrapped by the Navy about a dozen years ago. The 775-ton Lucid, like the Stockton ships, is made of wood because if minesweepers had been made of metal, they would have triggered magnetic mines.
The MSOs originally were built for use during the Korean War, and the Lucid also served during Vietnam before being taken out of service in 1976 and falling into disrepair.
"We want it to appear as it did when it was in Navy service," Rajkovich said.
Students will study old photographs and the ship's original blueprints as they work to restore the Lucid's original appearance. They will reinstall doors and partitions, fix plumbing and lighting.
"Our goal is to eventually recreate the galley so we can prepare and serve meals on the ship so we can host functions and events on board," Rajkovich said.
When the five-year restoration project draws closer to completion, the plan is to negotiate with the city to sail the Lucid to a spot on the downtown waterfront for its new role as a museum.
"That's where the shipyards were, so it has historical relevance to put it in that area, and more importantly it will be very visible," Rajkovich said. "It's going to make quite a statement down there. When it's completely restored and lit up at night, it's going to be a real eye-catcher."
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