A Piece Of Evansville History Journeys To Tri-State

Published: Jun. 3, 2003 at 12:21 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 5, 2003 at 2:07 AM CDT
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Web Producer: Brad Maglinger

Update 6/02/03 10:32pm: There has been a delay for the LST 325 on Monday. The tugboat that had been originally arranged to transport the LST up the river was too large to hook-up. A barge will help the LST 325 make its way to the destinations starting Tuesday morning. The LST does expect to arrive in Evansville on time.

Previous: It's a sentimental journey that will take about 40 days from Mobile to Evansville, but one many members of the LST (Landing Ship Vessel) crew have been looking forward to for years. Monday, the 1,600-ton ship left Mobile Bay, Alabama with a little help from an armada of tugboats.

Between 1942 and 1945, 167 of the landing tank ships were built in Evansville. The LST 325, however, was not. Those veterans that scraped the money together to bring this piece of history home the United States say it's important for Tri-Staters to be able to see firsthand what role Evansville played in America's military history.

Navy coordinator Captain Hal Pierce said, ''They're going home to the people who built and operated and are descendants of those people. It's where they were mostly built and they're taking them back to those people. There's only two of these in the United States. And it's remarkable to have the ability to take the ship up the Mississippi to its own people."

Before it arrives in Evansville, the LST will make several stops along the Mississippi River including Vicksburg Mississippi, Memphis, Cape Girardeau Missouri and St. Louis before heading up the Ohio River to Evansville.

About The LST 325

  • Built in Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Launched Oct. 27, 1942
  • Commissioned Feb. 1, 1943
  • During World War II, served in Oran, Tunisia, Italy and Normandy.
  • Decommissioned July 2, 1946
  • Reactivated in 1951
  • Placed in the National Defense Reserve Fleet 1961-63.
  • Transferred to the Greek Navy in 1964; named the Syros.
  • Acquired by the USS Ship Memorial in 2000.
  • Sailed back to the United States by a crew of veterans, arriving in Mobile, Ala., in Jan. 10, 2001.
  • To make Inland Rivers Tour summer of 2003. To dock in Inland Marina, July 11-22, 2003.

About LSTs

  • Length over-all: 327 9"
  • Length at waterline: 316 0"
  • Beam (width): 50 0"
  • Displacement (empty): 1474 tons
  • Draft (empty): forward: 1 6" aft: 7 5"
  • Cargo: 2303 tons
  • Draft, loaded, at sea: forward: 8 0"; aft 14 4"
  • Draft, loaded, beaching: forward: 3 1"; aft 9 6"
  • Screws (propellers): two
  • Power plants: Two 900 hp. General Electric V-12 567 cu. in. diesel engines
  • Electrical power provided by three 100 KW diesel powered generators
  • Top speed: 10-11 Its
  • Crew: 110 officers and men
  • Armaments: (varied from ship to ship): most had up to 7 single
  • and twin 40 mm guns, plus 20 mm guns.

About The Evansville Shipyard

  • On Feb. 13, 1942, the Navy announced it would build a shipyard in Evansville to construct LSTs.
  • A group of companies headed by Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Co. of Leavenworth, Kan., was named to operate the Shipyard.
  • The shipyard cost $6.358 million to build.
  • It was located on 45 acres of land south of Ohio Street between the old Southern Indiana Gas and Electric Co. (Vectren) generating plant and Mead Johnson Terminal.
  • First keel laid down on June 25, 1942.
  • First ship, LST 157, launched Oct. 31, 1942.
  • Shipyard designed to produce four ships a month; eventually produced one every three of four days. Largest producer of LSTs in the country.
  • Peak employment was 19,213; an estimated 70,000 people worked at the shipyard. Largest employer in Evansville s history.
  • The products: 167 LSTs, four amphibious barracks ships (described as "LST conversions), 13 ammunition lighters and 17 oceangoing barges a total of 201 vessels valued at more than $300 million.
  • The shipyard closed immediately after the war.

The Evansville LST Committee

Interested members of the Evansville community formed the Evansville LST committee for the sole purpose of bringing the LST 325, a World War II Landing Craft, the type constructed in Evansville during World War II and which played a vital role in the history of the city. LST 325 was returned to the United States from Greece by a group of mostly World War II veterans and has been undergoing restoration in Mobile, Alabama. The LST 325 now serves as a memorial to all World War II veterans and the 2003 trip up the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers will be the initial voyage of the ship since its return to the United States. While the ship is docked in Evansville from July 11-July 22, visitors will have the opportunity to take guided tours of the craft conducted by LST veterans. The docking of the LST 325 will be the largest event ever celebrating Evansville s historic role in World War II.

The Project will provide an opportunity to commemorate the efforts of the men and women who were employed at the Evansville Shipyards during World War II. During the period of 1942-1945, 70,000 people were employed at the Evansville Shipyard. The visit of the LST 325 provides the chance to honor the men and women of the shipyard, those who served on the LST and all of those involved in the war effort.

The guided tours of the LST 325 by World War II veterans will also provide a unique opportunity to educate visitors as to the role of the LST s in World War II and the role of Evansville in building a craft that was indispensable to the Allied victory.

This summer from July 11th through the 22nd LST 325 will be docked here in Evansville at Elliot's Marina Point. There will be daily tours from 9 AM to 5 PM. Tickets are $8 for Adults, $4 for children K-12. Under age 5 are free. You may purchase a Family Ticket for only $20.

If you would like to support the efforts of the Evansville LST Committee make your donation check Payable to:

Rotary Foundation (LST Committee on the memo line)

Mail to: 
Evansville LST Committee
P.O. Box 6022
Evansville, IN 47719

For additional information concerning the LST's visit to Evansville and related activities, log on to the official Evansville LST Committee Web site at: www.evansvillelst.com. You may also want to visit the Evansville Convention and Visitors Bureau Web site or call them at 800-433-3025.

Here is the direct link to a book based on a true story set in Evansville in the 1840s.
http://www.1stbooks.com/bookview/15026. The book is called Roman: Unparalleled Outrage and is set in the complicated era of American history during the 1840s.

A xenophobic public is at odds with the increasing numbers of Irish and German Catholic immigrants to America. In Evansville, Indiana, an Alsatian missionary priest, the Rev. Roman Weinzoepfel, is charged with the rape of one of his parishioners while hearing her confession. Based upon the true story of Fr. Weinzoepfel, McMullen's telling reveals a turbulent period in American history. Guaranteed to surprise.