It's hard to forget that Stockton is a seaport city, especially when towering oceangoing vessels regularly enter the port to load up with agricultural goods. But how many people currently remember the city's past as a major West Coast shipbuilding center? And how many can recall the influence that the U.S. Navy has had in San Joaquin County, most notably through Rough and Ready Island, and especially in times of war?
The Stockton Historic Maritime Museum exists to perpetuate that history. The Museum came into existence as a nonprofit corporation in 2010. It has acquired the U.S.S. Lucid, a wooden-hull minesweeper originally launched in 1953, and has entered into collaboration with the San Joaquin County Office of Education to restore it. Students who work on the project as members of the County's Building Futures Academy can learn valuable marketplace skills. At the same time, they rediscover a crucial part of San Joaquin County's economic history.
Restoration of the U.S.S. Lucid is well underway. After completion, the ship will be towed to Stockton's waterfront, where members of the public will learn firsthand not only about the vessel, but also about Stockton's shipbuilding past.
The U.S.S. Lucid (MSO-458) is one of only 101 wooden-hull oceangoing minesweepers that the U.S. government had built and commissioned during the Cold War. The U.S. Navy chose wood as the building material for the hull to give the vessel better chances of escaping metal detecting mines. Construction of the ship required special materials and techniques. Although actually built in New Orleans, the U.S.S. Lucid is identical to three other wooden-hull minesweepers constructed in Stockton by Colberg Boat Works.
The Stockton Historic Maritime Museum invites monetary or in-kind donations, renovation sponsorships, and volunteer laborers. Additional information about the Museum and the U.S.S. Lucid can be found at the Museum's Web site. Earlier this year, an article on the program and the ship appeared in the Central Valley Business Journal.